Denise and her husband, Chris, founded Growing Colorado Kids in 2008 as a way to mitigate hunger among refugee families newly resettled in Denver. Denise was working as a youth case manager at the time and discovered that more often than not, refugee families were going hungry. In a very short period of time, Denise has transitioned Growing Colorado Kids from primarily a hunger abatement program into a fully functioning farm program that provides opportunities for leadership, teamwork, community building, and service to others!
A master gardener who has worked with youth and families across the metro area for 25 years and with refugee youth and their families for 14 years. Prior to GCK she successfully designed and implemented an anti-bullying curriculum focusing on peace and leadership skills for youth in the Mercy Housing system Lines has worked for social justice and equality in welfare to work programs, affordable housing, and education.
Lisa Miller | Board Chair
Lisa's passion for event coordination and native state of Colorado, eventually lead her to earn a BS from the University of Colorado Boulder and an MBA from Regis University. Her hobbies include managing her "homestead" (comprised of a veggie garden, herbs, hops, fruit orchard and chickens), home brewing, mid-century modern design, reading and learning new skills. When Lisa heard the CPR article about GCK, she felt compelled to become involved when she recognized GCK combines the love of nature, nutrition, compassion and teamwork. Lisa brings to GCK her previous non-profit board experience and over 15 years of Marketing experience.
Peter Galligan | Vice Chair
Peter is the newest addition to GCK's board. Peter is a senior communications manager at a large financial firm where he is responsible for providing principal approval for marketing collateral and communications with the public. He has worked in the investment management industry for 14 years. Prior to that, he was an event planner for 8 years. He graduated magna cum laude from National University with a BA in English and is currently pursuing an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies (business administration and writing) at Western New Mexico University. Over the past decade, he has enjoyed studying and advocating for ancestral health lifestyles centered on organic gardening, pasture-raised meats, and countering modern stress with natural play. Peter and his wife, blessed with a wonderful girl born with Spina Bifida, have enjoyed becoming advocates for children with disabilities. In his spare time, Peter is also a writer and music producer. His songs have been featured on numerous dance music compilations, while his debut novel will be published by First Cold Press in late 2017.
Chris Martinez | Past Chair
Chris is a Senior Advisor for Human Rights/Community Planning for the City of Denver. He also spent 4 years working in Division of Small Business for Denver. Mr. Martinez served eight years on the Regional Transportation Board. While on the RTD Board he served two terms as Chairman and four additional years on the Executive Committee. His professional career included Sales and Marketing for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Denver Branch. He received his B.S. from Regis University. Mr. Martinez has 40 years of experience as a community and political activist. He has a long history of involvement in the Montbello and Green Valley Ranch schools. He is currently a member of several community, civic and non-profit organizations. Chris Martinez and his wife Terry have two adult children and six grandchildren.
Joan Wallach | Treasurer
Joan and her husband Arthur had the joy of covering Growing Colorado Kids for the Greater Park Hill News. Their passion for the program led to sharing their yard for Growing Colorado Kids' first harvests and Joan becoming part of its founding board and is its only baby boomer rapper.
Joan's background includes a BA from the University of Pacific and a certificate in Community Development (Nonprofit Management) from Metro State University. Joan was Co-Editor of the Greater Park Hill News for 14 years and has been a lifetime activist. She is a certified Lifecycle Celebrant, business partner, and writer. Reading, cooking and loving life are her extraciricular activities.
Heather Newell | Board Secretary
Heather is the U.S. Program Officer at The Women’s Bakery (TWB) where she leverages extensive international education experience, relationship-building skills, and an unyielding belief in the limitless capacity of women to deepen TWB’s impact throughout the world – with a particular focus in the United States. Prior to joining TWB, Heather lived and worked in Rwanda for three years – serving as an Education Specialist with the United States Peace Corps and working as a consultant with Urwego, a Kigali-based microfinance bank. Heather was born and raised in Denver. In addition to regularly advocating in the refugee community, Heather is a writer, with publications on her blog and various magazines. On weekends, can find her pursuing new adventures regularly: be it traveling, rollerblading, or attending Denver Community Church. Her three most important travel items are: coffee, red wine, and a notebook for writing.
Paula Davis | Board Member
Paula Davis' connection to GCK began with the construction of an earth oven. Along with her interest in using earth ovens to make great pizza, Paula's interest in GCK stems from her commitment to education in all its forms. Paula has worked in education in Colorado for many years, first at The Logan School and then as a policy fellow at The Donnell-Kay Foundation. Paula has a masters degree in Philosophy of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and she's always looking for ways to push at the boundaries of what education can look like. She relishes living in a state with such incredible mountains, and is always trying to spend more time enjoying them.