We have assembled a professional team of compassionate and competent individuals dedicated to supporting youth and engaging the community in our mission.
Holly Begg - Adolescent Females Program Assistant
Holly graduated from Colorado Christian University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Youth Ministry. She has over 5 years of experience volunteering with middle and high school youth programs. She is excited about the opportunity to help place positive role models in the lives of Denver’s at-risk youth. Holly joined Metro Denver Partners in January 2012 as the Program Assistant for the Adolescent Females Program.
Ronald Blan - Outreach Worker, GRASP
Ronald, a Denver native, comes from a gang background. Although in a gang in his youth, he avoided being sent to juvenile detention; however, as an adult he was facing 32 years in prison for gang-related crimes. Since being set free from the charges, he has been working with youth for 18 years to ensure they would not follow his path. He now strives to give youth positive alternatives by educating them on the truths of gangs. He joined GRASP as the Aurora GRIP and Adams City High School Outreach Worker in January 2012.
Mary Ann Burdick - Executive Director
Mary Ann has a Master's Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor's Degree in English and Secondary Education. She has twenty years of experience in management of non-profits. She has worked with at-risk youth for over thirty years in various areas, including alternative education and mentoring programs. Ms. Burdick has extensive experience in program evaluation and implementation. She has been with Metro Denver Partners since 1988.
Francisco (Cisco) Gallardo – Program Director, GRASP
Francisco "Cisco" Gallardo assisted in setting the foundation for gangs in Denver. In his teen years, he joined and helped create what has been one of the largest gangs in Denver's north side. Since that time, after facing a possible 48 years in prison, he has dedicated his life to undoing the damage he helped cause. Over the past 14 years, through his work in the community to redefine respect, power and pride, and by making a commitment to help the youth heal, he has helped countless young people to redefine their own lives.
John Kraft - Program Coordinator, Adams County
John has a Bachelor's Degree in Education and Fine Arts, and has worked for Metro Denver Partners for over twenty years matching adult volunteers with at-risk youth. John coordinates the Adams County Program, targeting youth, ages 8 to 12, who come from families that have experienced substance abuse. John also matches other youth in our service area and age range of 8 to 17, coming from low-income and poverty situations. John has been with Metro Denver Partners since 1989.
Valerie Kraucunas – Administrative Assistant
Valerie graduated from Creighton University with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. She has over 2 years experience in community development and administrative support, focusing primarily in research and document writing. At Metro Denver Partners, she assists with grant writing, manages all data bases (except GRASP), provides extensive support to special events and individual fundraising efforts, coordinates all Board and committee meetings and is responsible for the website maintenance and social media activity. Valerie joined Metro Denver Partners in October 2009.
Gerardo Lopez - GRASP Assistant
Gerardo has been doing gang intervention work for over 10 years and has a degree in Criminal Justice. As a former gang member himself, he can comprehend and relate to the struggles that a youth goes through before joining and while being active in a gang. He grew up in neighborhoods and attending schools that had strong gang influence. Due to the peer pressure and some poor decisions he spent many years in juvenile detention facilities. He now strives to help youth become better decision-makers and guide them towards positive activity alternatives that will steer them away from a gang lifestyle. Gerardo joined GRASP as the GRASP Assistant in October 2011.
Michelle McDaniel - Outreach Worker, GRASP
Before accepting a position as a GRID Outreach worker in January 2012, Michelle volunteered for GRASP for 5 years while pursuing a degree in Human Services. Her experiences as a former runaway and gang member have allowed her educate, empower as well as encourage youth to make better choices.
Karen Quinn - Program Coordinator, Adolescent Females Program
Karen has an Associate's Degree in Sociology, and has completed coursework in Juvenile Counseling. Karen has over twenty years of experience working with at-risk youth. She has worked with potential dropouts in job counseling, pre-employment workshops, academic skills, and conflict resolution to help kids become self-sufficient. Karen has extensive experience in case management and volunteer management. She is very involved in the community as well, and regularly works with the Black Round Table, DPS Collaborative Decision Making Team, many PTAs in Northeast Denver schools, and is a block organizer for For Our Kids. Karen has been with Metro Denver Partners since 1995.
Jesus Ramirez - Outreach Worker, GRASP
Jesus joined GRASP in January 2012 as a GRID Outreach Worker. He is currently finishing his bachelors in Human Services at Metropolitan State College with an emphasis on High Risk Youth. He grew up in Northwest Denver and understands the needs and concerns of the community. His goal is to help youth get out of gangs as well as finding ways to prevent other kids from joining.
Sandi Schoob - Bookkeeper
Sandi has a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from Metropolitan State College and a Master's Degree in Financial Planning from Kansas State University. Sandi has over 18 years of progressive accounting experience managing Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Reconciliations, Grant Accounting, Financial Reporting, Payroll, Fixed Assets and banking relations. She has worked in private, public and non-profit arenas. Sandi joined Metro Denver Partners in July 2007.
Jessica Summers - Program Director, Douglas County/Assistant Director of Development, Denver
Jessica has a Master's Degree in Nonprofit Management and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations. She has worked with the Partners organization for the past nine years. She served as an AmeriCorps VISTA for Metro Denver Partners in 2001 and became the AmeriCorps Program Director for all Partners affiliates in 2002. In November 2003 she became the Douglas County Program Director. She enjoys working with youth and is excited about expanding the mentoring program in Douglas County. She believes everyone needs a mentor.
Johnnie Williams – Outreach Team Coordinator, GRASP
Johnnie is currently working with youth in the community by supplying constructive alternatives to gangs and other destructive activities. He is actively involved within the community, focusing primarily on educating teenagers on gaining and preserving self-respect, finding a positive purpose in life, learning to be more responsible and learning to make good choices as well leaving the gang lifestyle. Johnnie joined Metro Denver Partners in 2008.
Ruth Anna - Marketing Consultant
Ruth is an experienced executive and public relations practitioner, having over 25 years of diversified experience in private and public arenas with emphasis on project management, public relations consulting, writing, editing, fundraising. She counsels executives and directs the public relations functions for various businesses, government agencies, associations, political campaigns, and human service organizations. Ruth's a graduate of the School of Journalism at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her emphasis with Metro Denver Partners is in developing marketing strategies to enhance fund raising, improve volunteer recruitment efforts, produce promotional materials, and develop media relations and awareness.