Karmen Carter is the Executive Director of The Blue Bench. Karmen brings with her a deeply-held passion for The Blue Bench’s mission and over 25-years of experience in building strong teams, fostering strong relationships and providing sound fiscal management. Prior to 2011, Karmen served as Executive Director of Judi’s House, Director of Programs for the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center and most notably, previous Executive Director of the Rape Assistance & Awareness Program for almost eight years.. In addition to serving as Co-Chair of the Denver Sexual Assault Interagency Council and many other work related task forces, she is a volunteer in a lot of community efforts. Karmen currently serves on the Board of Directors of Reach Out and Read Colorado.
Director of Finance & Operations
Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communications - University of Miami, Miami, FL
Olivia leads all marketing & communications efforts at The Blue Bench including content development, website design and management, social media, digital engagement, community outreach and media. She also oversees and plans all special events throughout the year including the annual The Blue Bench Thing, Heart of the Matter Golf Tournament, Changing the Conversation Luncheon and other initiatives and campaigns throughout the year.
Previously, she worked for Denver-based public relations firm GBSM as a communications consultant specializing in corporate communications, crisis planning, digital engagement and public involvement. In this role, she helped public and private sector clients communicate complex and often controversial issues, developed positioning and messaging documents, online and offline materials, and strategies/plans for stakeholder engagement, crisis management and more. She also managed day-to-day efforts to engage stakeholders ranging from elected officials and corporate investors to grassroots leaders and employees.
Recipe for Self-Care:
Olivia enjoys practicing special FX makeup, cooking, traveling and writing.
Alberta Perez is the Administrative Assistant of The Blue Bench and is responsible for greeting clients and general office operations. Alberta brings more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit administration. Prior to joining the team at The Blue Bench, she was the Clinic Administrative Clerk at Denver Health Medical Dental Clinic. Alberta holds three associate degrees in Business/Administration.
Recipe for Self-Care: When away from the office, Alberta enjoys cooking, baking, crafts and spending time with her grandchild and family.
Director of Client Services
Jacquie Aamodt, LSCW
Education: Masters of Social Work - Columbia University, New York, NY
Jacquelyn Aamodt, LSCW, is the Director of Client Services at The Blue Bench. At The Blue Bench, Jacquie oversee client services, including individual and group therapy, the 24-hour sexual assault hotline, and case-management and advocacy services. Her philosophy in working with survivors of sexual assault is strengths-based, client-centered, trauma-informed and one that considers the whole person. She is inspired by the strength, resiliency and beauty of the human spirit and believes it is important to “trust the wisdom of the heart”. Jacquie came to The Blue Bench with over 15 years of experience in the Mental Health and Human Services field. Originally from NYC, Jacquie re-located to Denver in 2007, where she worked for 4 years as the Director of Residential Programs at Denver Children’s Home. It was through this experience that she had the opportunity to receive intensive training in the Neuro-Sequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT), and had the opportunity to learn and implement specific trauma-focused interventions based on brain development.
Recipe for Self-Care: When not at The Blue Bench, Jacquie enjoys outdoor activities, cooking and reading as well as spending time with friends and family.
Post-Conviction Victim Advocate
Master of Arts in Psychology/Counseling: Licensed Professional Counselor; Certified Addiction Counselor Level II.
Debra is the Post-Conviction Victim Advocate at The Blue Bench where she provides support and advocacy for victims of sexual assault whose offender is on probation and participating in sex offense-specific treatment.
With more than 25 years of experience working with victims of domestic and sexual violence, Debra has trained probation officers, parole officers, and other professional stakeholders nationally on the ‘Comprehensive Approach to Sex Offender Management', co-facilitated group therapy for men who had committed sexual offenses, and worked as a therapist providing sex offense-specific treatment.
Prior to joining The Blue Bench she also spent 11 years on the Sex Offender Management Board as a contractor and an employee and worked for the Colorado Department of Corrections as a Victim Liaison for the Sex Offender Treatment and Monitoring Program. She also served as the Clinical Director of a treatment agency that served adult men and women who had committed sexual offenses.
Recipe for Self-Care:
In her free time, Debra enjoys being outdoors, riding horses, playing with her chickens, watching a good movie and spending time with friends and family.
Bachelor of Fine Arts - University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado
Post-Graduate Certificate in Contemporary Art Practices - University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland
Bethany is the Volunteer Coordinator at The Blue Bench where she oversees 100+ volunteers, staffs our 24-hr crisis hotline and 24-hr hospital advocacy response, as well as coordinates volunteers for events and office assistance. Bethany also trains all incoming volunteers by planning and facilitating a 40-hr crisis intervention training program. Prior to joining The Blue Bench, she planned and organized SWD: End Sexual Assault & Victim Blaming and served as the Publicity & Events Coordinator for Edinburgh Feminist Society.
Recipe for Self-Care:
Beth enjoys cycling, long walks in the woods with her dog and skiing. She also loves knitting, making art and bad puns.
Lenna Jawdat, LSW
Masters in Social Work - Smith College, Northampton, MA
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Boston University, Boston, MA
Lenna is a Licensed Social Worker, an EMDR Trained Clinician and a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). She works as the Cross-Cultural Therapist at The Blue Bench where she provides individual and group therapy to survivors of sexual violence at the central office and conducts outreach in the Denver area with a particular emphasis on engaging marginalized or underserved communities.
Prior to working with The Blue Bench, she provided case management to survivors of domestic minor sex trafficking and crime in Washington, D.C. She also served as a hospital advocate for survivors of sexual assault and performed crisis counseling and hotline work at the D.C. Rape Crisis Center and National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Past experience also includes providing individual, group and family therapy to adolescents in a residential treatment center, play therapy and in-classroom support for children at a therapeutic nursery and support work in creating the DSM-5.
Recipe for Self-Care:
Lenna completed her yoga teaching certification in Belize and also enjoys urban walking adventures, cooking tasty and nutritious meals, watercolor painting, traveling, and spending time with friends in the sun.
Bilingual Case Manager
Education: Mental health degree - McLennan College, Waco, TX
Herminia Martinez is the Bilingual Case Manager at The Blue Bench. She is responsible for working with The Blue Bench’s monolingual Spanish-speaking clients; coordinating each client with appropriate community services and resources. Herminia meets survivors of sexual assault at the hospital, police departments and court appointments to provide advocacy, emotional support, community resources, and to inform them of The Blue Bench’s services. She is also the primary contact for The Blue Bench’s 24-hour “Linea de Crisis” (Spanish-speaking) hotline. Herminia also conducts outreach to Spanish-speaking agencies and community members and organizations.
Recipe for Self-Care: When not at work, Herminia enjoys spending valuable time with her family, pets, traveling to Texas, and volunteering at her local church.
Masters of Social Work - Simmons College, Boston, MA
Bachelor of Science in Psychology - University of Denver, Denver, CO
Jenna Lee Mathews, MSW, is the Intake Therapist at The Blue Bench where she provides intake, individual and group therapy services for survivors of sexual assault. She also recently completed Level I Training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. Jenna’s past experience has included individual and group counseling with college students and in hospital settings, as well as community partnership development in higher education. In addition to her clinical work, Jenna is also passionate about research, and has been involved in various projects that consider the impact of trauma on individuals and communities.
Recipe for Self-Care:
Jenna enjoys traveling, good food, and being in the sun, preferably with family, friends, and her puppy.
Bachelor of Science in Human Services with Concentration in Mental Health Counseling - Metropolitan State University, Denver, CO
Nora is a Case Manager at The Blue Bench. She helps clients navigate the criminal justice system, access necessary community services and resources and accompanies them to the hospital, police departments and court appointments to provide advocacy and emotional support.
Recipe for Self-Care: When not at work, Nora enjoys exercising.
North Office Therapist
Masters in Counseling Psychology- University of Denver, CO
Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Colorado State University, CO
Carley is the North Office Therapist where she provides trauma-focused therapy for individuals and groups. A former intern at The Blue Bench, Carley rejoins the team with strong agency knowledge and particular skill in psychoeducation about sexual assault for secondary survivors.
Prior to working with The Blue Bench, she worked at Salvation Army Harbor Light where she provided individual and group addiction counseling for men in a relapse prevention program and case management to veterans regarding housing, budgeting and greater self determination. She also taught life skills and mindfulness classes and was instrumental in designing and implementing the curriculum. Carley has also worked as Clinical Intern at The Gender Identity Center of Colorado, providing services for individuals questioning or transitioning their gender identity and as a Crisis Line Volunteer at Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence where she provided support and safety planning to individuals experiencing domestic violence. In this role, she also performed intake evaluations and screenings for individuals coming into the shelter.
Recipe for Self-Care:
Carley loves hiking, yoga, swimming, working out, playing with her Australian Shepherd, watching movies, camping, skiing, weekend trips around Colorado, and spending time with her friends and sister.
Prevention & Education
Director of Prevention & Education
Education: Masters in Gender and Women's Studies - University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
Susie joined The Blue Bench team as the Director of Prevention and Education in 2014. She is responsible for expanding scientifically-supported approaches to prevention and education through community collaboration and effective communication strategies. She brings with her 13 years of experience in non-profit programming and workshop facilitation in the fields of sexual violence and mental health.
Prior to her current position, Susie served as the director of programs at the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) where she translated her passion for program development and evaluation into high impact public education and support resources for individuals and families affected. She has extensive experience as a campus sexual violence prevention workshop facilitator through the Sexual Assault Support Center in Vancouver, B.C. and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Recipe for Self-Care: When not working, Susie is off picking up new hobbies and enjoying the mountains with friends and family.
With the Blue Bench, Seyanna Hitt is a Prevention Specialist responsible for educating participants, using the wider community approach, about their role in the prevention of sexual assault. She accomplishes this by facilitating research-based programs that provide information about sexual assault, perpetrator behavior, and what everyone can do to support survivors and prevent sexual assault. Prior to joining the Blue Bench, Seyanna designed and hosted many programs at her undergraduate college that raised awareness about sexual assault and to support survivors. Seyanna strongly believes that sexual assault can be prevented through the efforts of the wider community approach and that all survivors deserve to be believed and supported.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - University of Denver, Denver, CO
Kristen has nine years experience engaging in social justice and sexual abuse prevention work both in the United States and abroad.
She spent two years with Cru and International Justice Mission in Denver, mobilizing and equipping college students to be engaged in social justice work locally and supported the IJM campus movement at the University of Wyoming as they advocated for and helped push the state of Wyoming to pass its first human trafficking bill, HB-133. She has led various seminars and speaking engagements about the issue of human trafficking to audiences ranging from 20 to 300 people. During these two years, Kristen led various groups of students overseas to Kolkata, India for service projects where she piloted an arts aftercare program in an IJM aftercare home outside the city.
From 2013-2014, she worked directly with International Justice Mission in Kolkata, India as a Communications and Community Mobilization Assistant. This office worked to rescue minor girls who were trafficked into the commercial sex trade in Kolkata. In this role, she networked among diverse leaders in the city, working to mobilize them into the social justice work and equip these leaders and groups to fight human trafficking. Most notably, Kristen assisted in the development of the partnership between IJM and the Church of North India, the largest congregational church in West Bengal and assisted with the development of the Sisters Adorers Aftercare Center.
Recipe for Self-Care: Kristen loves to read, play cooperative board games, travel, and learn to cook Paleo recipes. She also hopes to one day live in India again, this time with her husband!
Education: Candidate for concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience - University of Denver, Denver, CO
Autumn began working as a volunteer on a crisis text line, which led to her to seek out other volunteer services located in Denver. She began as a volunteer with The Blue Bench and soon became a Prevention Specialist. As part of her work in the prevention & education department, she facilitates workshops within different communities. She also works part time in the wedding industry.
Recipe for Self-Care: Autumn enjoys hot yoga, tea (chai and earl grey specifically), pugs and French bulldogs.
Education: Graduate Student, International Studies - University of Denver
Chris is a Prevention Specialist at The Blue Bench and second-year graduate student at the University of Denver in Josef Korbel School for International Studies. Hailing from the state of Kentucky, Chris worked as a volunteer for the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center. This experience helped him to realize his passion for the field of survivor empowerment and community engagement, a passion he hopes to utilize on the international scale once he has completed his graduate studies.
Recipe for Self-Care: When not working for the Blue Bench or hiding away in the library, Chris enjoys spending time taking advantage of the hiking opportunities Colorado has to offer, as well as seeing as many concerts as possible.
Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Religious Studies - The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
Caroline is the Prevention Coordinator at The Blue Bench. In this role, she coordinates program logistics, working closely with schools and community groups to schedule The Blue Bench’s “Pathway to Prevention” programs and developing relationships with community partners. She also works in curriculum development and data collection, gathering data to assess program outcomes and areas for growth. She continues to facilitate Prevention workshops, with a particular penchant for the middle school curriculum.
Previously, Caroline was a Canvass Director for Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. in Philadelphia, PA and locally, working with a variety of national non-profits to raise funds and community awareness. She first began working at The Blue Bench in the canvass department and returned as a Prevention Specialist in October, 2014. Since then Caroline has taken on numerous roles within the organization including Prevention Specialist and Development Assistant.
Recipe for Self-Care:
Caroline enjoys singing with Safonia, a local women's choir and running.
Canvass Office Manager
Libby is a Field Manager for a team of community organizers spreading awareness of sexual assault in the Denver area. Prior to field managing, Libby was an organizer for a network of non-profit organizations for a year and a half. She relocated from Nebraska for this position, and has the utmost pride in her staff and the change they create in the community.
Bachelor of Arts in Anthropologys - University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Sarah runs the Canvass Department for The Blue Bench where she manages a diverse staff who perform year round community outreach to ensure survivors have access to the crisis hotline and counselling programs. Her team engages public support for these programs through organizing financial contributions and recruiting volunteers.
Prior to joining The Blue Bench, Sarah did community organizing around environmental issues, including educating the public about water and air quality legislation. She has also been involved in extensive outreach and education around LGBTQ identities and experiences with the Peers for Pride Program. After five years of direct organizing and outreach Sarah is happy to be at The Blue Bench working to change the conversation around sexual violence one person at a time.
Recipe for Self-Care: