Megan Carvajal (she/her/they)
Hi there! I’m executive director of The Blue Bench, since February 2021. I joined The Blue Bench because I believe that ending sexual violence is necessary to creating a safer and more just society. I’m also a survivor myself and believe in creating spaces for survivors to heal and thrive beyond their assault. In my role, I oversee a deeply passionate and highly talented team of individuals, working together to ensure the financial and programmatic success of the organization.
For more 22 years, I have worked in the social sector crafting mission-driven strategies and fostering healthy, productive teams to drive measurable impact. I thrive defining and carrying out an organization’s strategic vision while helping the people within the organization excel at their jobs. Complexity energizes me; I enjoy problem-solving at a systems level and feel comfortable leading major improvements for the sake of mission, organization, and employees. I lead and influence teams sustainably, always guided by empathy. I greatly enjoy helping colleagues become better leaders, growing vibrant internal culture, disrupting unhealthy social norms within the social sector, and managing positive change.
When I’m focused on self-care, I’m reading several books at once, going to yoga (shout-out to E8 Yoga in Longmont!), and creating art. Right now I’m really into molding clay. I love, love, love the outdoor culture of CO and taking evening walks while watching the sunset over the mountains is my favorite time of day.
Executive Support Specialist
Amanda Lavan (she/her/hers)
In my efforts to support the executive function at The Blue Bench, I work closely to connect the dots between the Executive Director, the Board of Directors, and the rest of our amazing staff. I also have my hand in finding opportunities for networking outside of our organization to advance our common community goals.
I joined The Blue Bench team in June of 2022. Passionate about sexual assault prevention and treatment, The Blue Bench’s mission statement aligns closely with my own beliefs. I look forward to the journey of learning from and supporting the amazing people in this organization. In my free time, I love to read (especially fantasy), sing (70’s and Broadway are my go-tos), and spend time with my family (both human and fur).
Elizabeth Carpio (she/her/hers)
Bio coming soon!
Director of Philanthropy
Kaylyn Fern (she/her/hers)
Hi! I’m Kaylyn, proud Director of Philanthropy for The Blue Bench. In my position, I work to build philanthropic support that fuels our mission and guarantees the longevity of our work for survivors in the community. I work closely with our Executive Director and Communications Manager to design and execute our fundraising and strategic plans, build brand awareness, and steward relationships with our stakeholders. I have an extensive background in non-profit development, marketing and communications, social justice, and corporate social responsibility.
I am a CU Boulder grad, (can I get a sko buffs?) with a double major in Psychology and Sociology and a minor in Communications. I went back and forth A LOT in college on what I wanted to do- teetering between Journalism and Forensic Psychology and Law. For my senior capstone, I worked with Dr. Joanne Belknap and The Colorado District Attorney’s Office on the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee while simultaneously interning at a local domestic violence shelter- I quickly learned that I was not cut out for the heaviness of direct-service work, but still truly wanted to make a difference. With my experience in journalism, and planning events for my college sorority, I accepted a part-time job on the development team at SPAN, (a social justice organization committed to ending domestic violence in Boulder). I fell in love with storytelling and building relationships in the community on behalf of survivors, and I ended up accepting a full-time position with them as their Marketing & Events Coordinator. After a few years of growing their digital presence, building out their corporate relationship model, and planning all of their events, I moved onto The Women’s Foundation of Colorado to work as their development officer. where I stewarded corporate donors, planned the largest fundraiser in the state for women, and led their CO Gives Day and end of year campaigns. Additionally, I picked up a part-time position with Wana Brands on their corporate social responsibility team as community impact manager where I help balance support for people & the planet with profit.
Supporting survivors of violence has a special place in my heart and I couldn’t be happier to be dedicating my work to The Blue Bench- I’m always up for coffee or happy hour to chat about anything or everything!
Thanks for listenin’
Director of Client Services
Jacquie Aamodt, LCSW (she/her/hers)
Education: Masters of Social Work - Columbia University, New York, NY
Jacquelyn Aamodt, LCSW, 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.
Casey Ballinger (she/her/hers)
Master of Social Work - Colorado State University, CO
Bachelor of Science in Social Work - Metropolitan State University, CO
Casey is the Post-Conviction Victim Advocate serving Denver and the 2nd Judicial District. She provides representation and support for survivors of sexual assault as they navigate the probation system following their perpetrator’s sentencing in the criminal justice system.
Prior to working with The Blue Bench, Casey worked at Gateway Domestic Violence Services in roles spanning from emergency shelter advocate to legal advocate in Gateway’s Court Advocacy Program. In these roles she assisted in educating and empowering survivors of intimate partner violence in many aspects ranging from seeking shelter, creating safety plans to understanding their rights within the courts.
Recipe for Self-Care:
Casey loves reading, hiking, spending time with friends but can also be found binge watching the newest Netflix shows in her downtime.
Kimberlyn Bennett (she/her/hers)
I support and partner with survivors on their path to healing through individual and group therapy services, with the belief that clients are the expert of their experience. I joined The Blue Bench in May, 2020 as an intern and then transitioned to a full-time therapist in June, 2021. I joined The Blue Bench because I am moved by the resiliency of sexual assault survivors and drawn to the mission of eliminating sexual assault and reducing the impact by supporting trauma survivors, their families, and our community. Before working at The Blue Bench, I worked in the mental health field in the inpatient/outpatient setting at a psychiatric hospital. Additionally, I completed an internship in Sri Lanka focused on supporting trauma survivors. I also currently work at a local university conducting qualitative research on collective trauma. When I am not working, I love drinking a cup of tea and reading or crafting while hanging out with my cat (if you do virtual therapy with me, she often makes appearances!). I also love music, poetry, and the outdoors.
Bailey Brand (she/her/hers)
Education: Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Minor in Sociology from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA.
I joined The Blue Bench in June of 2022 as a Case Manager because I truly believe in the mission statement of the organization and wanted to be a part of ending sexual violence. I see my position as a Case Manager as someone survivors can rely on for support throughout their journey of healing and justice, whatever that may be for each individual.
My passion for justice and supporting survivors began when I was 11 years old and my father and I started volunteering at a women’s shelter for survivors of domestic violence. My passion was continuously growing and many years later, I was able to work with an organization that supports survivors of sex trafficking. Not too much later, I was fortunate to find my place here at The Blue Bench.
In my free time I like to binge watch new TV shows and spend time with my friends exploring Denver. My version of self-care looks like driving around listening (and singing) to my favorite songs or going on a hike with friends!
Anne Divine (they/them/theirs)
Bio coming soon!
Client Services Coordinator
Sarah Harris (she/her/hers)
Hello! I am Client Services Coordinator here at The Blue Bench. I joined our team in January of 2023. I believe deeply in our mission of taking responsibility in working to prevent sexual violence as well as helping survivors heal in order to move to the other side of their assault.
In my role as Client Services Coordinator, I bring my broad range of experience to use in providing support to our Client Services Team. I support our Director of Client Services day to day as well as work to ensure that our Advocacy, Clinical, and Resource Teams are able to best serve our clients.
When I’m not working with this incredible team, I am in the kitchen trying out new recipes, getting outside to enjoy the beautiful sunshine of Colorado, or with my wonderful partner, friends and family.
Stacey Irwin (she/her/hers)
Bio coming soon!
Ana Martinez, LCSW (She/her/ella)
I support sexual abuse survivors in their healing journey through individual and group therapy and support other therapists in doing the same. I also oversee our student internship program, teaching and guiding graduate students in their path to becoming independent therapists as well
I joined The Blue Bench in June of 2019. I joined The Blue Bench because supporting survivors for me is a passion and bearing witness to someone healing and overcoming their trauma is incredibly rewarding and an absolute privilege. I also enjoy working as part of a team, and love being able to support and guide other clinicians and interns in their development. Prior to working at The Blue Bench I worked as a Bilingual Therapist at The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, and prior to that had worked in various other roles providing therapy to trauma survivors or providing prevention and education services to prevent sexual violence in the community. When I am not working, I love to spend time outside running or hiking, cuddling up with my dog, or hanging out with friends and family. I also have about a hundred unfinished crafting projects going on at all times.
Post-Conviction Victim Advocate
Abi Olson (she/they)
Master of Social Work from the University of Denver
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Denver
In my role at The Blue Bench, I support survivors in the post-sentencing stage of their cases, allowing their voices to be heard in spaces it might not otherwise be able to be and connecting them to resources to support them in their healing journey.
I joined The Blue Bench team in July 2022. Having worked and volunteered in the helping field in various capacities for about five years prior to joining this amazing team, it was important to me to help support a mission that closely aligns with my own beliefs, while continuing to grow both personally and professionally.
When not working, I spend a lot of time with my pups, soaking in the Colorado spirit, and eating so many waffles and slices of pizza. I also hoard books I’ll someday get around to reading and go thrifting for funky looking glassware.
Advocacy Manager/ Gerente de Intercesoria
Laura Patlan (she/her/ella)
I support survivors in connecting to resources and services within their community, while also being a support person in their corner as they navigate the many systems they may interact with during their healing journey.
I joined The Blue Bench in January of 2020. I do this work because I believe no one should have to face the impacts of trauma on their own. I first became involved in the movement during high school, volunteering for and donating to the local domestic violence shelter in my hometown, in North Carolina. I volunteered for six months again after my undergrad, and in 2016 I was hired full-time as the Latinx & Sexual Assault Victim Coordinator. During my time there, I helped survivors navigate the criminal and civil legal systems and helped connect them to community resources. It was during that time that I also came to understand just how large the issue of sexual violence really was, and my passion for the work grew.
As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, I have learned about the dynamics of oppression, trauma, and violence and how they impact us all in different ways – particularly how they interplay with the various Latinx/immigrant identities and experiences here in the US. I also recognize and celebrate our rich histories, cultures, and stories of resiliency. I want to support my community by being there for survivors who may need that additional help in navigating a society that is still full of barriers.
Outside of work these days, you can find me working on grad school assignments (I’ll have hopefully graduated by December 2022 with a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Gender-Based Violence!). When I’m not doing that, I’m either watching anime, playing video games, buying new books to eventually read, or dyeing my hair a new color.
Maja Simic, LCSW (she/her/hers)
As a cross-cultural therapist, I support survivors in their healing journey by providing individual and group therapy through a culturally informed lens.
My journey with The Blue Bench began in February 2019. I do this work because I believe that healing is possible. I feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment in helping survivors heal and find their voice. Prior to working at The Blue Bench, I worked with the refugee population in Idaho providing therapy, case management, and community-based services. When I’m not working, you can find me hanging out with my cat Minnie, playing soccer, and exploring the mountains. Traveling, animals (especially cats), and disconnecting in nature are the ways I recharge my batteries so I can provide the best care to clients.
Marisol Rodriguez (she/her/ella)
As a Bilingual Therapist, I support sexual abuse survivors and their loved ones in their path to healing through bilingual and bicultural therapeutic services.
I joined The Blue Bench in March of 2021 to support their mission to serve all survivor communities in an inclusive and culturally competent way. Along with my partnership at The Blue Bench, I also serve several needs in the Denver Metro area to include bilingual/bicultural Child and Family Investigation services, immigration letters, translations, and domestic violence counseling through my private practice, Integrated Family Services, L.L.C. When I am not working, I love to spend time serving the needs of underserved communities by volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate with CASA of Adams and Broomfield Counties and as a Speak English Instructor for the Jefferson County Speak English program. I also serve on various non-profit boards to ensure bilingual/bicultural services are accessible to all communities. Outside of my passion for volunteer work, my time is spent with my beautiful furry and non-furry grandchildren, Aurora, Scruffy, and Chiquilin.
Southeast Office Therapist
Angelica Root, LPCC (she/her/hers)
I assist survivors in individual and group therapy by helping them to better understand, process, and navigate their trauma symptoms.
I work at The Blue Bench because I am passionate about helping survivors and feel that every survivor should have access to mental health services. My journey at The Blue Bench began in May of 2019 as a therapy intern before transitioning into a therapist role in June of 2020 and into my current position as the Southeast Office Therapist in March of 2021. When I’m not working, you can find me tending to my house plants, reading, crafting, or hanging out with my pets (Búri, Archie, and Mau).
Becca Tiell-Krekeler, LCSW (she/her/hers)
My job is to connect people to the resources they need at The Blue Bench and in the community with warmth and efficiency and to build relationships with clients, organizations, and community members so survivors feel supported throughout each step of their healing journey. When people reach out to the Resource Line, my team and I will be ready to answer questions and get them connected to what they are needing to the best of our ability.
I first began working at The Blue Bench as a volunteer in 2013 and then I worked as a Case Manager for two years. I am so excited to be back in this new role as of June 2022. I am passionate about cultivating connection and making the world a safer place for all. I work at The Blue Bench to support survivors on their healing journey and to remind them of their resiliency and courage. My experience is in training and education on gender- based violence and trauma informed practices and in clinical work with survivors of trauma. I have also worked at the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking and CU Denver’s Center on Domestic Violence Program with the END Violence Project. Another passion of mine is teaching so I work as Affiliate Faculty in MSU Denver’s Social Work Department teaching various social work courses.
In my spare time I like to read and explore the world with my partner and two kids.
Prevention & Education
Prevention and Education Manager
Libby Anderson (they/them/theirs)
Education: Currently pursuing a Bachelor's in Gender, Women & Sexuality at Metropolitan State University
Libby is the Prevention Coordinator at The Blue Bench. In this role, they coordinate 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. They also assist in data collection to assess program outcomes and areas for growth, as well as facilitation of prevention programming.
Prior to their current position, Libby first began working with The Blue Bench in 2014 as a member of the community outreach team, speaking with community members across metro Denver about the organization's work and sharing resources
Recipe for Self-Care: Spending time with their second family, hiking, traveling, thrifting, and cooking.
Prevention Training & Curriculum Manager
Janei Maynard (she/her/hers)
I create and facilitate curriculum for youth & adults and train The Blue Bench’s educators, in order to increase the wider community’s skillset and knowledge base for preventing sexual violence.
I joined the staff at The Blue Bench in August of 2019 as a Part-Time Prevention Specialist and have worked intermittently as a Curriculum Development Specialist before stepping into my current role in September of 2021. My passion for the intersections of restorative justice, education, and equity is realized in my work through the Prevention & Education department’s survivor-centered approach and anti-oppression framework. Born and raised in the Denver-Aurora Metro Area, I’m ecstatic to bring this vital care and education to my own communities and to use my lived and academic expertise in race, economic, and gender equity to imagine, facilitate, and create spaces for and futures of healing, liberation, and pleasure. Prior to The Blue Bench, I spent ten years in numerous educator and administrative positions in the arts education, nonprofit, and secondary education sectors. When I’m not working, I love to dance, competitively or socially, spend quality time with my loved ones, cuddle up with a good blanket and a candle, or participate in lively game nights!
Ashley O'Day (she/they)
Bio coming soon!
Join Our Team
If you are interested in becoming part of our team, visit our list of open positions.