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 and Operations Coordinator
Alberta Perez (she/her/hers)
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.
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).
Director of Development and Communications
David Proper (he/him/his)
I work to ensure that the metro Denver community is aware of the resources and programs available at The Blue Bench and strive to engage the wider community in our work.
I joined The Blue Bench in the autumn of 2019. As a mission-focused individual, I am passionate about using communications to invite the community to join us in our mission to end sexual assault. Prior to joining The Blue Bench, I held various communications positions in the nonprofit and higher education sectors. Additionally, I serve on the board of directors of The Alexander Foundation, teach communications courses at local colleges and universities, and volunteer as a graphic designer for several political and charitable causes. When I’m not working, you can find me spending time with my partner and dog (@therealEleanorRoosevelt on Instagram), working on my personal mission to try every pizza place in the metro area, and enjoying Colorado’s blue skies.
Development Operations Coordinator
Brooke Elbert (she/her/hers)
I work behind the scenes to raise vital funding and introduce our amazing work to the community through events and partnerships.
I joined The Blue Bench team during the winter of 2020. I’ve always been passionate about devoting my work to changing lives. More than once, I’ve witnessed the horrific impact of sexual violence on a loved one. Being a part of this team means channeling my creativity and passion into fighting for a world free of sexual assault—starting here in metro Denver. I’ve had the privilege of serving alongside many non-profit organizations, from youth serving causes to international efforts. My combined interest for empowering young people and advocating for survivors of violence has shaped my desire to serve with The Blue Bench. When I’m not at work, I’m likely attempting a new recipe in my small kitchen, running on my favorite trail, or scrolling animal rescue websites—dreaming of the day I can adopt a fur baby!
Communications and Outreach Coordinator
Elizabeth Carpio (she/her/hers)
Bio coming soon!
Director of Client Services
Jacquie Aamodt, LSCW (she/her/hers)
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.
Denver Post-Conviction Victim Advocate
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.
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.
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.
Jamie Warfield (she/her/hers)
Case Manager and Victim Advocate
Janelle Feldmann (she/her/hers)
Education: Bachelor of Science in Family Science and Minor in Spanish, Kansas State University
I began my work with The Blue Bench team in 2018 as a community organizer. I rejoined this wonderful group of humans in my new role as a Case Manager and Victim Advocate in February 2021. To me, my position means supporting survivors in finding and fighting for means of healing and justice, however that looks to them. Growing up in the Denver Metro area, I am dedicated to bringing resources and agency to our communities through grass roots responsibility. My previous experience lays heavily in outdoor program management and youth behavioral sciences. I pull from this background a spirit of creativity to apply towards victim advocacy.
I am a self-proclaimed hot sauce connoisseur and very average seamstress. My version of self-care includes a lot of sandwiches, snowboarding, travel, and a night of dancing with friends.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
Director of Prevention and Education
Rebecca Kabacinski (she/her/hers)
I oversee the Prevention and Education department which includes supervising and training our Prevention team, building partnerships with schools and community groups, developing engaging curriculum for middle school-aged participants through adults, and facilitating programming.
I first began working at The Blue Bench in 2017 as a Prevention Specialist. In 2019 I became the Prevention Training Manager and in 2021 the Director of Prevention and Education. Prior to joining The Blue Bench, I worked at the YWCA in Addison, IL providing sexual violence prevention education throughout the Chicagoland area and developing curriculum. I have seven years of experience in sexual violence prevention education and seven years of experience in office and client relations management.
Outside of work, I love spending time with my dogs, going to yoga, and singing and dancing – wherever and whenever my heart desires.
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!
Shevonn Damper (she/her/hers)
I coordinate program logistics, working closely with schools and community groups to schedule The Blue Bench’s ‘Pathway to Prevention’ programs. I also assist in data collection to assess program outcomes and areas for growth, as well as facilitate prevention programming.
I joined The Blue Bench in 2018 as an intern with a baseline knowledge of sexually violent behaviors. In 2019 I received my Masters in Curriculum & Instruction with a specialization in sex education from University of Denver. Since then, I continually strengthen my survivor advocacy skills and the ability to recognize sexually violent behaviors. Prevention education inspires me to help my community and be more understanding to those who have experienced trauma because when we are able to give young people consent education, something I never received, it gives me perpetual joy. When I am not working, I love movies, especially Marvel, documentaries, and science fiction. I am also one of the first people out on the dance floor because I love to dance!
Join Our Team
If you are interested in becoming part of our team, visit our list of open positions.