Spring is here, and so are new beginnings. We’ve launched Drawing on Air, our youth empowerment through visual art program, are introducing a new Director of Operations, are saying goodbye to a wonderful staff member, and are excited to promote our long-time volunteer, program manager and Drawing on Air facilitator to Director of Programs.
Ashley Cornelius has done so much for our agency. Thanks in part to funding from El Pomar, in her one-year tenure as Director of Programs (formerly program manager as an intern), Ashley increased the number of workshops contracted by 80%, has helped start our two new weekly drop-in youth workshops, has increased our presence in the community, and has proven herself to be an accomplished performance poet. We’re sad to see her leave, but the world stage awaits as she attends DU to get her graduate degree in International Psychology. What an amazing future awaits this young human!
Courtney Chandler has taken over from Ashely as Director of Programs, and we couldn’t wish for a more delightful and competent replacement. Courtney began her journey with AfA as a volunteer more than three years ago as a volunteer, then became an intern because of her studies in treating substance addiction through art, and for the past year has been the Phoenix Rising Program Manager. After Courtney took an adult workshop (which she describes as “life changing”) for part of her training as a facilitator, she understood better than ever the potential for healing that our program provides youth. Because she is an accomplished artist, Courtney helped develop Drawing on Air, based on the award-winning Phoenix Rising poetry and spoken word curriculum, but using visual and tactile art. Courtney also is a yoga/fitness instructor and an all-around amazing individual. Check her out at the Denver Chalk Art Festival on June 4th and 5th!
Welcome to Sophia Cocas, our new Director of Operations! Ask anyone at the agency and they will tell you that Sophia brings a light to the organization, and we are all about basking in that light. Sophia is a mother of three, an artist, and a grad student criminology at Regis. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a Minor in Sociology from Metropolitan State University of Denver, graduating with honors. Sophia brings her passion for youth, sociology, the criminal justice system, and art into our agency in order to help us reach more youth and do it in an organized and well-managed way (Look out world!). Sophia is committed to taking our mission even further, and helping us reach youth throughout Colorado!