Crafting hope, healing & peace one stitch at a time.

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Staff and Board

Staff

Kathleen Marsh, Executive Director

Kathleen Marsh joined Knitting4Peace in June 2018 as the organization’s first paid Executive Director. Kathleen feels grateful to be a part of the journey that K4P founder, Susan McKee, began in 2006 with an idea to bring hope, healing and peace to the world. Author Kobi Yamada writes in What Do You Do with An Idea?, “Don’t be afraid to do something just because it’s impossible”. Kathleen, too, believes in this courageous idea.

Kathleen brings to Knitting4Peace her own experiences working with a variety of communities: she has worked as a music teacher, youth director, caregiver for adults with developmental disabilities, and a camp counselor in the Rocky Mountains. Kathleen also enjoys working as a music therapist with children and adults. In her free time, she crochets and loves spending time outdoors with her husband, Evan, and their dog, Cris.

In this new chapter of Knitting4Peace, Kathleen hopes to infuse a sense of joy, energy, and creativity in the K4P community. She seeks to help K4P connect with diverse communities who can enter into a relationship of giving and receiving.

Susan McKee, Founder

Susan describes herself as the “mid-wife” of the organization because its founding was grounded as much in her spiritual life as it was in her previous business career. For 20 years Susan was involved in sales and marketing management for Knoll International and her own independent firm where her innovative style resulted in award-winning sales increases and major growth in business development.

Susan left the corporate world to enter private practice as a spiritual director, receiving her certification from the Shalem Institute. She earned her Masters of Divinity (with distinction) from the Iliff School of Theology in 2009. Susan is actively and passionately involved in interfaith work. She is a co-founder of the Abrahamic Initiative (recipient of the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award.) Some of her deepest friendships are those that have evolved through relationships formed and fostered in two interfaith dinner groups, one that has met regularly for the past decade. Susan has served in numerous volunteer positions including board member for St. Anne’s Episcopal School and vestry member of Saint John’s Episcopal Cathedral – as capital campaign co-chair she helped raise $5.3 million. Susan is a member of the United Church of Christ because of its welcome for all God’s children and its attentive listening for the voice of a still-speaking God.

Susan was inspired in 2004 by Sister Joan Chittister, director of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, who urged women to take action, noting that “Peace will never happen unless women get involved in dramatic new ways!” That same year, Susan met women from Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salaam, a village founded jointly by Jews and Palestinians, who pleaded, “Please don’t forget us.” She struggled with those voices until she received an inspiration to create women4women-knitting4peace. Susan has galvanized thousands of women across the United States and Canada to create a steadily growing peace movement.

Hal Simmons, Operations Manager & Treasurer

Hal retired in 2010 after a long and successful business career specializing in merchandising, operations, and branding. He significantly grew the sales volume for Hyde Park Jewelers and Colorado Pen Company, and before that played a key role in expanding the Perkins Shearer group, which became the coast-to-coast chain of Polo Ralph Lauren Stores.

Hal remains closely involved in the financial world through real estate investment and development, and brings the same business acumen to his nonprofit endeavors: he created an automated inventory system for MetroCareRing; helped raise $5.3 million for Saint John’s Cathedral’s “On this Rock” capital campaign; and helped Seeking Common Ground raise the profile of its annual “Circles of Change” breakfast fundraiser, which now attracts major sponsors and more than 400 attendees. He is also a founding member of the Abrahamic Initiative at Saint John’s Cathedral, which provides a forum for dialogue among Jews, Christians and Muslims. Hal is the co-moderator of the Church Council at Park Hill Congregational Church.

Since the first seed for the idea of women4women-knitting4peace was sown in 2004, Hal has been the organization’s pragmatist and merchandiser, dedicated to making the vision a reality.

Tammy Williamson, Administrative Manager

Tammy has worked for Knitting4Peace for 3 years as the Assistant to the Executive Director, and now Administrative Manager. She also is the Office Administrator at Park Hill Congregational Church for the last 4 years. Originally from Nebraska, Tammy went to college at Bellevue College near Omaha, and Aurora Community College in Denver. She was an Executive Assistant for over 20 years supporting senior level executive management at several organizations. She has also been the Office Administrator at Impact Christian Church in Woodland Park and Sonrise United Methodist Church in Pueblo. Her work at Knitting4Peace includes inventory tracking, website updates, correspondence, scheduling volunteers, helping to maintain our database, etc. “I love Knitting4Peace for many reasons including its unique niche in helping people locally and all over the world with items that bring warmth, comfort and healing. The network of people that make this all work is astonishing. I’m beyond blessed to be a part of this amazing team.”

Tammy and her husband Jan have 3 dogs and 1 cat and love to spend time outdoors hiking & walking with their furry family, doing archery, reading, BBQing and college football. Tammy also enjoys cooking and swimming.

Mary Ellen Garrett, Knitting4Peace Assistant

Mary Ellen is a musician and music educator, working with young students in Denver schools through the Arts Across Cultures and Community Resources programs. She also teaches marimba and mbira classes at her music studio, Free Range Music. She is a certified leader in Dances of Universal Peace, an inter-faith practice using songs and movements to honor multi-cultural spiritual traditions and build harmony and resilience.

A Denver native, she has a BA in Environmental Policy from Antioch University, and spent the early part of her career as a lobbyist, community organizer, and in outdoor education in Colorado, Alaska, and Seattle.

Mary Ellen got involved with Knitting4Peace 8 years ago, knitting and donating items. Today she handles quality control, storage, shipments and deliveries from Denver, and helps support new Peace Pods.

She says: “I love being part of this wonderful project. I get to see and touch all the incredible items that people send in, make items myself, and send them out into the world. The beauty, creativity, and generosity that flows through our programs is a heartwarming and tangible way of being in beloved community.” One of the schools where Mary Ellen teaches, less than 1 mile from K4P’s offices, is a new Community Purls partner. Peace pals are helping children there cope with traumas such as deaths of family members, and are given to graduating seniors as they launch into the world. “Seeing the joy as a child picks their Peace Pal is a mutual joy, a moment of pure grace.”

Mary Ellen loves to hike, bike, sing, garden, knit, cross-country ski, and enjoy life with her husband Paul and chocolate lab, Laddie.

Kelly Young, Administrative Assistant

I am so happy to be joining the Knitting4Peace team! When I heard K4P was looking for an administrative assistant I was not at all hesitant to apply. Not only do I see growth with Kathleen coming on as the new Executive Director, but I have a broad background and experience help K4P grow. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know a few of the volunteers and staff and I hope to meet all of you one day.

I’d love to say that in my spare time knitting is one of my hobbies, but it is not. I will need some help getting back into knitting if you guys know anyone that can help! Some of my other hobbies include golfing with my husband of 9 years, cooking, gardening and enjoying being in Colorado.

Board of Directors

Susan McKee, Founder

Susan describes herself as the “mid-wife” of the organization because its founding was grounded as much in her spiritual life as it was in her previous business career. For 20 years Susan was involved in sales and marketing management for Knoll International and her own independent firm where her innovative style resulted in award-winning sales increases and major growth in business development.

Susan left the corporate world to enter private practice as a spiritual director, receiving her certification from the Shalem Institute. She earned her Masters of Divinity (with distinction) from the Iliff School of Theology in 2009. Susan is actively and passionately involved in interfaith work. She is a co-founder of the Abrahamic Initiative (recipient of the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award.) Some of her deepest friendships are those that have evolved through relationships formed and fostered in two interfaith dinner groups, one that has met regularly for the past decade. Susan has served in numerous volunteer positions including board member for St. Anne’s Episcopal School and vestry member of Saint John’s Episcopal Cathedral – as capital campaign co-chair she helped raise $5.3 million. Susan is a member of the United Church of Christ because of its welcome for all God’s children and its attentive listening for the voice of a still-speaking God.

Susan was inspired in 2004 by Sister Joan Chittister, director of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, who urged women to take action, noting that “Peace will never happen unless women get involved in dramatic new ways!” That same year, Susan met women from Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salaam, a village founded jointly by Jews and Palestinians, who pleaded, “Please don’t forget us.” She struggled with those voices until she received an inspiration to create women4women-knitting4peace. Susan has galvanized thousands of women across the United States and Canada to create a steadily growing peace movement.

Hal Simmons, Operations Manager & Treasurer

Hal retired in 2010 after a long and successful business career specializing in merchandising, operations, and branding. He significantly grew the sales volume for Hyde Park Jewelers and Colorado Pen Company, and before that played a key role in expanding the Perkins Shearer group, which became the coast-to-coast chain of Polo Ralph Lauren Stores.

Hal remains closely involved in the financial world through real estate investment and development, and brings the same business acumen to his nonprofit endeavors: he created an automated inventory system for MetroCareRing; helped raise $5.3 million for Saint John’s Cathedral’s “On this Rock” capital campaign; and helped Seeking Common Ground raise the profile of its annual “Circles of Change” breakfast fundraiser, which now attracts major sponsors and more than 400 attendees. He is also a founding member of the Abrahamic Initiative at Saint John’s Cathedral, which provides a forum for dialogue among Jews, Christians and Muslims. Hal is the co-moderator of the Church Council at Park Hill Congregational Church.

Since the first seed for the idea of women4women-knitting4peace was sown in 2004, Hal has been the organization’s pragmatist and merchandiser, dedicated to making the vision a reality.

Arna Caplan, Board Chair, Director of Craft

Arna taught in Jefferson County elementary schools for 23 years. She has a lifelong commitment to volunteer work that includes founding and directing a school garden and farmers market in an inner city Denver neighborhood, visiting schools and hospitals with her registered Therapy Dog, and serving on the board of the Colorado Organic Producers Association. Over the last five years she has traveled to Nairobi Kenya with her husband where they train teachers at Shining Hope for Communities’ two schools for girls. She has taken an active role at her synagogue, serving as Secretary of the council and chair of the Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) committee.

Of her commitment to Knitting4Peace, Arna says: “I am a lifelong knitter and was invited to knit with a newly formed Interfaith Peace Pod. After one session I was totally committed to the mission of the organization. I soon became a Delivery Agent, have shared knitted items with children and families in my own community and in several countries, including every student at the Kibera and Mathare Schools for Girls in Nairobi, Kenya. As an educator, I see great potential for Knitting4Peace to involve children in learning about the places we deliver to, and how they can help to fulfill the mission. As a knitter I appreciate the healing and calming effect of knitting in community with others.”

Arna’s role on the Board of Craft is dealing with issues related to the creation of items that meet the requirements of those we deliver to.

Kendall Hershey, Director of Communications

Kendall is a native Coloradan and holds a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University in Business Administration with a Marketing Concentration and minor in Media Studies. She has seven years of experience in marketing communications and social media. Currently she is a Social Media Manager at a high tech company.

Kendall has used her skills to help move Knitting4Peace in new directions, using her technology, marketing and social media skills. She is an avid traveller, hoping to step foot on all seven continents. Kendall says I hope my enthusiasm, love of crochet and outgoing spirit has helped Knitting4Peace to extend our network of peacekeepers around the world.

Kendall’s position on the board is Director of Communications, dealing with issues related to how we communicate with our global community.

Julie Meyers, Director of Community Purls

Julie is a life long knitter. She started knitting prayer shawls for K4P from Providence RI, shortly after K4P began. Four years ago she moved to Denver with her husband and realized she could meet Susan McKee, K4P’s founder, in person. She began knitting with a local Denver Peace Pod, then began volunteering to help with inventory and recently joined the board.

A retired primary care pediatrician, Julie has found ways to be active in many social justice causes in Denver. K4P is a perfect fit as it ties two of Julie’s passions – knitting and trying to make the world a better place.

“I’m thrilled to have found K4P all those years ago and even more thrilled that it’s become such an important part of my life. There is nothing I like better than to knit for others. To help other knitters find that joy is wonderful. Bringing joy and hope to the recipients of what we knit is the greatest gift of all.”

Consultants

5align

5align and the Website Custodian service were created by Dalyn Newby when he saw that non-profits and small businesses needed a reliable online presence management partner. With over 20 years of industry experience Dalyn leads a team of highly talented individuals, passionate about helping organizations succeed online. 5align takes care of the technical details so that Knitting4Peace can focus on crafting hope, healing, and peace worldwide.

You can contact 5align and learn more about the Website Custodian service by visiting 5align.com.

Ink Lounge Creative

Nicky and Stuart Alden run Ink Lounge Creative, a small multi-disciplinary design studio, that focuses much of their time working with non-profits. Nicky was the Creative Director for Bonfils Blood Center for eight years and has served on the AIGA (originally the American Institute of Graphic Arts) Colorado Board of Directors. Stuart sat on the Summer Scholars Board of Directors, is a past AIGA Colorado events director, education direction, president and chaired the AIGA National Chapter Relief Fund Committee. Currently they are the agency of record for Summer Scholars, The PeaceJam Foundation, Colorado School of Mines Foundation, LABS Inc, and starting in 2011, women4women–knitting4peace.

They share their creative energies and nonprofit knowledge with women4women-knitting4peace and assist in marketing, design – and the occasional tech support with Facebook and other online communications. In their own words, “Design won’t save the world, but it is nice to work with those who are making a difference.”

You can visit their website at: www.inkloungecreative.com