Who We Are

Staff & Board

Mary Ellen Garrett

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Interim Executive Director

Staff

Mary Ellen is a musician, music teacher, and peace activist, working with young students in Denver schools through the Community Resources program. She also teaches marimba and mbira classes at her music studio, Free Range Music. She's 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 10 years ago, knitting and donating items. Since 2016, she's worked part-time for K4P handling quality control, storage, shipments and deliveries from Denver, and supporting new Peace Pods. She stepped up as Interim Executive Director in September, 2019.

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. 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.

Erin Bell

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Administrative Assistant

Staff

Erin is an actress, musician, and writer who has spent many years working as an administrator, copywriter/editor, and proposal manager for engineering and other service corporations. She has also done grant writing for non-profit organizations. Now working freelance, she is thrilled to support Knitting4Peace, where she can combine two of her other passions – a love of fiber crafts and a desire to help people.

Erin first learned to knit at about eight years old, but stopped within a month and didn’t think about it again for nearly three decades. Then, in 2005, a friend encouraged her to pick it up again and, just one year later, asked Erin to knit a blanket for a special part of the friend’s wedding ceremony the following summer. The challenge for a new knitter to make such a precious heirloom got Erin hooked on knitting, and she’s been playing with yarn ever since – including learning to crochet in the past three years.

Erin is happy that she can combine something she loves so much with her nearly 20 years of work experience to help Knitting4Peace continue to do the great work that makes this organization such a bright light in the world.

Julie Meyers

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Board Chair

Board of Directors

Julie is a life long knitter. She started knitting prayer shawls for K4P from Providence RI, shortly after K4P began. She moved to Denver with her husband in 2013 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. She joined the board in 2017.

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.”

Darlene Danyo

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Treasurer

Board of Directors
Darlene assumed the responsibility of the Treasurer after seeing a call for help on Facebook. Darlene started the Chicks with Sticks Peace Pod at Christ Lutheran Church in Highlands Ranch, CO about 8 years ago. They have been providing scarves, hats, washcloths and Peace Pals for several years. After a request for crocheted sleeping mats, Darlene created the pattern for the Quilted Sleeping Mats that were sent to African orphans.
Darlene moved to Colorado from Minnesota in 1994 with her job. She retired in 2003 and participates in many volunteer activities including Mission Quilters, Chicks with Sticks, WhizKids and Colorado Master Gardeners and data input at her church. She is married with two children who live in MN and WashDC.
She says, "I really love the mission of Knitting4Peace. The concept of THREE was foremost in our participation with this organization. Its amazing what this small organization can do!"

Susanne Bryan

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Board Member

Board of Directors

Susanne's passion for knitting began over 40 years ago when she was a foreign exchange student. There was plenty of time on the sheep and cattle farm in New South Wales, Australia to learn to knit. Her "Mum" was very patient and helped pick up dropped stitches and check her gauge for three months.... after all the farm chores had been completed. Watching the sheep shearing gave her a huge appreciation for PURE wool (and all the labor that goes into caring for the sheep every day as they grow their wool)!

Attending University of Denver's Masters in Social Work program brought her to Colorado full time back in the 1980s.

She has been knitting hats, scarves, sweaters for charity and for family and friends ever since. She enjoys teaching knitting to all ages... kindergartners to ninety year olds. For six years she has taught knitting at several retirement communities in Denver. Like riding a bike, the skill would come right back for seniors who hadn't knit for years. And seeing the joy knitting brought them, Susanne was found excitement in delivering their hats to local hospitals and shelters.

Susanne joined the Knitting4Peace board in 2018 and serves as the Director of Personnel.

Pam Leder

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Board Member

Board of Directors

Pam has been involved with Knitting4Peace for 7 years, beginning with the formation of a Peace Pod at First Universalist Church of Denver where she was the Connection Coordinator and creator of StitchN’W(h)ine. Pam started StitchN’W(h)ine after seeing the community that knitting and crocheting created with members of The Gathering Place while she was employed as the Card Project Coordinator. She firmly believes that so much goodwill can be created by creative people sitting around a table and exchanging ideas. In addition, Pam has made monthly deliveries for Knitting4Peace to the University of Colorado Hospital Anschutz NICU for the past several years. Originally from Decatur, Illinois, Pam has been a Coloradan for the past 40 years volunteering with various nonprofits, including Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver and most recently with Dry Bones Denver. Pam is the mother of three daughters and the proud grandmother of three and looks forward to working in outreach for Knitting4Peace.

Angela Bakas

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Board Member

Board of Directors

Angela is a Colorado native and a lifelong crafter. She graduated with a degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising San Francisco and has since had a successful ten-year (and counting) career in apparel and textile product development. She currently works at a Denver based startup whose mission is to inspire and teach makers/crafters through online content and eCommerce. As an avid traveler for both work and pleasure, she has visited sixteen countries on six continents and has climbed two of the seven summits before the age of 30. Her favorite trips have included visiting a tobacco farm in Cuba with her mom and summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania after raising nearly $10,000 on behalf of another Denver based non-profit. Angela believes travel is a privilege, an invaluable educational experience and is dedicated to helping people locally and abroad. She lives by the notion that if you are losing hope in this world, you are not doing enough. Angela hopes her business sense, appreciation for the maker community and genuine desire to help people will contribute to the K4P team.

Carrie Richardson

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Board Member

Board of Directors
Carrie taught herself to knit when she was pregnant with her son 10 years ago, and began making items for Knitting4Peace 4 years ago. She particularly enjoys making Pocket Peace Pals, and can often be seen knitting wherever she goes.

As a bilingual elementary school teacher, Carrie is driven to open others' eyes and hearts to the humanity and dignity of marginalized communities, especially infants and children.

She believes that the love inherent in a warm, handmade item can be felt across time and space, and that every ounce of love sent out into the world is priceless.

Ben Holladay Mccann

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Board Member

Board of Directors
Ben is a Colorado transplant and began knitting about seven years ago with the idea of making everyone in his family something knitted for Christmas. While he only got done with a single scarf that holiday season, he was hooked on knitting and has had projects on the needles ever since, now also dabbling a little in spinning and dyeing fiber.

Ben’s career in accounting systems led him to be a consultant implementing global reporting systems for large corporations. However he’s passionate about helping individuals and small businesses understand and take control of their finances to achieve their goals. His hope is to bring that experience to Knitting4Peace and bring more joy to those we serve.

Besides knitting, Ben enjoys spending time outdoors and cooking. He and his husband Erik are expecting their first child in July, who already has several baby blankets and sweaters waiting for her.

Iation

Consultants

iation 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. iation takes care of the technical details so that Knitting4Peace can focus on crafting hope, healing, and peace worldwide.

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

Mailing Information

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2600 Leyden St., Denver, CO 80207

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