Who We Are

Staff & Board

Mary Ellen Garrett

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Executive Director

Staff

Mary Ellen is a musician, music teacher, and peace activist, working with young students in Denver schools. She also teaches marimba and mbira classes and leads Dances of Universal Peace, an interfaith practice using songs and movements to honor multi-faith traditions.

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 outdoor educator in Colorado, Alaska, and Seattle.

Mary Ellen got involved with Knitting4Peace in 2009, 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 and as Director in May, 2020.

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. Sharing the joy as a child picks their Peace Pal connects our common humanity in a moment of pure grace.”

Marissa Isch

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Administrative Assistant and Deliveries Coordinator

Staff

Marissa is an artist, educator, and writer who brings a decade of administrative and nonprofit experience to our work. A Colorado native, she spent nearly 20 years on the East Coast, finding many avenues to foster change through the arts. She returned to Colorado in 2014 with a family and a drive to expand her involvement in the nonprofit and education sectors.

Knitting became a passion in college when she was a nanny and joined the knitting lessons a mother was giving to her daughter. She’s delighted to expand her knitting skills and help bring warmth and beauty to the world. Marissa is grateful to become a member of the Knitting4Peace team because our work is empowering, healing, and unifying. She’s eager to extend creative compassion, inclusivity and tangible kindness to diverse communities.

Carrie Richardson

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Board Chair

Board of Directors
Carrie taught herself to knit when she was pregnant with her son 11 years ago, and began making items for Knitting4Peace 5 years ago. She particularly enjoys making Pocket Peace Pals, and can often be seen knitting wherever she goes. She began serving as Board Chair in November, 2020.

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.

Darlene Danyo

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Treasurer and Secretary

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!"

Julie Meyers

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Board Member

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, and served as the Board Chair in 2019 and 2020.

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.”

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. Pam also Chairs our Fundraising and Communications Committee.

Angela Bakas

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Board Member

Board of Directors

Angela found Knitting4Peace in 2019 when she felt a pull to do more for her community. Starting from an early age, Angela has loved creating and crafting, which ultimately led her to a degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco. She has spent her career working in apparel and textile product development and makes non-traditional wedding dresses as a side hobby (including her own). 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. She believes travel is a privilege, an invaluable educational experience and is dedicated to helping people locally and abroad. Angela lives by the notion that if you are losing hope in this world, you are not doing enough and is grateful to be a part of the endlessly giving community of Knitting4Peace. Angela also Chairs our Racial Justice Committee.

Amener Williams

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Board Member

Board of Directors

Amener joined our Board in May, 2021. She is an educator who brings a wealth of family and community service to our work. She says: “ I look forward to serving on the board of Knitting4Peace. I hope to meet new people, have different experiences and acquire new skills.”

Amener Williams is a career educator who has dedicated more than 50 years to teaching and serving as a school administrator for vastly diverse groups of students in school districts including New York City; Dallas, Texas; Denver Public Schools; and a Douglas County Charter School. She’s not completely retired and still teaches middle school students each week. She helped raise nine children, who are now 21-55 years of age. Most are college graduates, or still enrolled in college. Three have become educators and are as passionate as she is about the students and subjects they teach.

Ms. Williams is a member of the Park Hill United Methodist Church, where she serves on several committees. She says: “I am proud of the efforts they’re engaged in, especially in the areas of anti-racism, foreign and local missions, and support and care for our members who are unable to participate regularly in church activities. Thank you for this opportunity. I anticipate getting better acquainted with each of you, learning more about the goals of Knitting4Peace, and the people you serve. I also hope to learn to knit!”

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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