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Our Staff

Director's Team

Brigid McRaith, Chief Executive Officer

As CEO, Brigid is responsible for the overall leadership, management, and strategic direction of Mile High Youth Corps. She works closely with senior staff members and the board of directors to provide the vision for the Corps and acts collaboratively with staff and diverse community partners to fulfill the mission of the organization. Brigid is a native of Chicago and a Colorado College graduate. She has extensive experience working with the Spanish-speaking community, building strong staff teams and has over 15 years of experience in building strong youth development programs. Prior to being named CEO, Brigid served for 10 years as MHYC's Regional Director: Metro Denver. In 2010, she was awarded the Supervisor of the Year from the Colorado Juvenile Council and in 2011 was a Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Denver participant. 

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Antonio Barreiro, Deputy Director

As Regional Director, Antonio is responsible for overseeing MHYC programs in the Denver Metro area and working closely with program management to ensure youth participants ​and community partners are served by our mission. Prior to coming to MHYC, he served in a variety of higher education leadership positions including Dean of Academic Pathways, Workforce Development and Student Success at Berkeley City College, and Associate Dean of Academics and Director of the Community Leadership Institute at Johnson & Wales University, Denver. His Background includes community-based youth development work as a lead facilitator at Santa Fe Community College's Institute for Intercultural Community Leadership, as well as with Big City Mountaineers where he was Director of Operations. Antonio earned his BS in Life Sciences Education from Humboldt State University in 1994 and his MA in Applied Behavioral Science from Bastyr University in 2003. His career in education has its foundation in outdoor experiential education at NOLS and Outward Bound where he was senior field-staff working wilderness-based courses throughout North America.
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Jeslin Shahrezaei, Director of Development & Marketing

Jeslin joined the MHYC team in 2017 to support the leadership of all fundraising and marketing activities for the organization.  As a member of senior staff, Jeslin helps to maintain collaborative relationships between all departments, ensuring the impact of the work is well represented to all stakeholders. Jeslin received a M.A. from the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School.  She has spent over ten years working as a fundraising profession for various agencies in the Denver metro area including, Girls Inc. of Metro Denver and IDE-International Development Enterprises.  In 2015, Jeslin was a participant in the Institute for Leaders in Development and the Nonprofit Social Enterprise Exchange Inaugural Cohorot.  In 2010, Jeslin was named a National Council for Research on Women American Express Fellow.  

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Lisa Smith, Director: Finance & Planning

As the Director of Finance and Planning Lisa is responsible for grant management, reporting and invoicing; she oversees financial functions to ensure proper maintenance of all accounting systems including accounts payable, accounts receivable, grant billings, bank deposits, reconciliations, and cash management; and coordinates the annual audit and federal and state filings. Most recently Lisa comes from the Colorado Water Trust, where she served as the Director of Finance and Administration. Lisa has worn a number of hats over the years—running a small adventure travel company specializing in conservation-minded adventure travel to Latin America, financial analyst, wilderness ranger, public lands advocate, Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador and popcorn specialist. She loves international adventurous travel and exploring the wide-open landscapes of the Western U.S.


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Energy & Water

Nate Edge, Project Manager, Energy & Water Conservation

As Project Manager for the Energy & Water Conservation program, Andrew oversees the implementation of projects in the field and Corpsmember programming components. He also supports the recruitment and hiring of all Energy & Water Corpsmembers. He oversees the development, implementation and continuous improvement of the Energy & Water Conservation program. Nate received his Bachelor of Science from Ohio University and is currently pursuing and MBA with a specialization in Sustainability from UC-Denver.  

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Tim Verni-Lau, Client Intake Coordinator

Tim is responsible for managing the intake process for the Energy & Water program and supporting Corpsmembers working in the intake office. This office schedules daily appointments and reaches out to the community to make them aware of and sign them up for MHYC’s free conservation services. Prior to Mile High Youth Corps, Tim was a Corpsmember and Team Leader with Americorps N.C.C.C. He has also held positions at Young Americans For Financial Education, Children’s Museum of Denver and Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Tim was a member of Brethren Volunteer Service for two years, living off of $60.00 a month in Atlanta and Washington D.C. Tim earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theater and Film at Columbia of Chicago.

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Development & Marketing

Michele Kilen, Manager: Foundation & Government Relations

Michele is responsible for all grant-related activities including developing annual grants campaign, researching new funding opportunities, writing and preparing grant proposals and ensuring high-quality reporting standards are met.  Michele received a BS in Marketing from University of Hawaii.  Previous to Mile High Youth Corps, Michele spent 10 years at the Denver Public Schools Foundation where she helped build the grants program primarily through a focus on corporate and private foundations. Michele also has experience in program and event management, marketing and communications/outreach. Prior to DPS Foundation, Michele worked as a marketing communications specialist in various high-tech and telecommunications start-up companies.


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Darius West, Youth & Community Engagement Coordinator

As the YACE Coordinator Darius provides leadership and oversight for outreach and engagement activities with community based organizations, schools and other relevant groups.  Darius received his BA in Philosphy and Political Science from Howard University and a MA in Environmental Management from Western State Colorado University.  Previous to MHYC, Darius worked with nonprofits and businesses to develop engagement strategies which supported increased participation in program and sustained enrollment goals. Darius uses his tremendous experience in event organizing, stakeholder surveying, and campaign management to support his role at MHYC.  

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Heather Hurd, Manager: Compliance and Data

As the Manager of Compliance and Data, Heather is responsible for ensuring AmeriCorps grant compliance.  Before moving into this position, Heather was the part-time Data Associate for the YouthBuild Program here at MHYC and a part-time Case Manager at Family Tree’s Homelessness Programs.  In addition, she served two years in AmeriCorps NCCC as a Corpsmember and Team Leader at the Denver Campus.  Heather earned her Associate’s Degree in Human Services from Corning Community College in 2004 and her BA in Hospitality Management from Metro State University of Denver in 2010.


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Land Conservation

Jesse Roehm, Senior Manager: Land Conservation

As Senior Manager for our Land Conservation Program, Jesse is responsible for obtaining contracts and maintaining strong relationships with local, state and federal land management agencies. Jesse oversees and provides direct support to crew leaders and ensures safe, high quality completion of land projects. Jesse previously served two full terms as an AmeriCorps Leadership and Conservation Corpsmember and Alumni Mentor at MHYC. He was honored as the Corps Network’s National Corpsmember of the Year in 2013. Jesse earned his B.A. in Sociology and International Studies from Indiana University in 2010.

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Liz Cummings, Program Coordinator: Land Conservation Southern Front Range

Liz oversees the hiring, development, support, and preparedness for future job placement for our Land Conservation Corpsmembers in the Denver program. She helps to ensure each Corpsmember has a positive experience, has earned new skills and certifications, and feels ready to jumpstart their careers after their term of service She is responsible for the facilitation of programming, including orientations, community meetings, education, and more. She also supervises the Crew Leaders, Land Conservation Mentors, and oversees the Land Conservation Leaders program with the Project Coordinator. Prior to coming to MHYC, Liz spent three years working for the University of Colorado practicing youth development while managing a team of 30. Her fieldwork experience is varied; she has four seasons experience participating in and leading archaeological excavation and survey crews in Greece. Liz also served as a Crew Leader for MHYC in 2017 building new trails in Pike National Forest on a ten-day camping crew. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Anthropology and Classics from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2015. In her spare time, you can find Liz hiking, camping, playing hockey and camogie, and searching Denver for the new best food in town.

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Amber Palmeri, Program Manager: YouthBuild

Amber is responsible for oversight of the YouthBuild Program, including providing a link between the job site and the classroom, curriculum development, grants management and general program enhancement. She has a strong commitment to community service, having dedicated three full years to volunteering, both domestically (Urban Servant Corps) and internationally (Peace Corps: St. Lucia, Eastern Caribbean). Prior to MHYC, Amber spent 12 years working with organizations providing leadership development and educational programming to support low-income and under-advantaged youth in developing the skills they need to become self-sufficient contributors to their communities. Her experiences include direct service, human resources, data management, volunteer management and program management. She received a Master in Public Administration from University of Colorado Denver and a BA in Psychology from Midland University.

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Xavier Jennings, Program Coordinator: Leadership Development

As Program Coordinator: Leadership Development for YouthBuild, Xavier is responsible for providing support, training, and leadership development to MHYC Corpsmembers. He works closely with other staff to develop and implement leadership trainings within each program and oversees the agency’s Leadership Council. Xavier has been with the agency since 2008 when he graduated from MHYC’s YouthBuild program. He then served as the YouthBuild Alumni Mentor until being promoted to staff in 2010. In his current position, Xavier contributed to the development of and new partnership with RiseUp Community School (RCS), works closely with YouthBuild staff and Corpsmembers, and teaches a leadership development class at (RCS) called LEAD. He is a current member of YouthBuild USA’s National Alumni Council (NAC) and Community College of Denver graduate.

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College & Career

Jason Vaughn, Program Coordinator: College & Careers

As the Program Coordinator: College and Careers, Jason serves as the Corpsmembers primary resource regarding their careers or next steps. He is responsible for providing career readiness training, job placement, career coaching and mentoring. Jason also assist participants with setting and meeting their goals, building successful relationships and ensuring team cohesion. Jason has 14 years of experience providing case management to youth at detention centers, court systems and other non-profit organizations. He earned his BA in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from the University of Hawaii. Jason is a native of Denver and attended Montbello High School.  

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Alexis Diaz, Case Manager: College and Transitions

Alexis is responsible for assisting Corpsmembers with their post-secondary education plans. She supports them through the process of applying for college, apprenticeships or vocational programs; applying for financial aid and scholarships; registering for classes; and engaging in prosocial support programs. After receiving her BA in Ethnic Studies from University of Colorado Boulder in 2017 she was an Intern at “I Have a Dream” Boulder, where Alexis worked with low-income, at-risk students who struggled with academic success. Alexis served as a support system and resource for the students’ academic and personal obstacles. 

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Monica Acosta, Case Manager: Resources

As the Case Manager: Resources, Monica is responsible for connecting Corpsmembers to resources and support services relevant to housing, childcare and substance abuse. In addition, she is responsible for developing and facilitating career readiness trainings, life skill classes and mentoring. Monica previously worked for the Los Angeles Conservation Corps as a Crew Supervisor and Project Coordinator. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy with minors in Botany and Regenerative Studies. Monica also volunteers as mentor for Colorado Youth At-Risk.

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Finance & Operations

Chuck Dolbow, Operations Coordinator

As the Operations Coordinator, Chuck is responsible for the daily oversight of operational logistics, including information technology systems, inventory, facilities and fleet management. Chuck has extensive youth development and construction experience. He was in the building industry for ten years as a carpenter and project manager and has spent the majority of his career working with high school students as a youth pastor. Chuck received his BA from Colorado Christian University in Denver.

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Theresa Khong, Accountant

As Accountant, Theresa’s main responsibilities include payroll at Mile High Youth Corps, as well as managing the billing of the state-wide AmeriCorps grant and City of Denver grants. Theresa has a background in nonprofit accounting and worked as an Accountant III at the Eating Disorder Center of Denver prior to coming to MHYC in 2010. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Computer Information Systems from the University of Colorado in May 1998 and is working on her Master in Accounting. She has over 12 years experience and strong skills in all accounting procedures. Theresa is also fluent in Vietnamese.

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