Angell Pérez has been with CCFC since January 2012 and has extensive experience in youth development, community organizing and intentional anti-racist approaches to non-profit work. Angell served as the Director of Teen and Outreach Programs at Girls Inc. of Metro Denver for 5 years and previous to that she was the Program Manager for Denver City and County’s Youth Opportunity Girls Empowerment Program for 5 years under Mayor Wellington Web’s Administration. Angell has also worked at other local community organizations in the Denver area such as Mi Casa Resource Center and Denver Area Youth Services.
Under her leadership she has been responsible for growing the capacity of these organizations and leading equity and inclusiveness initiatives to meet the needs of youth and families in the Denver community. Angell brings strong passion for community, youth empowerment and intentional anti-racist approaches in community organizing. She received an independent bachelor of arts degree in Equity and Social Justice from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a Certification in Non-Profit Management and a Master of Arts in Ethnic Studies from Colorado State University with a Certificate In women’s Studies. Angell is also an alumni of the Community Resource Center’s Non-Profit Leadership and Management Program, the Spirit In Action; Standing In Our Power Transformative Leadership for Women of Color Program, The Denver Foundation’s Executive Directors of Color Institute and is a Transformational Leadership for Change Fellow.
Angell has a personal connection to CCFC’s mission as both her parents were incarcerated when she was a child and she also witnessed her brother become a target of the school to jail pipeline being arrested and detained at the age of 12. During the time CCFC founders were convening to combat the infamous summer of violence in Denver, Angell was a teen heavily entrenched in the violence that plagued communities of color in Denver and the police response that followed. Angell witnessed many friends and family members suffer from gang murders and incarceration. These incidents transformed her life and inspired her to fight for justice in poor communities of color that experience violence and criminalization. Angell believes in the beauty of healing, intergenerational community building, the resilience and strength in her community and is committed to providing opportunities for youth to reach their full potential and to heal, dismantle violence, stay out of criminal justice system and reach their full potential.
(303) 534-6167 ext 1
Itzel is a very proud first generation Mexican Amercian with both parents being from Zacatecas, Mexico. Being the oldest and the first one to graduate from high school in her family, she wants to be the exemplary role model for her younger siblings and other young people in her community. Itzel is an alumni of Denver East high school and grew up in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood where she says she witnessed the school to jail pipeline affect many of her peers. She witnessed firsthand the inequities in discipline policies and how Brown and Black students were often targeted for harsher disciplinary actions. She feels strongly that she has a responsibility to her community and especially to the youth by participating in leadership programs such as Colorado Uplift, Readig Partners and as a Balarat counselor. Her activism has given her many skills to be an exemplary role model which she takes personally. During high school Itzel was encouraged to complete an internship which led her to one of CCFC’s partners, The Colorado Juvenile Defender Coalition in which she interned. This experience further opened her eyes to the need to support youth to stay out of the criminal justice system. Itzel joined the CCFC family because of the way CCFC supports youth and provides space for them to be empowered and have a voice to combat the criminalization of youth. CCFC will also be a great place for her to grow as a professional while she attends Metro State in the fall to pursue her dream of being the first one in her family to go to college and achieve her goal of becoming a social worker. CCFC is ecstatic to have her join the CCFC family!
Frida Fernanda Soto Leyva
(303) 534-6167 ext 1
Frida migrated to United States along with her mom when she was eight months old from Durango, Mexico. She was first generation to graduate high school from York International High School and with great efforts continued on to Metropolitan State University of Denver despite being ineligible for financial. Frida grew up, and lives in Globeville, Colorado. As a Mapleton Debate Alumni at Denver Urban Debate League and now debate coach at Denver West High School, Frida has fought to make space for youth of color in under resourced neighborhoods experiencing violence and incarceration. At an early age Frida witnessed many of the youth in her community experiencing unjust treatment in schools and in the neighborhood. She soon was able to connect the injustices of being a person of color to the school to prison pipeline and criminal justice system. As a student at MSU Denver she is active in connecting academia to grassroots work for justice. Frida began as an intern for Colorado Circle of Change where she wanted to learn more about healing harm caused by injustice, provide alternatives to the juvenile justice system for youth and reclaim her ancestral medicine. Frida has had a significant impact on youth who come through the doors of CCFC and upon completion of her internship she was hired as a Program Assistant which has furthered her impact. Frida has played a significant role in developing and implementing the Hueliti girls leadership Program, a program specifically for girls of color with the purpose of raising the consciousness of girls by equipping them with historical knowledge of their ancestors and elders, inspiring healing justice through a connection of ancestral cultural traditions, and developing skills so they can organize around issues impacting them. This experience has further opened her eyes to the need to support youth to stay out of the criminal justice system and become empowered, self-determined while embracing the medicine of their ancestors. Frida expects to graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver in May 2020 and use this tool to continue to fight for the youth of Denver.