Executive Director

angell pérez, M.A.

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 a 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 the 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 alumnus 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 the criminal justice system and reach their full potential.

Operations & Program Manager

Itzel Santos

Itzel is a very proud first-generation Mexican American 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 an exemplary role model for her younger siblings and other young people in her community. Itzel is an alumnus of Denver East high school, MSU Denver, 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. Her activism has given her many skills to be an exemplary role model which she takes personally. 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 is ecstatic to have her be part of the CCFC family!

Girl’s Program Manager

Frida Soto 

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.

RJ & Mi Avenida Program Manager

Guadalupe Corrales

Guadalupe grew up in Globeville, Colorado and from a very early age observed the impact that this neighborhood had on her peers and the impact that it continues to have to this day. She understood that society was failing youth and felt like she had the responsibility to ensure that her and brother’s future was different. Both of her parents migrated to the United States from Delicias, Chihuahua and she feels very strongly about staying connected with her roots. In 2014, Guadalupe graduated from Pinnacle Charter High School and started college at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She graduated in 2018 with a bachelor of science in Human Services and a concentration in High-Risk Youth Studies. She is currently working on obtaining a double master in Public Administration and Criminal Justice at CU Denver. A lot of Guadalupe’s experience comes from working in child welfare and hopes to apply what she knows into this new role. Through the work that she did in child welfare, she observed the effects that the system has on youth, especially youth of color. There are many inequities and her hope is that she can work on closing those gaps and keep youth out of the system and instead, provide them with tools and opportunities to be leaders. She believes youth can become successful adults through healing, connections and understanding how culture plays a role in their lives. Guadalupe has a strong passion for working with youth and fighting for social justice and anti-racism. She joined CCFC because she feels strongly about the mission and is excited to work with a team who share the same goals of fighting for change. She is really excited to be joining the CCFC team!

Youth Justice Apprenticeship Program Manager

Ashly Villa

Being the oldest daughter of two Mexican immigrants and growing up in the Northside of Denver, Montbello, and Green Valley Ranch, Ashly is profoundly influenced and fueled by the love she has for her communities. Her experiences being raised in these communities have shaped her into the relentless advocate she is today. She is a mindful and visionary leader that works to make transformative change by using a racial justice lens in all the work she does. While at the University of Colorado Boulder, Ashly studied International Affairs and Ethnic Studies while earning a minor in Arabic and began to intentionally seek out ways to understand and dismantle systems of oppression in every part of her life. Her education and personal experiences have allowed her to understand that policy has historically not been accessible for her communities and many others, and she is dedicated to changing that reality. Currently, Ashly is a first-year, first generation law student at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. With her law degree, Ashly hopes to be able to do her part to make the law more accessible and equitable to her communities. No matter where she goes, her goal is simple — to empower and uplift the stories of those who have historically been ignored, and she aims to continue that work in her role as the Youth Justice Apprenticeship Manager at Colorado Circles for Change.

Program Assistant

Maya Padilla

Growing up, Maya has always been drawn to activism and making her voice heard. As a young Native woman, Maya acknowledges that she, and others like her, has an exceptional target on her back. Because of that she considers her heritage to be a blessing and wants to help guide youth to finding where they come from is as well. Being a graduate from North High School and now a student at CCD, she has directly observed the harm that’s been done to her community and is on a mission to fight that harmful system. She embraces both of her identities, being a part of the Northern Arapaho tribe and also a Chicana. She grew up primarily in North Denver but often visits her home on the Wind River reservation in Wyoming. She believes her experiences of living both on the reservation and living in an urban environment have shaped her view of the world greatly. All of these experiences have informed her passion for helping her community and standing up for social, environmental, and economic justice. She was brought on the team as a Youth Justice Apprentice in January and felt drawn to the organization because of its values of cultural healing and dismantling white supremacy. She wants to continue to guide other youth like her and pursue her passion for activism through her work with CCFC.

Financial Manager

Kathy Maestas

Kathy Maestas is an independent consultant working with a variety of local nonprofits and small businesses and has more than 25 years of experience. Kathy holds a B.S. in Accounting from The University of Denver and a Masters of Public Administration with a Concentration in Nonprofit Organizations from the University of Colorado at Denver Graduate School of Public Affairs. Many of Kathy’s interests include working with youth, the Latino community, women of color, and the disability community. Often her efforts are through informal means such as meeting individually with people one on one. Kathy finds joy in assisting people and organizations behind the scenes, empowering them, watching them grow and finding their own version of success, and always being there for support and to cheer them on as needed! Kathy has a sincere passion for helping people and building strong long-lasting relationships, which is evident in both her professional and personal life. Kathy is most proud of her three children, Sierra, Sage & Sofia.

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