Molly Wingate, M.A. English
Molly has taught writing since 1978 at high schools, colleges, universities, community colleges, libraries, kitchens and so on. She was the Writing Center Director at Colorado College from 1987-2001 and has since had her own writing consulting firm. She has many articles, book chapters, essays and books to her credit, including Slow Parenting Teens. She helped to found the Manitou Springs Education Foundation and served as its president. She served on the Manitou Springs Historic Preservation Commission, 2006 – 2016. She is a member of the Colorado Nonprofit Association and has served the regional Quaker community for many years. She is the Executive Director of Poetry Heals.
Heather Huffman, PhD Psychological Anthropology
Heather is a professional program evaluator and joined the board in January 2019. She works for the Community Partnership for Child Development in their Joint Initiatives in Colorado Springs. She brings with her dozens of connections in El Paso County with organizations who serve at-risk youth. She wrote her dissertation of the therapeutic effects of writing groups for professional writers in Los Angeles. Her knowledge of evaluation, especially of the therapeutic effects of writing, is a real boon.
Ann Hagerty, M.F.A. Poetry
Ann and Molly collaborated on Poetry Heals from the very beginning. Ann is an accomplished poet and editor, and she keeps our eyes on the art and poetry. She has taught poetry to many ages and abilities. She has substantial experience with non-profit boards, including facilitating board retreats and strategic planning.
Brian Murphy, J.D.
Brian is a business and real estate attorney with a specialty of non-profit law. He keeps us legal. He has served on the board of the Opera Theater of the Rockies for many years including as president, The Business of Arts Center board, and the former Colorado Springs Symphony board. He is also Molly’s husband.
Marti Woodward, M.S.W.
Adolescent, Family and Couples therapist and addiction counselor in private practice. Marti and Molly Wingate co-wrote Slow Parenting Teens. Marti provides valuable input on issues of adolescent development and recovery from addiction. She keeps our eye on the therapy part of Poetry Heals
Program Manager, Poetry Mentor
Jacki Othon moved from San Antonio, Texas to Colorado Springs with her family in 1993. In 2012, she graduated with her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, becoming the first member of her family to graduate from college. She joined Poetry Heals in the fall of 2019. Jacki is a local activist and organizer with Colorado Springs DSA and is working to deepen her involvement in social work and social justice advocacy, with a special focus on immigration reform and healing intergenerational trauma in Latinx families, as well as working to solve the affordable housing crisis in the city. She is a proud fur mother of two cats and a pitbull and lives with her long-time partner, Matthew.
While attending Colorado College in the late 1970s, Beth fell in love with the Pikes Peak region and taught in elementary schools in the area for thirty years. During those years, she continued her education, completing 2 MAT programs and numerous trainings. After retiring in 2014, she began tutoring students and now tutors clients from across the country online.
Beth is incredibly grateful that she took a leap of faith in 2015 and became a mentor with Poetry Heals. She has been able to further develop her own writing skills, gain self-confidence working with a wide range of workshop participants, and most importantly, she has learned to listen better and encourage all, regardless of their circumstances. “Through their stories, I have become a better person.”
Sara Gallagher is a writing guide who specializes in helping adults access their creativity. She teaches composition at Pikes Peak Community College, and provides private workshops and coaching sessions. She also hosts the Fierce Womxn Writing podcast where she interviews authors on their creative process. Sara holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction with a concentration in Teaching from Bay Path University and a BA in English from Iona College. This is her second year serving as Vice-Chair of the Manitou Springs Arts, Culture, and Heritage Board, where she evaluates grant applications and makes funding recommendations. Sara has been a writing mentor with Poetry Heals for two years.
Lindsay Deen is a local tutor, writer, poet, artist, and young IT professional living in Colorado Springs, CO. She believes every day is a chance to make a difference and focuses her work to achieve positive growth for herself and others.
As a private tutor, Lindsay encourages communication and connection for youth as they struggle to define themselves and their life goals. She tutors English, math, and science for ages in middle school through college level students, working to connect coursework to real-life principles. Her work also includes facilitating therapeutic poetry workshop sessions with Poetry Heals.
Lindsay co-founded and contributed many works to the literary e-magazine US Represented. In addition, she has extensive experience in business administration and Information Technology as well as working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector. She loves literature, Dungeons & Dragons, yoga, watching people play video games, life, and long, lovely walks beneath Colorado skies.
Andrew Betancourt is a veteran of the Army and a Texas native. He came to Poetry Heals through his involvement in arts programs in the Warrior Recovery Unit. He worked as a mentor face-to-face while stationed at Ft. Carson, and now works on our website and in our online workshops. Andrew is currently living in Texas while helping his mom and little sister with their studies. Andrew enjoys RPGs and other video games.
Upon earning a degree in English from Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Heather enjoyed 10 years of challenging and fulfilling work as a Master-Level Writing Consultant at FAU’s University Center for Excellence in Writing. Her favorite things were working with nursing students and freshmen, brain-storming, thesis statement composition, elucidating writing prompts, unpacking reading assignments, grammar fundamentals, and skillfully decreasing word-count overages by teaching concision and editing.
Once in Manitou Springs, Heather attended Poetry & Pottery at Soda Springs Park where she met Poetry Heals’ founder, Molly Wingate. Whereupon learning one another’s backgrounds, Molly was inspired to offer Heather a Therapeutic Writing Mentor position. Heather happily accepted and has delighted in learning new work; one that is curative — witnessing heavy hearts made lighter through writing is singularly gratifying. Heather, a published poet, has loved poetry since discovering Plath and Cummings in Mrs. Hay’s 11th grade Language Arts class at Plano Senior High.