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
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.
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.”
Laura moved to Colorado in 2008 from Australia. She studied Zoo Keeping technologies at Pikes Peak State College. She joined Poetry Heals in 2016, but ended up pursuing her career with animals where she worked at the Humane Society as one of their Trap Neuter Return Coordinators.
Laura has a passion for writing and helping people in the community. She enjoys connecting with everyone she meets and has great enthusiasm about Poetry Heals. She is also a Certified Vibrational Sound Therapy Practitioner and Reiki Master. She owns her own business called Prairie Moon Vibrational Wellness. She teaches Yoga to Adults and Children and practices Animal Reiki. She lives out on the Prairie with her husband and menagerie of animals. She loves to travel and is in love with Colorado.
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.
Amber Ridenour Walker
Amber Ridenour Walker is the author of Surfacing (Free Lines Press) and I Thought This Would Be Cooler (Bottlecap Press). Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Portland Review, Bombay Gin, Gumball Poetry, Leon Literary Review, Wisdom Body Collective, Word Riot, 580 Split, and Tiny Spoon, and she is a recurring guest on the Sonic Salon podcast. Amber holds an MFA in Writing and Poetics from The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado. She currently lives in Colorado Springs and works for Pike’s Peak Library District.
Alaska is studying communications and women’s and ethnic studies. After college they hope to work in furthering social justice and equity in whichever way life takes them.
Poetry is extremely important to Alaska because it has gotten them through everything life has thrown at them. As such, they hope to teach other people struggling about how poetry heals the heart. They have poetry published in a collection of art put together by the Colorado Children’s Hospital in a book called Sonder.
Alaska grew up in Woodland Park and has lived in Colorado their entire life. They have a talented partner, many kind friends, a wonderful family, and two sweet black cats that all matter incredibly to them. Alaska loves all the people (and animals!) in their life as well as reading and playing video and board games.
Tammy Adams is a retired educator residing in Colorado Springs. In 1984, Tammy made the move from Idaho to Colorado and has been grateful for the scenery and opportunities since provided here.
In terms of education, Tammy received a BA in Secondary English and Physical Education way back in 1980 and later added certification for teaching kids in the elementary grades. UCCS provided the programming to achieve an MA In Curriculum and Instruction, focusing on reading in 1990.
Having a variety of experience, Tammy has immensely enjoyed teaching high school English, physical education, history, elementary school, gifted programs, and Chapter One over the course of her career. Working with kids with behavioral challenges has also been a passion of Tammy’s.
Upon reaching retirement, Tammy was able to spend time in part time positions as a high school tutor and mentor with struggling students. This was a very rewarding experience.
As a music admin who has worked in aviation, commercial truck driving, and music licensing, Ernest Wingo has had a diverse and exciting career. Born and raised in a musical family in Colorado Springs, Co, Ernest developed a passion for music at a young age. He played sports, played multiple instruments, started producing and performing in a local music group called “Flo-Logics”.
After obtaining a degree in music business and Audio Engineering in 2020, Ernest realized that the arts and entertainment industry was his calling. With a background
working for aircraft and aerospace manufacturers, he found a way to combine his love of music with his skills, licenses, certifications and degrees in his career. He became an
expert in music licensing for PNW Beats, negotiating deals with record labels and independent artists to provide a high-quality audio experience for consumers.
Ernest’s abilities and knowledge in the field did not go unnoticed. He partnered with another artist to create PNW Beats where He oversaw licensing for all types of media
used by film, TV shows, and advertising campaigns. During his time in this role, Ernest successfully negotiated contracts.
Despite his busy schedule, Ernest remains active in the music world and continues to network with fellow music professionals. In addition, he taught as a teaching artist at
Brazil Centers, in Kent, WA, where he taught young students music production, songwriting and how to succeed as an artist in the industry.
Throughout his career, Ernest has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to both the aviation and music industries. His ability to navigate both worlds has made him a valuable asset to his employers, clients and peers. As a business owner his passion for music has inspired and motivated countless others. Today, Ernest remains at the forefront of music licensing for Flo-Logics Media, striving to provide the best audio experience possible for music consumers around the world.