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I witnessed my first example of compassion early in life, when at four-years-old I saw my father give a box of fried chicken to a homeless man digging in the dumpster behind our family restaurant. As a teen, the only thing that kept me out of trouble and my grades decent, was being involved in student government, where I contributed to both my school and the local community.

During one of my most difficult times, I found refuge in volunteering at a local humane society. I realized then the impact of volunteering on my mental health and have been a volunteer ever since.

I lost my father to suicide at a very young age. That life event helped me to realize the significant impact our mental health plays in our life and in the lives of those around us.

I believe that each thought, behavior, and action creates a ripple effect. I’ve learned that when we come together, change can be made. With a sense of community, separation dissipates, leading to happier, healthier, more compassionate human beings, who can then contribute back to others.

I live in Denver with my husband and two full-of-life boys. Born and raised in Central Florida, I moved to the Rocky Mountains in 2007. I love so many things about life—learning, cooking, traveling, people, the great outdoors, and especially a good conversation.