Meet Our SOAR Team

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Chantae Thomas

Executive Director & Founder

Raised in Colorado, Chantae has grown to love spending time outdoors and exploring the many opportunities Colorado has to offer. Chantae obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from University of Colorado -Denver and is currently working toward her licensure as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor and Counselor Education and Supervision. 

 

Chantae loves hanging out with her two sons, finding new adventurous locations in Colorado, kayaking, reading, and joking around, enjoying time with friends and family.

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Elissa M.

Programs Director

Elissa was born in upstate New York but recently moved to Denver after falling in love with the area after a weekend visit. Prior to her move, Elissa earned a Masters in Public Health from the University of Rochester. Some of Elissa’s favorite hobbies include hiking, running, rock climbing, mountain biking, and spending time outdoors with her dog, Charlie.

 

Charlie is a Certified Therapy Dog who attends many SOAR events. His favorite activities include playing fetch, chasing bubbles, swimming, and getting belly rubs.

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Lauren S.

Mentor & Education Specialist

Lauren has always enjoyed visiting Colorado and permanently moved here 3 years ago to be closer to family.  She is passionate about social justice issues and pursuing a Masters degree in Criminology from Regis University. Lauren has worked with youth of all ages and is particularly passionate about mentorship, as her college mentor continues to positively impact her life. When she is not working with youth, Lauren enjoys cooking, yoga, basketball, and playing with her dog, Bella.

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Terrence D.

Mentor & Education Specialist

Terrence was born in Nuremberg Germany and moved to Denver after multiple visits to friends in the area. Prior to the move, Terrence earned his Juris Doctor from Salmon P. Chase Law School. Terrence is currently aspiring to take the bar and become a lawyer. Some of Terrence's favorite hobbies are wrestling, hiking, and being active outdoors.

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Maricarmen R.

Mentor & Education Specialist
(Bilingual English & Spanish)

Maricarmen was born in Durango, Mexico but moved to Denver at only 4 years old! Maricarmen earned a Bachelors of Science in Human Services and Counseling with a High Risk Youth Studies Concentration from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Some of Maricarmen's favorite hobbies include traveling, baking, painting, hiking, and spending time trying new things!
 

Brenda N.

Mentor & Education Specialist
(Bilingual English & Spanish)

I was born in Los Angeles, California and was raised in Denver, Colorado. I am a first generation Mexican-American Chicana who earned her BA in Political Science along with a minor in Chicano/a studies from the Metropolitan State University of Denver. While at MSU Denver, I worked as a youth mentor with the Journey Through Our Heritage program. I have also worked with the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights as the 2021 Policy Fellow. In my off time, I enjoy cooking, being with friends/family, and roller skating at local skate parks. I hope to give my services back to the community who has shaped me into the young woman I am today. 

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Stacey I.

Mentor & Education Specialist

Stacey grew up in Montana but has called Colorado home since she's lived here for the past 18 years. She has always had a passion for working with youth and serving others in need. This led her to Indiana University where she received her Bachelor's degree in Elementary and Special Education. When Stacey is not working with youth, she is busy coaching girls basketball, traveling, enjoying the outdoors, and being a "Foodie." 

Sarah N.

Nonprofit Leadership Intern

In her final semester of her undergraduate degree, Sarah has joined the SOAR leadership team for the holiday season! Raised in Colorado, Sarah has always had a passion for people. She believes that you can learn something from each person you meet. This has inspired her to pursue a degree in Psychology with a concentration in Clinical Counseling and a minor in Biology from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She spends her free time with her friends, playing volleyball, and exploring our beautiful city.

Cate H.

Intake Specialist

Cate was born and raised in Fredericksburg, Virginia but has spent the past two summers living in Denver, specifically working with youth and empowering them to be engaged members of the community. As a rising Junior, Cate is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Sociology with a minor in Global Health and Health Policy from Harvard College. Some of Cate’s hobbies include spending time outdoors and hanging out with friends and family.

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Cara S.

Administrative Assistant &
Mentor & Education Specialist

Cara is a Colorado transplant, raised in Texas and born in Thailand. Cara graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors in Anthropology from Colorado State University and has a strong interest in ending the patterns of human trafficking. Cara has a passion for working with at-risk youth and has diverse experiences of serving children of all ages.

 

Cara's hobbies include volunteering with her local youth group and engaging in cooking, music, crafts, and horseback riding. Cara has also traveled to 15 countries and more than half of the United States, and thus, enjoys experiencing new cultures and learning about other people.

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Caitlyn K.

Administrative Support

Caitlyn was born and raised in Colorado. She is a coffee connoisseur and enjoys dancing and being outdoors on most days. Her passion for dance and people started when she was young and grew into a dream to combine social work with dance to help youth propel forward in life. She has lived out this dream with her BSW and is working towards getting her MSW so she can better serve youth and help social service agencies be sustainable.  ​​

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Markell S.

Mentor & Education Specialist

Markell comes from the sunny state of California! He has procured Bachelor of Fine Arts for Stage and Screen Acting. When he’s not acting, he spends a lot of his time indoor rock climbing, singing, or exploring the wonderful state of Colorado. Through this position he hopes to inspire the youths he encounters, as he also aspires to be the best he can be! 

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Jeremy Smith

SOAR Mentor & Education Specialist

Caitlyn was born and raised in Colorado. She is a coffee connoisseur and enjoys dancing and being outdoors on most days. Her passion for dance and people started when she was young and grew into a dream to combine social work with dance to help youth propel forward in life. She has lived out this dream with her BSW and is working towards getting her MSW so she can better serve youth and help social service agencies be sustainable.  ​​

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Markell Smith

SOAR Mentor & Education Specialist / HEAT Program

Markell comes from the sunny state of California! He has procured Bachelor of Fine Arts for Stage and Screen Acting. When he’s not acting, he spends a lot of his time indoor rock climbing, singing, or exploring the wonderful state of Colorado. Through this position he hopes to inspire the youths he encounters, as he also aspires to be the best he can be! 

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Jeremy S.

Mentor & Education Specialist

Jeremy was born and raised in Colorado, where after all these years he still isn't tired of the mountains and trees and beautiful cities. In May 2020, finishing at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jeremy graduated with a Master's in English from the University of Northern Colorado, where he taught English Composition for two years in addition to tutoring and heading a student-run film-screening organization. In 2017, also at the University of Northern Colorado, Jeremy graduated from the honors program with a Bachelor's in English, double minoring in film studies and music. When he's not reading or writing, Jeremy can be found playing the bass guitar in a variety of small, local bands around Denver, from indie rock to jazz bands to progressive metal.

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Izzy P.

Mentor & Education Specialist

Izzy was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Human Services from the Metropolitan State University of Denver and is currently pursuing a Master's in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Denver. Izzy is passionate about working with Nonprofit organizations and helping her community grow. Izzy’s hobbies include spending time with her dog Bruno, working on her art skills, and working with her sorority. 

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DJ

Mentor & Education Specialist

My name is DJ. I am a mentor at SOAR. I have a background in education and case management. I obtained my Bachelor's in Elementary Education with an Endorsement in Culturally, Linguistically, Diverse Education from MSU Denver and have recently completed my Master's in Social Justice and Community Organizing from Prescott College. My passions include social justice, education/learning, and animals. My favorite thing to do is learn random facts about various topics. When I am not at work I am spending time treating my three dogs to an incredibly boujee lifestyle. 

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Courtney L.

Mentor & Education Specialist

Courtney was born in Reno, Nevada but relocated to Denver, Colorado when pursuing her Master's of Arts. She is now a Master of Criminology and has dedicated her educational and professional career to helping transform the criminal justice approach towards youth with violent and aggressive tendencies. She is a passionate advocate for criminal justice reform, specifically within the prevention and intervention services, and within treatment approaches inside secure facilities. 

 

Courtney's hobbies include strength-training, trying new restaurants and exploring new cities, following the Dodgers MLB Team and attending Rockies games, and spending time with her daughter and German Shepherd.