Peer Leadership Team
Lucrecia Medrano (she/her/ella)
Community Transformation Coordinator
Lucrecia is a proud BIPOC woman who’s diligently working to overcome childhood trauma, life-interrupting substance misuse and other experiences that have caused suffering. Lucrecia focuses on taking an alternative healing approach to the conventional, clinical model and has found results through several alternative models. Through ancestral practices, energy healing, and other forms of consciousness-expanding she’s been able to confront her inner child traumas, and learn to sustain a conducive state of being emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy. Transcendence of her hindering traumas and life obstacles has been one of her greater accomplishments. She’s made it her mission to internally heal herself in hopes of spreading awareness, education and hope to other BIPOC community members (Black, Indigenous, People of Color, inclusive of Hispanic/Latinx & biracial or multiracial).
Silen Wellington (they/he)
Co-founder and Peer Support Coordinator
Silen is a sculptor of sound, artist of people, gender liminal shapeshifter, mercurial name collector, restless poet, and storyteller, among other things. They found their way to wholeness and self-love through mostly "alternative" means, namely: guided rites of passage journeys, performance art, unhinged-unfettered-unapologetic dance, and connections with fiercely humble Elders & mentors who shared some of Silen's marginalized identities.
Silen is a white settler living on Cheyenne, Arapaho & Ute lands seeking to unsettle himself & constantly develop greater awareness and humility, listening to be in the right relationship with the land & advocating for racial justice. A lover of thresholds, Silen is transgender, polyamorous, & queer experiencing varying degrees of (quasi-spiritual) madness sometimes self-labeled as neurodivergent and is otherwise abled. Silen serves as a Peer Support Advocate for the Yarrow Collective & is on the facilitation team for both ECHO youth groups and adult Alternatives to Suicide groups.
Geena Rupp (she/her)
Co-founder and Organizational Support Coordinator
Geena is a local wife and mother with lived experience of life-interrupting substance abuse, trauma, psychiatric diagnosis, local judicial systems, problem-solving court programs, and more. She unceasingly works on living a balanced life by embracing several models/programs of recovery and alternative approaches that heal the body, mind and spirit. Geena continues to rise up from what felt like a “seemingly hopeless state” by learning to embrace the universe’s curveballs with the people that she loves. She has become aware that everyone recovers differently and there is no “one-size-fits-all” model when it comes to healing. Rather than focusing on what only works for her, she strives to find alternatives so that anyone can find a path of healing and that their journey is of minimal resistance.
Geena was invited to join the guiding council for this expansion project and currently serves as Yarrow Collective’s Organizational Advocate whose main duties are to help smooth the organizational side of this emerging and always changing collective.
Ashleigh Jones (she/her)
Co-founder and Peer Support Coordinator
Ashleigh has lived in Fort Collins for the past 10 years. She is the mother of 2 wonderful children that are the joy of her life. Ashleigh has lived experience with life interrupting substance use, childhood trauma, eating disorders, self-harm and is a suicide attempt survivor. She also has lived experience with both the foster care system and the criminal justice system. Ashleigh has been a peer support worker for over 2 years. She is now one of 2 peer program managers at Summitstone Health Partners. During her time as a peer worker, she has found her voice as an advocate and an activist. Ashleigh is passionate about peer support in its truest form: the beautiful connection between folks who are struggling and those who have had similar lived experiences.
Peer Support Group Facilitators
Melissa Lozano (she/her) is a long time Fort Collins resident. Some of her most valuable education has come through her lived experiences. She is the Mother of four children ranging in age from 7-17. She is passionate about creating and facilitating spaces where people can come together and remember their gifts so they might share them with the world. Curating space and time where individuals may dream and imagine a world free of oppression is one of her social activism contributions. As a multiracial woman, Melissa has grappled with identity concepts throughout her life. As she invites the many pieces of her to coexist together she finds power and peace. Melissa is on the ECHO and Unity in Community BIPOC groups facilitator teams.
Sam Bruick (she/they) is a White, queer person who has experienced psychiatric labels, life interrupting trauma, and coercive treatment spaces. Their path to well-being has been rooted deeply in spiritual and community healing and organizing practices. She is passionate about holding space for individuals to create their own meaning and understanding of suffering and committed to the importance of autonomy, options, and choice in mental health treatment spaces. As an Alt2Su facilitator, they aim to create a space where all people can show up as their full selves and be supported in community without judgment. Sam is on our ECHO teen and Alt2Su adult group teams.
Alison Dawson (she/her), one of Yarrow's co-founders, is a neurodivergent, disabled queer person who has experienced extreme states and emotional distress since childhood. Since a traumatic psychiatric incarceration in 1987, one of her lifelong goals has been fighting for a more accessible humane world for folks with extreme states, mental health struggles, disabilities, neurodivergence, and other marginalized identities. She has worked for over 2 decades as an individual advocate and a systemic activist for folks who our system has left behind such as those who are: disabled, neurodivergent, unhoused, low-income, LGBTQ+, and more. Additionally, as her physical disabilities have worsened throughout the years, she has become a fierce advocate for changes in the way our medical system treats folks with chronic pain/illness, particularly those with marginalized identities. She is a parent of two adult daughters, rescues dogs, reads a lot of books, and loves to be outside. Being involved on the ground floor of the Yarrow Collective has fulfilled her lifelong dream of creating a robust peer-led alternative to our traditional mental health system.
Karen Wong-Brown (she/her) is a first-generation Chinese American born in Hong Kong and came to the States at the age of six. She has resided all over the United States but has lived in Colorado for three decades. She has been an active community member in serving on various boards either as a leader or volunteer. Her passion lies within diversity and inclusion initiatives. Her educational attainment comes from Colorado State University and Regis University. She also worked in many different fields but her recent one is in human resources. Currently, she is the founder of Unified Workforce which helps underrepresented communities find employment through training and education and also having a peer mentor while the individuals map their own road to success. Karen is on the Unity in Community BIPOC groups facilitator team.
Jenny Hill (she/her) is a survivor of abuse including institutional abuse. She began hearing voices at the age of eight and lives as a plural person. Involuntary detentions and treatments led to the experiences of self-injury, restrictive eating, suicide, substance use, overdose, and court systems involvement. She found healing by questioning the authority of psychiatry and its outcomes defined by a myriad of psychiatric labels. By completing her education and pursuing employment she reclaimed her identify after a long-term civil commitment that led to the experience of houselessness. Through activism, art, reading books, action planning, journaling, caring for and adopting companion animals, and community gardening, she continues her healing journey. Receiving and giving peer support through community-based groups in 2004, she found a place of belonging and connection. She believes that inclusion, equity, choice, consent and authentic human connections offer opportunities for healing by countering the biomedical illness narrative of emotional distress. Jenny is on our Alt2Su adult in-person and online facilitator teams.
Bethy Shaw (she/her) grew up in Colorado and has worked at The Matthews House in Fort Collins for the past four years. Bethy loves the outdoors, spending time with her six pets at home and consuming as much true crime material as possible (especially podcasts). Bethy has professional experience working with young adults who have experienced trauma from a wide range of backgrounds, including foster care and juvenile justice involvement, LGBTQIA+ youth, and refugees and asylum seekers. She also has facilitated multiple youth groups, including experiential education, after-school programming, comprehensive sex education and back country wildnerness excursions. She also has lived experience with mental health diagnoses, suicidality and disordered eating. Bethy is passionate about creating a more equitable community and expanding access to resources and supports for at-risk populations. Bethy is on our ECHO teen support group facilitator team.
Mischa (she/her): I grew up in Fort Collins, and with that comes the typical stereotype of a Coloradan (A Nalgene carrier, Patagonia wearer, camper). From a young age, I felt like I was trying to outrun suicide and have lived experience with self-injury and substance abuse. In the midst of the darkness, I found my voice through writing and was able to express the deep pain I felt inside. I am still a work in progress and a lot of my healing came through community. Due to this, I have a passion to bring people together in spaces where peoples stories can be told and held. My spirituality is important to me as well, though I am still trying to reconcile my faith with my sexuality due to growing up in the church where being gay was a sin and I had to hide who I was for a long time. It's my goal to break down the oppressive systems and deconstruct the harmful societal norms put on many people. I am on the ECHO teen and Alt2Su adult support group teams.
TJ (he/they) is a passionate 17-year-old whose purpose is to help others. They have lived experience with many mental health struggles and are also experienced with LGBTQ+ identities. He enjoys creative writing, theatre, and art. TJ is on our ECHO teen group facilitator team.
Carly Larson (they/them): I am the Support Line Program Manager at Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners I started there over 3 years ago as a peer specialist. After a little time on the lines, I moved into the role of Substance Use Coordinator, and am now the Program Manager of the Support Line where I am lucky to get to do all things peer support. I identify as neurodivergent and a non-abstinent person in recovery. I have largely stayed away from accessing traditional mental health supports and have really found the greatest empowerment in peer support. Being able to connect with others with similar experiences has been a huge catalyst for me navigating my experiences in a way that works for me. In my free time I love eating lots of food and partaking in plenty of no-shame guilty pleasures (like terrible horror movies and thriller books). I have a wonderful chosen family I get to play DnD with, a gecko named Cletus Jr., and two cats who are lovingly obnoxious (Bookwoski my grumpy old man, and Ambrose the wily teenager). I am on the Alt2Su online group facilitator team.
Zalena Furguson (she/her) is a queer, "highly sensitive", and self-identified person of neurodivergence and has experienced chronic thoughts and experiences with suicide since childhood. Since experiencing hospitalization due to suicidality in 2016, Zalena has been passionate about creating pathways for humans to express thoughts of suicide without fear of repercussion or punishment. In her daily life, Zalena navigates challenges that come from experiences commonly labeled as obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, depression and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder; however, Zalena is not formally diagnosed and is not interested in seeking a diagnosis. Zalena believes strongly in the abolition of racist, misogynistic, ableist and homophobic systems and believes that thoughts of suicide are the result of recurring systemic oppression and not always linked to “mental illness” or abnormality. Zalena has been a part of peer-based mental health services since 2018 and is passionate about creating access to peer-run, holistic mental health care alternatives. She is on the online Alt2Su facilitator team.
You will also frequently find Ashleigh, Lucrecia, Silen, and Alison, from our Leadership Team facilitating support groups.
Shannon Hughes, PhD (she/her)
Academic Partner and Co-founder
Shannon is an Associate Professor at CSU in the School of Social Work and runs the Alternatives for Mental Health and Healing Lab. Her lab emphasizes holistic, person-centered, and peer-based alternatives founded in the synthesis of research evidence, innovative thinking, and community partnership. Helping to form the Yarrow Collective has been an exciting project with great potential to develop new non-clinical, non-coercive alternatives in Larimer County and Colorado. Shannon has been passionate about alternatives to medicalized systems of care for more than a decade, and is actively involved in supporting peer support movements in Colorado with a particular interest in the development of peer respite and other psychosocial alternatives to hospitalization for persons experiencing crisis or extreme states. In her free time, Shannon likes to read, be in nature, travel, get manis and pedis, and hang out with friends.
Kimberly Pratt, MA, LPC (she/her)
Kimberly has been a Program Director for the Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Larimer County since 2020 and has been working in suicide prevention and crisis response since 2013. She has trained over 50,000 adults and adolescents in suicide prevention. Kim spearheaded suicide crisis response programming for Weld County and has led the crisis response for over 30 student suicides across 17 school districts. Prior to her work in suicide prevention, she was a high school teacher in California. Kim received her Bachelors in Education from Brigham Young University, Hawaii in 2007 and Master of Art in Counseling from Chapman University in 2013. She is a part of the Child Fatality Review Board and a certified Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer and Question, Persuade, Review Master trainer. When she is not working she spends her time with her family backpacking in the great outdoors.