Lucrecia Medrano (she/her/ella)
Community Transformation Coordinator
Lucrecia is a proud Mexican woman who was born and raised in Fort Collins, Colorado. She is a wife and a mother to three children. She comes from a big family with five siblings who she has a close relationship with and finds love and support from. She has lived experience with life-interrupting substance abuse, trauma, local judicial systems, problem-solving court programs, and more. Growing up in Larimer County and going through the Poudre School District system and court system, she experienced first hand the lack of culturally responsive spaces for people of color. Lucrecia’s work with Yarrow Collective as a Community Transformation Coordinator is to help create, support, and advocate for spaces for people of color to feel a sense of belonging. Her recovery ranges from a variety of models, including ancestral practices, energy healing, and consciousness-expanding modalities through plant medicine. She co-founded and co-facilitates Unity in Community, a non-clinical peer support group for people of color. She is also one of the Xinachtli facilitators in Yarrow.
She’s made it her mission to internally heal herself and connect with her roots from her dads side from Jalisco, Mexico and her mothers side which has roots in The Pascua Yaqui tribe in Arizona, 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) who have lost touch with their roots. Lucrecia loves being with her children, husband and family. You can find her outdoors in nature or hiking, being adventurous, traveling to new places, listening to music, and creating new relationships.
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.
Alison Dawson (she/they)
Co-founder and Leadership Team Member
Alison is 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.
Melissa Lozano (she/her)
Melissa is a long time Fort Collins resident. Having attended elementary through high school in Poudre School District she feels rooted in and committed to supporting her hometown. She is the Mother of 4 children ranging in age 7-17. Some of her most valuable education has come through her lived experiences. She is passionate about creating opportunities for underrepresented identities to come together to practice embodied, compassionate, integration while in community. As a multiracial woman, Melissa continues to grapple with identity concepts. As she practices welcoming the many parts of her to coexist she feels alignment and peace. Sitting in circle with Melissa feels soft and centered. She blends her 7 years of experience sitting in and facilitating community peer to peer support circles, Art of Groups facilitator training and Xinachtli facilitator training. She is on the journey to remember and practice her lineages medicine. Currently Melissa is supporting and facilitating ECHO, youth alternatives to suicide circle. She co-founded and co-facilitates Unity in Community, a space for BIPOC and multiracial community members to gather and offer non-clinical peer support. She offers her time weekly as a community member to Poudre Global Academy’s high school mindfulness circle. Melissa loves to collect books, plants and rocks. Melissa enjoys coffee, a great playlist and deep conversations.
Community Youth Advocate
Sam Davis (they/them)
Sam Found their way to Colorado after living, studying, and working in the state of Delaware. Their background is in psychology and research, with a passion for art, science, and the humanities. Influenced by works of Carl Jung, Alan Watts, Buckminster Fuller, and other greats, they endeavor to bring empathy and understanding into daily life through individual and collective narratives tied into advocacy.
When Sam isn't philosophizing or observing trends, they can be found hiking, dancing, playing VR, drawing, and exploring other interests.
"My dedication to wellness and peer outreach comes from years of experience with an irreparably broken health and mental health care system."
Grant Writer & Researcher
Arlo Santiago Cruz (pictured in a white tshirt surrounded by people they love) is a loud, fat, queer latino who grew up in Phoenix, Arizona doing drugs, navigating unhelp and carceral mental health systems, all while trying their best to take care of their friends and loved ones. As a fierce and outspoken advocate for people who use drugs, Arlo got his start in harm reduction by receiving and providing mutual aid. Arlo now works for the only syringe access program providing supplies to folks living in Northern Colorado, but keeps to his roots by participating in community organizing and distribution of food and survival gear. Their goal is to continuously uplift the voices of those who have/are using highly stigmatized substances and redefine what "care" looks like for people of color, those who are queer, use drugs, participate in sex work, or are unhoused. Arlo has spoken on local and national panels regarding gender-affirming care, best practices for trans/gender non-conforming folks accessing syringes service programs, and the importance of implementing and expanding harm reduction-based services in underserved communities. Along with working at Yarrow Collective and the local needle exchange, Arlo is also a founding member of Colorado's first Drug User Union and an operator for the Never Use Alone hotline.
Arlo Santiago Cruz (they/he)
Harm Reduction Peer Coordinator
Kyle Rogers (he/him)
Kyle is a Certified Peer Recovery Support specialist and an advocate for social justice in the criminal justice system. Kyle has personal lived experience in the prison industrial complex and life-interrupting substance use. He is a confident team player, strong leader and is over 4 years removed from addiction. Kyle has over a year of experience working with persons experiencing Substance Use Disorder as well as working with those experiencing the challenges of re-entering society from prison. As a new member of the Yarrow Collective, working with the Re-Entry population, Kyle aims to assist those facing the unique challenge of Re-Entering society by providing resources as well as a listening ear and shoulder to lean on. Kyle is motivated be his freedom from the system both physically and mentally and hopes to help other’s experience this same type of freedom.
In his free time he enjoys lifting weights, playing basketball, hanging with friends and most of all Fighting the power.
Peer Support Group Facilitators
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.
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.
TJ (he/they) is a passionate 18-year-old nonbinary individual who strives to help their communities. He has worked with the local LGBTQ+ youth in Fort Collins as well as supporting teen mental health. They are neurodivergent and have faced suicidality throughout much of their life. TJ finds creativity as a helpful outlet in which to cope with their struggles, such as through poetry and drawing. He believes his purpose is to help others who struggle and to advocate for others' needs as well as their own. They are a facilitator for the teen support group, ECHO.
G Ingaunta (they/them) is a Coloradan by way of New York. New York is where G spent their formative years, traveling across the state and country doing on the ground organizing for abortion rights and against brutality and murder by police. This is also where G received their Bachelors degree and Masters degree in Social Work. G is interested in addiction and recovery; the intersection of state sanctioned violence, white supremacy, gender-based violence; issues within the LGBTQ+ community; and ways to disrupt these intertwined injustices. G uses they/them pronouns, likes to drink tea, and talk with friends out in nature about how to make the world a better place. G is on our Alt2Su adult group online & in-person team.
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.
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.
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.
You will also frequently find Ashleigh, Lucrecia, and Alison 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.