Karen Siefert, President
Karen joined Canyon Cares in 2014 at the request of the Nederland Food Pantry Board of Directors after Canyon Cares extended their area of service to include Nederland. Canyon Cares provided access to emergency aid that was not available from any other local organization, and has been an extremely valuable resource for those in the Peak to Peak community with limited resources.
As a member of the Nederland Food Pantry Board of Directors since 2012, she has been helping distribute food to people in need. She is a member of the Nederland Lions Club and is active in their KidSight Program (which provides free vision screening for children six months through six years) for the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain school districts. She also volunteered for the 9Health Fair in Nederland.
She has been a resident of Nederland since 1983. Karen earned her B.S. in Architecture and Master of Architecture with distinction from the University of Michigan.
Chuck Berginc, Treasurer
Chuck was added to the Canyon Cares Board of Directors in September of 2020. He moved to Coal Creek Canyon in 2020 from Phoenix, AZ, where he was Principal Trumpet for The Phoenix Symphony for 38 years. He and his wife Cindy, former First Violin in the Phoenix Symphony, retired here to enjoy life in the mountains of Colorado. They have two daughters, Jasmine who works and lives in Boulder, and Heather who is a Data Scientist. Chuck enjoys a variety of activities including birding, hiking, biking, meditation, poker, and traveling. He and Cindy have traveled extensively in Central and South America on birding excursions, and love going to Europe for birds and history, with Italy and Spain at the top of the list.
Chuck has served on several non-profit boards and was a chief negotiator and advocate for the Musicians of the Phoenix Symphony. He has had experience as a financial advisor, and is familiar working with large budgets. Chuck and Cindy are presently serving Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue as fosters.
Chuck is very excited to serve Coal Creek Canyon in as many facets as he can find. He feels Canyon Cares is one of the best ways he can help people in CCC and also meet some of the wonderful residents in the area.
Cindy Goodrich, Secretary
Cindy joined the Canyon Cares Board of Directors in 2017. She has a B.A. from University of the Pacific in Behavioral Psychology. She, her husband, and two adult sons moved to the Canyon from Dallas in 2014 so that her husband Gavan could assume the role of Principal at Ralston Valley High School.
Having grown up in the small town of Half Moon Bay, California, she has enjoyed every aspect of living in the beautiful, tight-knit, and giving community of Coal Creek Canyon.
Cindy has held a myriad of jobs over the years, from non-profit blood banking to the operations manager for a gourmet grocery store. She also volunteers with Saws and Slaws, performing fire mitigation work, and has hosted two events for them so far.
She is looking forward to many years of service to Canyon residents through Canyon Cares.
Dawn Williams, Board Member
Originally from Kansas, Dawn Williams is a self-described organizational nerd. A career project manager, Dawn started working with social outreach programs in her twenties where she helped MANA de Kansas City and the Kansas City Hispanic chamber achieve their communications goals. Today she uses those skills to hone the focus of Canyon Cares. She joined the board in 2013, and served as Board President from 2016 to 2018. To her, the most rewarding part of Canyon Cares is being able to help local families bridge the gaps that sometimes arise with mountain living.
Her family, including her husband, two kids and a dog, moved to the canyon in 2001 enjoying the views from 9,000 feet. Dawn actively serves another county board and leads the bells choir at a metropolitan church.
Debra Benitez, Board Member
Debbie has lived at the top of Coal Creek Canyon (Gilpin County) for 35 years. She is a retired educator who worked as a middle and high school science teacher and elementary principal for both Gilpin County School District and Nederland Elementary School. She is currently the Children’s Librarian at the Gilpin County Public Library.
Debbie holds a dual Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology and Anatomy from Colorado State University. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and a Teaching and Principal’s license with the Colorado Department of Education. Originally from New York, Debbie moved to Fort Collins in 1977 and began her education career in Gilpin County in 1983. She raised her 2 children, Courtney and Christopher in the canyon. Both graduated from Nederland High School.
Debbie enjoys reading, music and scrapbooking. She is excited to work with the Canyon Cares board in helping our community.
Cindy Cabrales, Board Member
Cindy is a 6 year resident of the Canyon and has lived in Colorado with her husband and son for over 20 years. She has a background in higher education, focusing on educational equity for children and adults in the pre-kindergarten to college pipeline.
Cindy has a real passion for education and has two degrees from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her BA is in Political Science, and while working as an advisor at the University, Cindy earned an MA in 2012 in Educational Foundations, Policy & Practice.
Originally from New Mexico, Cindy’s family has deep roots in the state, dating back over 500 years. Her family is a recipient of the Chavez land grant (in paper only). Cindy enjoys learning about history and genealogy. She speaks Spanish and is currently learning French and loves to travel and experience local cuisines.
A new member of the board, Cindy is eager to contribute her time to Canyon Cares.
Susan “Simone,” Simone, Board Member
Susan “Simone” (I go by “Simone”), has lived with her husband Kris Jonsson, in Coal Creek Canyon since 1986. She and Kris raised their two children, Seneca and Ulli, here, where they graduated from Coal Creek Elementary. Simone and Kris have also attended Whispering Pines Church since 1988. Simone has worked as an out-patient orthopedic physical therapist at Boulder Community Hospital for the past 33 years.
Since moving to the Canyon from Northern Virginia, Simone has participated in many Canyon events including after school activities, coaching a local Little League baseball team, director of Vacation Bible School and, more recently, Pastor’s Pantry at Whispering Pines Church. Joining the Canyon Cares team seemed like a natural progression for her. Evidently, she loves being involved in her community. When she can get out, Simone enjoys mountain biking and moving on snow, down rivers and up mountains in many forms.
Nancy von Schulz, Board Member
Nancy von Schulz joined the Canyon Cares Board of Directors in 2014. She has been fully involved in the Coal Creek Canyon community since 1985, when she moved here with her husband. Nancy and Bill raised their two now-adult sons here in the canyon, and she commuted for much of that time to her employment locations outside of the canyon. She has gained much compassion for and understanding of the unique circumstances that arise from being a canyonite.
Nancy retired from the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation after serving adults with disabilities for over 25 years as a vocational rehabilitation counselor.
After retirement she volunteered at Alternative Pregnancy Center as a client counselor. Other volunteer activities include having assisted teachers at Coal Creek K-8, and since 2010 she has been in a leadership role with the Lakewood chapter of Bible Study Fellowship, currently serving in the children’s department. Nancy is a member of Chapel in the Hills and serves on the deacon board coordinating the benevolence committee activities for church members.
This quote expresses Nancy’s heart with regard to those in need: ‘Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!’ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, ESV
Nancy’s objectives for Canyon Cares include that it be used as a vessel for raising awareness of the needs of those in our community, and for learning about opportunities to serve, participate, and fulfill the needs of our community neighbors, drawing us closer together and making us a stronger community.
Nancy earned an M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Utah State University and a B.A. in Social Work from Michigan State University.
John Jantsch, Board Member
John joined the board of Canyon Cares in 2021 after he and his wife moved to the canyon permanently. They have lived here part-time since 2018 and fell in love with the community while learning to become mountain folk.
He grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and lived there until moving to Colorado. He and his wife attended and met at the University of Kansas.
They raised four daughters and now get to chase a growing gang of grandkids around from time to time.
John is currently a marketing consultant, speaker, and author of several books on marketing and entrepreneurship. He runs a marketing consulting firm that he founded in 1994.
Look around and you’ll probably find him outdoors enjoying this beautiful part of the world hiking, biking, rafting and fishing.
Emeritus Board Members
Lorraine Revelle, Founder and Board Member Emeritus
Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.
Lorraine created Canyon Cares to serve our community by providing short-term financial and support assistance to individuals experiencing financial crisis. Since we began in 2006, we have provided assistance to residents within our target area, which includes Coal Creek Canyon, Nederland, and unincorporated Gilpin County.
Lorraine has a Bachelor of Arts degree with emphasis in advertising, marketing, and public relations. She is a local real estate agent, who has won numerous sales awards including the prestigious “Culture Icon” award in real estate.
Lorraine is past President of the Coal Creek Canyon Improvement Association and past President of the local Chamber of Commerce, both nonprofit organizations. As a member of Canyon Cares, she utilizes her skills in the advertising and marketing fields.
Lorraine and husband John, have four children, 2 nieces, 5 grandchildren, and two cairn terriers.
Dennis Akin, Board Member Emeritus
Dennis Akin was one of the original Board members of Canyon Cares. He was born and raised in Denver and graduated from East High School. Dennis received a degree in education and sociology with a minor in fine arts from the University of Northern Colorado. This led him to Glenrock, Wyoming, where he taught middle school and high school social studies and art. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned to Colorado and took courses toward a master’s degree in sociology. Dennis then started a 30-year career with the State of Colorado working with welfare reform, workers’ compensation, Social Security, and Veterans’ Employment Services. He also worked as a vocational counselor for the State of Colorado for the last 15 years of his career. Dennis has always been a major advocate of the environment and was president of The Environmental Group (TEG) for two years.
Dennis and his wife Rhonda lived in the Canyon for 15 years where they raised their family. As his family grew, Dennis was also involved with cub scouts and boy scouts along with Coal Creek Canyon K-8 Elementary School, where he served on the accountability committee. After retiring to Golden, Dennis continued to be involved with Canyon Cares, volunteering for Fourth of July festivities and distribution of holiday food baskets.
Dennis passionately enjoyed being a member of Canyon Cares for 10 years and believes the motto “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” is especially important in today’s world.
Michelle Marciniak, Board Member Emeritus
Michelle Marciniak has been on the board from 2007 to 2018, beginning just a year after the organization’s inception. She prepared the IRS nonprofit application in 2008, which enabled Canyon Cares to be a qualified public 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
She earned her B.A. in Criminology at the University of California Berkeley. After becoming a Certified Public Accountant in 1989, Michelle has worked in both private and public accounting, including for Price Waterhouse as an auditor. She started her own tax preparation business in 1991 and has clients from all over the United States, as well as a few living abroad.
After moving to Coal Creek Canyon in July 2002 and becoming aware of Canyon Cares in 2007, Michelle was invited to join the board by the previous board president, Brian Young. In addition to serving as treasurer, she was actively involved in preparing the annual Christmas baskets for residents in Coal Creek Canyon, Nederland, and surrounding areas, assisted in preparing aid applications to obtain help for residents, and staffed the Canyon Cares booth at various Canyon functions.
Michelle hopes to see Canyon Cares continue to grow in its service to the Coal Creek Canyon and Nederland communities.
Dave Schemel, Board Member Emeritus
Dave is from Denver, Colorado and attended East High School. He earned his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado Boulder. Dave and his wife Suzy have been residents of Crescent Park in Coal Creek Canyon since 1977.
He worked as a youth counselor and juvenile parole officer for the State of Colorado for 25 years. He is a past president of the Colorado Juvenile Council and former member of the Colorado Forum on Restorative Justice.
Dave has been a freelance professional photographer since 1997. He specializes in landscapes, nature, and astrophotography of the moon. He has two photos in the digital gallery at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Dave also does photography for special events along with family and portrait photography. He is a member of the Sky Watchers group here in the canyon and is a past member of the Mountain Artisans Guild. He plays golf and enjoys music, science, motor sports, and football.
Dave was a Canyon Cares board member beginning with its inception in 2006. He firmly supports the neighbors helping neighbors theme of the organization.
Jessica Ludwig, Grant Coordinator
Jessica joined Canyon Cares in 2020 as their grants coordinator, bringing both a professional certificate in grant writing and a driving passion to help others live with dignity. She recently relocated back to the Denver area after living in California, Qatar, Chicago and Sweden, and is thrilled to be near the mountains once more!
Jessica earned an M.S. in international museum studies from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and a B.A. in anthropology from San Diego State University. She has worked in museums both here in the U.S. and overseas focusing on developing learning programs for children and families that celebrated curiosity, critical thinking and a love of nature.
Jessica loves to be outdoors with her mom and sister, walking and hiking or just sitting enjoying the sun. She is looking forward to exploring the music festivals and breweries in the beautiful months ahead. Jessica also has a chatty cat named Audrey, whom she rescued from the streets of Qatar and has kept with her during every life adventure.
Jessica is excited to put her grant writing passion to use for Canyon Cares, and increase their reach across the canyon communities. She believes that we all deserve to live safely and with dignity, and strives to protect these basic human rights.