NAMI COLORADO STAFF

Cheri Bishop - Director of Programs

   

Cheri discovered NAMI Colorado in 1999 when her 21-yr. old son became ill with schizophrenia. She felt NAMI saved her son’s life and wanted to give back by helping other families living with mental illness. In 1999, she took the Family-to-Family teacher training, the first one ever offered in Colorado. Seventeen years later she is still teaching Family-to-Family and is now a state trainer for the program. She also facilitates a NAMI family support group twice a month. In 2004 she was hired by NAMI Colorado for the position of Family-to-Family and Colorado Visions Coordinator, and was soon managing 9 NAMI Signature programs and 2 NAMI CO programs. Cheri has 2 sons, 43 yrs. and 37 yrs., and a 20-yr. old granddaughter diagnosed with mental illness. Her passion lies in assisting and supporting families and individuals living with mental illness and providing them with the knowledge that there is hope for recovery. Contact Cheri at cheri@namicolorado.org.


David Garrity - Volunteer Engagement Coordinator/Connections Trainer

 

David is the new Volunteer Engagement Coordinator at the NAMI Denver affiliate. He has also been active answering the Helpline and the NAMI Law Line which was re-introduced to Colorado back in July 2017. David is an active In Our Own Voice presenter, Connections Facilitator and State Trainer for NAMI Connections. He also helped to spearhead the NAMIWalks campaign in 2018 in addition to playing drums with his band during the event. He is an ordained minister and holistic energy practitioner in addition to being an artist and musician. David was diagnosed 5 years ago with Complex PTSD, dissociation disorder and severe depression. In addition, he had a 9 lb. thymoma tumor removed from his chest 4 years ago. Since that time, he has battled back and joined NAMI as a part-time employee in February 2017. He is passionate about helping people get well and live a life of their choosing instead of being hopelessly saddled with trauma and mental illness. He loves writing stories, poems and screenplays as well as playing music in 2 bands. Contact David adavid@namicolorado.org.


Athena Kabylafkas- Office and Accounting Assistant


Athena has over 20 years of work and volunteer experience in the non-profit, public and private sectors. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from North Carolina State University with a concentration in Finance. Athena decided after battling with Bipolar Disorder and PTSD in her own life, she wanted to give back. She became a volunteer with NAMI Colorado in 2017. She then became part of the staff, and a NAMI Connections facilitator in 2018. She is currently working on authoring a book about manifesting a new life after a crisis. Her commitment is to empower others to successfully achieve their individual ambitions and aspirations. She is especially dedicated to encouraging individuals with mental health challenges, their road to recovery and their families. She is originally from Chicago, Illinois and now lives with her family in Denver, Colorado. Athena’s passions are writing, the arts, photography, animals and spending time in nature enjoying the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Contact Athena at athena@namicolorado.org.

Brenda Magsamen- Development/Special Projects Coordinator


Brenda Magsamen is the Development/Special Projects coordinator at NAMI Colorado. She has been involved with fundraising, grant research and reaching out to the community educating about mental health and stigmas as an In Our Own Voice presenter. Before this role, Brenda worked on multiple successful startups for MRI, CAT scan and diagnostic radiology. In Brenda’s spare time she enjoys volunteering for many causes, listening to multiple styles of music, travel and visiting her three incredible children. Contact Brenda at brenda@namicolorado.org.


Sheila Benintendi- In Our Own Voice Coordinator


Sheila Benintendi is the current In Our Own Voice Program Coordinator at NAMI Colorado; and has had intimate involvement with the organization since 2012.  She is a Colorado Native and immensely enjoys walking and the pursuing the art of meditation.  Her scholastic background covers a broad range of topics ranging from a BS in History/Music Performance, and Masters Level Training in Agency Counseling from University of Northern Colorado.  Workwise she has experience and training as a Peer Support Specialist, Wellness Recovery Action Plan Teacher (WRAP), is a Non-Attorney Advocate for the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition and as the current In Our Own Voice Program Coordinator she speaks, mentors, teaches at the state level ...shuffles papers ...and relishes the opportunity to be a part of the ever changing and upward-growing entity and powerhouse called NAMI.  Sheila states that her greatest hope is that, "together we unite to walk shameless, arms in arm toward a future devoid of stigma and judgement and overflowing with acceptance, healing and peace in both mind and spirit. Together, we're already there!" Contact Sheila at sheila@namicolorado.org.