Alex Benko
Alex Benko
Director, Community Liaison &
Board Co-Chair

Board member since: 2013

Area of Expertise: Building relationships

Alex’s Gift story: I still vividly remember the day I received my brown bear who still resides in our home.  Growing up as a twin meant not everything we received arrived in pairs.  However, my bear was mine and only mine.  My bear meant comfort and understanding and he was always nearby.  He never passed judgment.  I loved Christmastime, and still do.  I loved to find new ways to get people to smile and laugh. Which, of course, is not easy for many individuals who are challenged by difficult personal circumstances.

Christmastime is my favorite holiday and my most treasured gift was a brown bear that literally traveled with me everywhere.

My goal has always been to help others which would lead to helping myself. I volunteer a lot, but Dolls for Daughters is where I focus the majority of time. Having just entered the 5th year of being a board member, I feel it a privilege to be associated with this organization.

Most of my volunteering experience has involved working with abused children, but we also teach public speaking in two prisons in the Denver metro area. Eye-opening at a minimum. The amount I’ve learned in the prisons is incredible. Working with troubled youth just adds to what I’ve learned from people who are struggling.

I graduated from the University of Colorado, in Boulder, with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics.

Sandy Young
Director

Sandy Young began her career with the Denver Broncos Football Club in June, 2002. As a Colorado native and avid Broncos fan, it was a dream come true to work for such a great organization. She began her career in sponsorship service as the liaison between the sales and account activation teams. With hard work, determination, a positive attitude, and a sense of humor too, she took on more responsibility over the years and was previously the Director of Marketing and is currently the Director of Partnership Marketing overseeing the activation of over 150 corporate partnerships.

Over her time with the Broncos, Sandy’s gotten to work on several exciting projects and has witnessed firsthand the changing world of sports marketing to now include the ever-changing technological advancements in digital and social media. She worked hand in hand with the Vice President of Information Technology to create the Broncos first mobile app. The highlights of her Broncos career include getting to be a part of the planning for John Elway’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004, the Broncos vs. 49ers game in London in 2010 and Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco in 2016 where the Broncos came home with the Lombardi trophy! In addition, Sandy enjoys the community service day opportunities that the Broncos offer and has spent time volunteering for Habitat for Humanity inside and outside of work. She’s also proud to be a regular donor to Bonfils Blood Center.

Sandy graduated cum laude with a degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa in Journalism and Mass Communication with an emphasis in Advertising and Marketing. During her time at Drake, she participated in Semester at Sea travelling to Cuba, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Vietnam, Hong Kong & Japan via ship. In her free time, she enjoys beautiful Colorado, traveling and spending time with her husband Scott, son, Jeffrey, daughter, Alexandra and dog, Lilly.

Kristin Battenfield
Director

Board member since: 2017

Area of Expertise: Marketing/Advertising

Kristin’s toy story:

My entire childhood, I remember going to my grandparent’s house in Arizona once or twice a year and a colorful jester pull toy would be peeking around a corner waiting for my sister and I to play with it. We would fight over who got to pull it around the house first to make the loud “musical” noise on the hand-made xylophone. This toy was handmade by our mom’s cousin who is like an uncle to us…he is an accomplished artist in California now but some 40+  years ago he made this toy so that there was always something fun to play with that “lived” at our grandparent’s house.   

Fast forward to 2007 when my amazing 98 year old Grandfather was a few months from passing away: I went to Phoenix to visit him and one afternoon, when the great-grandchildren, five other cousins, and too many relatives to count had somehow disappeared from Grandpa’s assisted living apartment he looked at me and said “I want you to have The Toy”.  Yes, he still had it.  There at the assisted living complex, so when kids came to visit, the musical jester sat peeking around a potted plant on the floor.  He said that the jester belonged in my 130 year old house in Denver and he told me to put it in my bag before anyone else noticed.  It was my favorite toy then and it is, by far, one of my prized possessions now.

Kristin’s Professional Background:  

Kristin grew up in Nebraska and graduated with honors from Missouri State University. She moved to Denver in 1997 and has been in media and advertising for twenty years. After selling newspaper, outdoor advertising, TV and digital medias – Kristin opened her own marketing consulting firm in 2016.   KBat Communications specializes in media placement, digital strategies and non-profit consulting. Kristin has been involved in the Denver non-profit community for 12+ years.   She was a big sister at Big Brothers/Big Sisters, she volunteered for Komen Colorado for 3 years and she then served on the Komen Colorado Board of Directors for 5 years – along with 1 year as Board President.  Kristin has been a member of the Dolls for Daughters board since early 2017 and is thrilled to be helping kids in the Colorado community.

Learn more about Kristin on her business website:   www.KbatCommunications.com

Sarah Thornton
Volunteer Coordinator

Board member since: 2016

Area of expertise: Public relations; volunteer management

Sarah’s toy story: My parents divorced when I was very young, so I spent part of the year with my dad and part with my mom. My dad gave me a make-up science kit one summer that I will never forget. I would spend hours in my room trying to perfect the formulas for the perfect nail polish, perfume and make-up. I spilled A LOT. It was one of the best toys I’ve ever had and makes me smile whenever I think of it. I didn’t develop a love for science from my make-up science kit but hope some smart boy or girl will this year!  

Sarah’s Professional Background: Sarah owns a boutique public relations firm and works primarily with real estate, legal and professional service companies in Nevada, Arizona and California. Her favorite things to do are write and connect people to do great things. Sarah began volunteering with Dolls for Daughters at the 2012 Toy Shop, where she and her son Jackson staffed toy tables. She loves that Dolls for Daughters provides such great opportunities for both adults and children to learn the value of community service. Sarah joined the board in May of 2016 and serves as the organization’s volunteer coordinator.

Originally an Army brat, Sarah spent 20 years in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she attended the University of Las Vegas, Nevada and started her professional career. She was a dual citizen of Las Vegas and Denver for six years before returning to Las Vegas full time in the summer of 2017. She also spent five years stationed in Germany as a child and enjoys finding people to converse with who speak the language! Sarah has been married for almost 20 years and has two children. Her whole family adores and admires the work of Dolls for Daughters and its fearless leader Jessica.
Learn more about Sarah on her LinkedIn page.

Della Evans
Director

Board Member since: 2017

Della’s story: When I was in 2nd grade, I entered a Thanksgiving themed coloring contest.  To my surprise, I won!  The grand prize was $100 gift card to Toys-R-Us.  When my mom took me to pick out my toys, I was overwhelmed.  I had never been in Toys-R-Us and each toy seemed so expensive!  My family usually exchanged Christmas presents with the kids that lived at the end of my street.  I decided to use my winnings to buy my neighbor kids their Christmas presents.  It was that year that I no longer asked my parents for gifts but focused on serving others. I felt compelled to live out the saying “give and you will receive” and I still live by those words to this day.

Della’s professional background: After completing my undergraduate degree, I started my career at a small healthcare medical billing company doing anything the CIO needed me to.  I was eager to learn and the CIO was willing to teach me.  After sometime, I pursued an opportunity to work for General Electric in May, 2007.  Since joining GE, I have held various roles across most of the GE Industrial businesses in IT, Compliance, Services and Commercial.  I am a graduate of GE’s executive leadership program, Corporate Audit Staff.  Currently, I am a Business Development Leader supporting the growth of GE’s shared service business, GE Global Operations.  

Della moved to Colorado in 2006 after completing her Master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma.  She was born and raised in Springfield, MO.  Della has been a member of the Dolls for Daughters board since January of 2017.

Learn more about Della on her LinkedIn page

John Reynolds
Director

Board member since: 2015

Area of expertise: Laughing loudly

John’s Volunteer Story: Since he was 10 years old he has been volunteering for one organization or another.  Red Cross was a big part of his volunteer hours at that age.  He started teaching CPR and AED essentials.  Donating time and energy for many different causes was a great way to meet people and give something back.  In high school abroad he took a 5 day trip to Lourdes to volunteer in any capacity and ended up by the train station aiding extremely sick and dying people off the train.  It’s amazing how so many people risk the trip so they may have a chance to experience Lourdes, many people were looking for miracles from the water there. “It was a very eye-opening experience, and I had the best time meeting others who volunteer every year or more…from every country!”

John’s Professional Background: John has worked in many capacities in many businesses, as an account executive at iHeartMedia John works with small to large businesses to help promote and brand businesses bringing in new clients.  With a specialty working with Local Auto Dealers surrounding Denver area.

John attended Cal State East Bay and graduated from UNCo in Greeley with a BA in Theater Studies. He has been a member of the Dolls for Daughters board since 2015
Learn more about John on his LinkedIn page.

Tonya Bradshaw
Director

Board member since: 2016
Area of expertise: Finance

Tonya’s Gift story: My favorite Christmas gift when I was a kid was my first Cabbage Patch Doll. It was the preemie doll and I loved it! I bought real baby clothes and constantly played with it. Over the years, I got other Cabbage Patch Dolls but my first was always my favorite and brought me so much joy. 

Tonya’s Professional Background: Tonya is a Senior Financial Analyst for a large IT company. She’s always been a numbers person and has an eye for details. In her role, she has the opportunity to understand the numbers, improve processes and is counted on as a valuable team member.

Tonya attended the University of Wyoming where she graduated with a degree in Business Administration and Minor in Management. She has been a member of the Dolls for Daughters board since 2016; however, she has been volunteering with the organization since 2010.
Learn more about Tonya on her LinkedIn page.

Mirella Chavez
Mirella Chavez
Secretary  and Director

Board member since: 2017
Area of expertise: Volunteerism

Mirella’s Gift story:  Chewbacca is my favorite stuffed wookie. I have always had this fascination with Star Wars. I preferred collecting posters and pogs because they were affordable and easy to trade. To this day I am a fan and love to reference some oh so wise words from some of the episodes but one I hold near and dear is one from Yoda, “Always pass on what you have learned.” Quotes like such and being a mom have inspired me want to give back to the community and help families to do the same. After all, it is not our jobs to toughen our kids but love our kids. Kind hearts make for big dreams.

Mirella’s Professional Background: Mirella has always been involved in community outreach work. She currently works at Delta Dental of Colorado as the Community Benefit Coordinator but is most famous for her role as the Tooth Fairy. As a bilingual speaker, she is invaluable to getting important messages out to the general public.

Mirella currently attends the Metropolitan State University of Denver where she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration with two Minors; one in Sociology and one in Political Science. She has been a member of the Dolls for Daughters board since 2017; however, she has been volunteering at our toy shop since 2013.

Learn more about Mirella on her LinkedIn page.

Lane Walsh
Director

Board member since: 2017
Area of expertise: Real Estate

Lane’s Gift story: When I was growing up, the 3 gifts I remember the most are my bike, my Pogo Ball and my jump rope. I was a very active kid so anything that let me move around or jump was right up my alley.  The Christmas I received my 10-speed bike, I felt like I had arrived. I loved exploring the small town I grew up in on my bike. It gave me a sense of freedom and independence.  In the 5th and 6th grade, I was on our elementary school’s jump rope team and while it might be embarrassing to admit now and considering I played almost every sport available to me, jump rope team was my favorite.  The year I got my Pogo Ball, was epic! I could Pogo Ball, with my jump rope, ON THE TRAMPOLINE.  

Lane’s Professional Background: I have been in the real estate industry since I graduated from Colorado State University in 2000.  First as a temp receptionist at a title company.  I worked my way up to having my own office and running a small staff before I decided that I’d like more opportunity to spread my wings in the real estate industry.  I left the title business to get my real estate license in 2006, I helped several hundred people buy and sell homes then started my own company in 2011. I enjoy solving problems at the brokerage level and helping agents succeed so that they can help as many people possible make smart housing decisions is my big “Why”!

I have been a member of the Dolls for Daughters board since 2017.

Learn more about Lane on her LinkedIn page

Michelle Lewis
Treasure and Director

coming soon

Youth Advisory Board Members

Jack
Fort Collins

Jack is currently in 11th Grade at Fort Collins High School.  Jack was born in Jacksonville Flordia and grew up in Colorado. He enjoys hunting and playing basketball.

Jack
Denver
Jack is currently in 9th grade at Regis High School. Jacks hobbies include playing lacrosse and basketball.
His Favorite gift was a football so he could enjoy quality time with his brother being active.
Bailey
I have always loved American Girl dolls whether they were a lookalike or the “doll of the year” I had endless dress up clothes and my grandma even built a house set for them. When I was ten I was particularly obsessed with American Girl dolls and all I really wanted for Christmas that year was a curly haired, freckle faced, blue eyed lookalike doll. I hoped and hoped and hoped to walk down the stairs and see her waiting for me in her perfectly pristine outfit and there she was! I had the ability to create any scene with my dolls and give them a script to follow. I loved making little iMovies that showcased their “day to day lives” now that I think about it, maybe that’s what sparked my love for acting….
Bailey goes to school at Stanley BPS and enjoys participating in Language Arts and Social Studies, plays basketball on the school team and loves to act in the different school plays.
Julia

I’m Julia and as I wind myself through middle school and soon high school, I realized that one of my passions is helping others.  I also enjoy spending time with people who are kind, clever and energetic.  I hope to meet many of you soon.  My favorite Christmas gift was a Vera Bradley backpack.  My favorite toy is my American Girl Doll.

Kaylie

The best gift I have ever gotten was a bright blue soccer ball. I can remember the day I got it. I believe I was 5 years old when my mom surprised me with the new ball. I had been using an old used one before. There is nothing like getting a new soccer ball. As I was growing up I tried a lot of different sports, but soccer is the one sport I never got tired of. Soccer made me less shy and competitive. Without soccer, I would have been a completely different person.

I go to Castle View High School. At school, I am in the Interact Club and I play Jv soccer.

Vivek
YAB Chair
When I was just learning to talk (around 16 months), I told my parents that I wanted a stuffed animal as big as I was. After seeing my parents take care of me, I too wanted something to take care of. So when they came home one day with a big, brown stuffed dog, I was ecstatic. I shrieked in joy as I ran over to hug my friend. The dog who I eventually named Ralphy became my playmate. At night, when the sound of the AC frightened me out of my pants, I would hug and cuddle with him. To this day, he still sits on the edge of my bed and protects me. He still reminds me of how he was the first thing to give me the gift of friendship.
I am an 8th grader at Kend Denver School. I enjoy painting, skiing, laughing, and participate in Speech and Debate at school. Most of all, I love spending time with my family.