Pamela Bisceglia is the Executive Director of AdvocacyDenver. As a parent of a child with a disability, Pamela gained practical experience regarding the rights of children and adults with disabilities. Her professional experience is marked by her devotion to individuals in need, first-hand knowledge of the operation of public systems and their obligation under state and federal law. Pamela stands with a team whose principal focus is on achieving equal rights and social justice for people with disabilities through individual advocacy and systems advocacy at the state and federal level.
Melissa Palacio is AdvocacyDenver’s Office Manager, working alongside leadership to support adult and child advocates. Melissa attended Western Cuna Management School at Pomona College majoring in Business Management, and Front Range Community College holding a certification in Certified Event Rental Professional. She’s a passionate volunteer for Special Olympics Colorado and other events supporting people with disabilities. Melissa volunteers her time to a non-profit organization serving as a Coach, mentoring leaders of small women groups that are working through life’s unique circumstances. These professional and personal experiences have paved a way for Melissa to devote her skills in supporting the active voice AdvocacyDenver upholds in the community.
Alejandro Arrieta is a Bilingual Child and Family Advocate. From a young age Alejandro understood the importance of multilingualism and service to the Spanish-speaking community and people living with disabilities. He continuously fights to protect language and educational rights. His younger sibling, whom has disabilities, motivates him to serve as a bridge between community and the public special education system. Currently, Alejandro uses his experience in respectful communication, facilitation, and more to thrive in his position with AdvocacyDenver. Alejandro spends his free time connecting with the outdoors and his four pets.
Linda Brooks is an Advocate for Adults. She spent 12 years as a Service Coordinator for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and 11 years investigating allegations of Mistreatment, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation (MANE). She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska in Children’s Rehabilitation and a Master’s degree from Drake University in Vocational Rehabilitation-Personnel Counseling. She is a Huskers fan (GO BIG RED!).
Kaley Day is an Advocate for Adults and advisor to People First of Denver. She publishes Policy Perspective, featuring interviews with state policymakers and community members on issues that affect the work and mission of AdvocacyDenver. Kaley is a graduate of the University of Denver with a degree in Strategic Communication and emphases in nonprofit organizations and social justice. She has an older brother with disabilities and grew up in the family support and advocacy community of Colorado. Kaley’s passion lies in amplifying the voices of self-advocates, supporting siblings in their unique journeys, and most recently, providing comprehensive, inclusive sexuality education for youth and adults. She has been with the organization since 2011 and previously served as the Coordinator for Communication and Grant Development.
Lorraine Grisez is a Resource Navigator who directly supports clients by developing an individualized self-advocacy plan. She can assist with filling out applications and teaching individuals how to navigate systems. Lorraine spent 7 years as an active duty Marine before becoming a parent of a child with a physical disability. Lorraine understands how frustrating and overwhelming systems that are meant to support individuals with disabilities can be, and she has firsthand experience with both pediatric and adult services. She is passionate about ensuring that any discussion about disability includes a seat at the table for individuals that those discussions directly affect. In her free time Lorraine enjoys going to comic-con type events with her family, attends concerts regularly, and gets sucked into episodes of Friends that she’s seen too many times to count.
Erika Montano is a Bilingual Child and Family Advocate. Erika was born and raised in Mexico before relocating with her family to Colorado where they have lived for the last 15 years. Erika is trained and worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for more than 10 years. Erika also worked at Denver Public Schools as a paraprofessional in Special Education, this motivated her to want to help children and their families understand and defend their rights, and for them be heard. Erika is also the mother of a child with disabilities. It has helped her understand the need for Hispanic Families to be heard, and to know that their voices count. Erika is passionate about helping people in need. In her free time, Erika loves to read and travel with her family and getting to know different places.
Heather Peters is a Child and Family Advocate. She joined AdvocacyDenver in August, 2018. Heather graduated from Towson University with a psychology degree. She worked in different urban public school systems as a paraprofessional, a teacher and as a Family Liaison for children with special needs. In the role of Family Liaison, Heather connected families with community resources, helped families navigate through the Individualized Education Program, Section 504 process and understand educational rights of children with disabilities. Heather has, and continues to serve on a range of councils and boards.
Tony Sears has been an Advocate for Adults at AdvocacyDenver since 1998. Tony holds a BA in Psychology and has worked in the mental health field for more than 19 years, the past ten years of which have been in the developmental disabilities field. Additionally, he works with public agencies and advocacy organizations in crisis intervention, criminal justice, dual diagnosis (developmental disabilities and mental health), and RTD’s Access-A-Ride Appeals Committee.
Michele Sandoval is a Child and Family Advocate. She joined AdvocacyDenver in September 2021. Michele holds a BA in Elementary Education, an MA in Educational Leadership, and an Ed.S in School Psychology. She is currently licensed by the Colorado Department of Education as a School Psychologist and a Director of Special Education. Michele has worked in Colorado urban school districts as an Elementary Teacher, School Psychologist, Special Education District Coordinator and most recently as a Senior Manager of Special Education. She recently retired, after 35 years in education, and is excited to work as an advocate in support of students identified with educational disabilities. Michele’s style of advocacy is to work collaboratively with all stakeholders in order to develop a strong, effective IEP that meets the student’s needs.
David Walz is a Bilingual Child and Family Advocate. David earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Family Studies and Human Services from Kansas State University in 2009. He is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer where he served the people of El Salvador between 2010 and 2013. There he taught reading, math, environmental sustainability, and educational practices. Once he returned David then spent two years working as a bilingual family educator and home visitor for Early Head Start through the University of Kansas Medical Center at Project EAGLE and then went back to graduate school at the University of Missouri – Columbia, where he studied school psychology and earned his Master’s in Education as well as his Education Specialist Degree. Once he graduated, he and his family moved to Denver Colorado. David worked as a bilingual School Psychologist before coming to AdvocacyDenver. In his free time, David enjoys going on hikes, fly fishing, remote camping, and playing video games with his daughter.
Center for Special Education Law
Michael Breeskin is Counsel for AdvocacyDenver, and he is the attorney for the organization’s Center for Special Education Law. Mr. Breeskin has a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center and previously served as Senior Attorney for the nonprofit organization that the Governor of Colorado designated as the Protection and Advocacy System for people with disabilities in the state.
Charlene Lawrence works part-time for AdvocacyDenver and has been doing miscellaneous office work assignments with us since 1998. Charlene has been an AdvocacyDenver client and an integral part of the ARC and People First Community since the mid-nineties. She received an award from the Arc of Denver for her dedication to volunteerism in 1995, as well as the John Bear award in 1998. AdvocacyDenver helped assist Charlene in buying her first condo in 2000, where she still resides with her husband of 11 years, Mike, who is also a client of AdvocacyDenver. Charlene is passionate about dogs, shopping, meeting new people, Starbucks coffee and her beloved church community. Charlene enjoys eating meals with friends at her favorite restaurant, Golden Corral.