Staff & Board

Jessie Pocock

Executive Director she/her

Jessie is a queer activist, poet, and community organizer committed to the liberation of LGBTIA2+ young people. She is charged with mobilizing resources, people, community, policy, and strategy to build access, equity, and power with LGBTQIA2+ young people. She is also responsible for making sure there are ample opportunities to dance. 

Joy Armstrong

Program Director she/they

Joy oversees internal programs and services at Inside Out, supporting our incredible staff to meet the needs of young people with excellence and in compliance with grant specifications. She also facilitates implementation of our strategic plan, builds collaborative relationships with community partners, and actively participates in cross-departmental initiatives to increase financial stability, individual and agency  performance, and sustained impact for young people and adults alike. Dr. Armstrong’s personal and professional background includes nearly 30 years in the visual and performing arts, with special interest in creative practice as a vehicle for building access, equity, and power. In her free time, she loves hiking with her husband Mike and their two rescue dogs almost as much as curling up in front of the fireplace with good food and two rescue cats. 

Goddess Tyescha

Amplifier of Health Advocacy they/them

Goddess Tyescha is the Amplifier of Health Advocacy at Inside Out Youth Services. In this role they go into the community to create and build safe spaces with the inclusion of all young people. A Black New York Rican raised in Harlem, Goddess Tyescha began community organizing at 16 years of age and now has has a dual Masters in education from Fordham University. They strive to invest time in understanding communities and igniting the power they have.

Nico Wilkinson

Development Director they/them

Nico Wilkinson is the Development Director at Inside Out Youth Services. They work one-on-one with donors who want to make a difference in the lives of LGBTQIA2+ young people. They also plan events for and with the team and young people to bring in necessary resources for IOYS. Nico started as an award-winning community organizer and spoken word poet in Colorado Springs who founded the Keep Colorado Springs Queer open mic in 2016. They live on a small farm with their goats, chickens, cats, and dog. 

Susan Peiffer

Program Manager they/she

Susan Peiffer is the Programs Manager at Inside Out Youth Services, which means she is responsible for our drop-in center, programs staff, and all the activities, evenings, and programs we facilitate to benefit our young people. Their goal is to provide enriching, safe, and fun opportunities for education, friendship, and growth among our youth and adult volunteers! Susan is a poet, musician, and educator with a passion for queer youth. They happily share a life with their partner of 20-some years, a few animals, and plenty of books and friends. 

Liss Smith

Communications Manager they/them/she/her

Liss is the Communications Manager at Inside Out Youth Services. As such, they oversee social media, press relations, public relations, communication strategy, and IOYS branding. Their goal is to ensure every young person in the Pikes Peak region knows Inside Out is here for them. Liss is a former journalist and longtime resident of Colorado Springs, with a passion for the queer community. They are a romance and sci-fi writer, a proud nerd, and a married parent of three beautiful cats.

Charlie Morales-Mitchell

Motivator of Center Engagement they/them

Charlie is the Motivator of Center Engagement at Inside Out Youth Services. They are responsible for onboarding volunteers, empowering them while in the space and out in the community, and ensuring they have all the tools necessary to engage with the young people we serve. Charlie is a parent of two beautiful beings, and enjoys reading, hiking, and learning new ways to take care of themself as they show up for others.

Cathy Gillis

Executive Assistant she/her

In her role as Executive Assistant, Cathy supports the Executive Director with scheduling, administrative duties, and other tasks. Raised in Alaska, she and her family relocated to Colorado in 2019, where she enjoys the blue sky, temperate climate, and natural beauty in the Rocky Mountain West. Cathy is a mother, fiber artist, and advocate. She has a passion for LGBTQIA2+ equity, personal experience with transgender/transitioning families, and a creative outlook on problem solving informed by her artistic endeavors.

Chris Beasley

Youth Services Coordinator he/him/they/them

Chris is the youth coordinator. In addition to managing weekly programs like Qmmunity Resilience and DJ lessons, Chris has a passion for bringing poetry and expression into the space. They are a super cool poet that loves seeing the Inside Out youth be their favorite selves.

Noelle Strait

School Advocate she/her

Noelle is the School Advocate at Inside Out Youth Services. In this role, she oversees the Pikes Peak Safe @ Schools Coalition and the coordination of all school-based partnerships. Her goal is to help create safer school environments for the youth of Colorado Springs. Noelle’s background is in the social work and gender-based violence fields, and she has lived in the Colorado Springs area for more than 20 years. She can often be found enjoying the creative arts or snuggling with her two kitties. 

Keeley Griego

Digital and Community Educator she/her

As Digital and Community Educator, Keeley is responsible for assisting in the implementation of IOYS’ communications plan, promoting awareness of programs, and creating and distributing materials that foster LGBTQIA2+ education within the Pikes Peak region and beyond. In her spare time, Keeley enjoys yoga, hiking, reading, and spending time with her spouse Danni and their two cats and dog.

Skylar Kimble

Peer Program Assistant they/he

Skylar is an integral part of Inside Out’s programs team, supporting the creation and implementation of weekly programs, and offering resources to youth both online and in-person. IOYS youth call Skylar the “Inside Out Dad” because of the amount of security, acceptance, and love he brings to the space. Skylar is a veteran youth-turned-staff-member of Inside Out Youth Services, an adult cartoonist, and a devoted animal parent.

Dani Vascones

Program Assistant they/them

Dani is the Program Assistant at Inside Out Youth Services. They facilitate some of the youth programs, upkeep the physical space, organize files to maintain easy and efficient access to beneficial resources for the community. Their goal is to encourage an inclusive environment for the youth to express themselves authentically. Dani also loves to move their body and challenge their acrobatic skills through the aerial arts. When they are not in the aerial studio, they are probably watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, snacking on Takis and snuggling with their cats.

Payton DeVencenty

Young Adult Specialist he/him

Payton DeVencenty is the Young Adult Specialist at Inside Out Youth Services! He has extensive experience working with youth of all ages, and he is passionate about equipping youth with the resources and support they need to thrive. Payton’s efforts at IOYS are contributing to growing access, power, and equity among young adults to impact the world around them! In his free time Payton enjoys eating all the food his partner prepares for him, taking and developing film photos, haunting the local coffee shop scene, playing cribbage and climbing big rocks.

Chris Wade

Clinician they/them

Chris is a Licensed Professional Counselor. Through a collaboration between YouthSeen and Inside Out Youth Services, Chris provides mental health counseling services to LGBTQ+ youth. They offer individual, family, and group sessions as well as crisis-based services. Chris is passionate about social justice. When he’s not working, he enjoys playing video games, practicing foreign languages, and spending time with their 3 kids and spouse of 11 years.

Ryan O'Meara

Development Associate he/him

Ry joined IOYS in 2020 as a PIFP Summer Fellow, and has continued on as the Development Associate. He supports the development and fundraising strategies, event planning, admin work, and hiring processes. Ryan is passionate about building resilient ecosystems and communities, to include those supporting LGBTQIA2+ youth, startups, tourism, and the arts. He enjoys long walks in the sand, especially in the desert or by the beach.

Misbah Lakhani

Creating Protective Environments Intern they/them/she/her

My name is Misbah Lakhani. I am a sophomore at Colorado College and a Feminist and Gender Studies major. I’m from Houston, Texas, but born, raised, and indigenous to Pakistan. Even during my time in Pakistan, my parents knew I had a special passion for medicine, taking care of my family members when they were sick, and looking up home remedies at the age of six. After moving, in high school, I was introduced to medicine in a very hands-on way. I have done everything from being certified in managing emergencies, drawing people’s blood, shadowing at the Memorial Herman Hospital in the Texas Medical Center for two years, and even created a partnership between Shriners Hospital for Children and my high school. 

With all the knowledge I gained during my experiences, I was able to be a teen advisory board member for the University of Texas’ Teen Clinic in the Texas Medical Center and with Unity, a consortium advocating for vaccines in the US. Personally, healthcare and medicine are basic human rights, and throughout my high school career, I’ve tried to use my position in order to make healthcare more accessible to the greater Houston community, especially teens, and hope to continue to do so during college through creating safe environments and resources for young people, especially queer and/or people of color. 

Outside of IOYS, I am working as a co-founder of two local mutual aids, as Vice President of student government, and a Bonner Fellow and Health and Accessibility Co-op intern with the Collaborative for Community Engagement at CC. For fun, I love curling up with a book, some tea, and a comfy blanket to spend the hours in peace with some background music. Hopefully I get to also go outside to concerts soon, as I miss them a ton.

Tracey Porter

Volunteer Acclimation Specialist she/her

Tracey started her journey with Inside Out in 2008. She is part of this organization because she is a lesbian and she believes that we all need a safe place. Her mother doesn’t fully accept her due to her mothers fundamentalist beliefs and she knows that she is not the only person experiencing rejection therefore a safe place is needed. 

Board of Directors

Joe Foecking

Board Chair he/him

MacKenzie Campbell

Treasurer she/her

Geri Johnson

Board Member she/her

Katherine Edwards

Vice Chair she/her

Marius Nielsen

Board Member they/them/ella

Jeffrey Jensen

Board Member he/him

Dr. Tre Wentling

Alumni and Board Member he/him

Chelsea Gondeck

Secretary she/her

Joanna Nelson Rendón

Board Member she/her

Marco Antillon

Board Member he/him/el

Contact our board

Get Connected

To get connected with the Safe @ Schools Coalition, please contact us. We look forward to collaborating with you.