Executive Director and Co-Founder, The Zara Project
4th Grade Dual Language Teacher, Emory Elementary
I think something we all can agree on is that being hungry sucks! I have been a teacher in the Denver Metro area for 14 years and all of them in Title I schools where 85% or more of students receive two free and reduced meals at school each day. This is essential to their learning knowing that those two meals might be the only ones they eat sometimes. After my first year of observing hungry kids and the toll it takes on all aspects of their lives, I started what later became The Zara Project.
In the last 12 years, we have provided food for thousands of local families during winter break. After one of our distributions a few years ago, a kid came to school with a huge smile on his face and his teacher asked him why he was so happy and he said, “because I had pancakes for breakfast.” That’s why I continue with this project. I am currently a 4th grade dual language Spanish teacher in my 10th year at Emory Elementary in Jeffco and the director of The Zara Project, but my most cherished job of all is being the best mom I can be to my four year old daughter, Zoey.
Community Liaison, The Zara Project
Music Teacher, Force Elementary
Chris has over a decade of experience teaching music to students in high poverty schools. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado and a master’s degree from The University of Colorado Boulder. Chris is passionate about ensuring that his students at Force elementary are successful in music, academics, and their lives. Through his work with the Zara Project, Chris is able to help support his students through winter break and ensure they are able to eat and be ready for learning when they return in January.