Cheryl has a BA in psychology from the University of Denver, and is retired from state probation, where she worked for 33 years as a line probation officer, supervisor, and Chief Probation Officer for the First Judicial District (Jefferson and Gilpin Counties). During her tenure with probation, she facilitated cognitive skill building for adult offenders, and collaborated in the development of the Specialized Drug Offender program, working with adult felony offenders with significant drug problems. As Chief Probation Officer, she was instrumental in the development of the Jefferson County Recovery Court (drug court), and obtained funding to hire the first mental health specialist in the First District Probation Department. She was a major advocate for a Mental Health Court prior to her retirement. Cheryl was also an adjunct faculty member at Red Rocks Community College teaching criminal justice courses for twenty years. She is currently working part-time at Regis University, administering and proctoring tests for individuals testing out of courses for various universities and colleges. Cheryl spends a significant amount of her time exploring the world with her grandson and enjoying his perceptions.
Cheryl joined the AOD Board to support accurate and realistic drug education for our community and more specifically, our youth. She particularly likes the unbiased approach of AOD where there is no hidden agenda or opportunism involved. Cheryl believes the better educated we are, the better equipped we will be to make decisions and avoid problems related to substance use and abuse.
Gary Thompson has worked in high schools for 24 years in a variety of positions as a security guard, science teacher, dean, athletic director, and assistant principal. He is currently assistant principal at Grandview High School in Aurora, Colorado overseeing the School Climate Team, School Accountability, Interventions and Testing. He has been happily married to his high school sweet heart, Kim for 24 yrs., and he has two children Sydney and Logan. He enjoys being outside in his free time, whether that is golfing or yard work.
During all his years in education, Gary has witnessed the impact of drugs and alcohol on young students and how they lose control of what matters to them through drug use. Gary first met Lynn 3 years ago when she came to speak with the building leaders about the current trends in drugs use. Since then, Lynn has come to speak to our entire freshman classes for the last two years. Lynn has a way of connecting with high school students that is real and without the BS, and the students appreciate this approach. They feel that they are being educated to make their own choices that impact their lives. For some students, they feel like they are being treated like an adult for the first time. At Grandview we saw a sharp decrease in drug use by our freshman students who listened to Lynn speak; our goal is to keep spreading presentations to all grades. Lynn has spoken with parents at Grandview High School so they are aware of the current trends and terms. Both sessions were extremely well received.
Cathy Melonakis Schneider is a Denver Native who has been a RE/MAX Broker since 1986. My involvement with Act on Drugs started many years ago after meeting Lynn Riemer, who was referred to me by a mutual connection at the North Metro Task Force. I worked with Lynn in selling one home, purchasing another. I had countless hours to discover Lynn's passion for educating children, parents, firefighters, police, oil industry employees, CASA personnel, and many other factions on the effect of drugs. We worked together initially to educate the Real Estate Community on how to spot Meth Labs, how to deal with encounters with users and Clean Up Laws being instituted by the State of Colorado for identified Meth Labs. Every presentation she conducted for the Real Estate, Title and Mortgage Banking industries was overwhelmingly successful.
Although I am not a Chemist, Teacher, Doctor, Counselor or in an industry which is hands on to the issues with drugs, I have become very passionate as well to contribute all that I can to this amazing Non-Profit. Having raised four children myself, luckily with no major issues, I am blessed. But, because of my large client base, I have so many friends and clients who have lost children to drugs. My contribution to this Board is simply to offer support, facilities, add to fund raising efforts because Lynn's passion to save every child she can has become contagious.
Ronald Holmes, MD, is a pediatrician who retired from the University of Michigan Medical School after more than 30 years of academic clinical practice/teaching and research. Since retiring he has worked as a research scientist/consultant at the Denver Children’s Hospital and is on the editorial staff of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He no longer treats patients, but remains a strong advocate for children. For the past several years he has been instructing physicians, other health care providers and child-advocacy groups about substance abuse and the long term consequences of substance abuse.
Bob Ivanauskas is a retired CPA with substantial experience in management, budgeting, long range planning, auditing, accounting, treasury and tax during his professional career. During the past 10 years Bob has assisted various nonprofits with their accounting, tax and planning functions. He enjoys assisting nonprofits in their missions to enhance the quality and availability of community resources to the benefit of all citizens as well as the protection of our environment.
Ron Armenta is a self-educated business man that has owned and operated many different businesses. He has discovered a passion for reaching out to teenagers in the community and helping them change their future, through his mentor program Break the Cycle. In this program Ron guides them and gives them the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in life.
Ron is proud to be on this board because he believes that it is important to educate our young people about the difference between living life drug free and living life on drugs.