Staff Directory

Jessie Pocock

Executive Director - she/her

[email protected]

Jessie has held various roles in the nonprofit sector. Most recently, she was the Executive Director of the LEAD Foundation empowering students who struggle with learning disabilities and attention issues. She worked at UCCS as the Development and Events Director for the Galleries of Contemporary Art and was a Campaign Officer for Pikes Peak United Way.

Jessie comes to us as someone who is committed to a variety of pro-equality initiatives and campaigns. She spearheaded One Colorado's Southern Colorado grassroots efforts to advance statewide pro-LGBTIQ and equity legislation as well as support pro-LGBTIQ candidates. in 2016, she was appointed by Governor Hickenlooper to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to uphold our state's anti-discrimination laws and protect individuals' civil rights in housing, public accommodations, and employment.

Jessie attended Colorado College where she earned her Bachelor Degree in Sociology and continued on to UCCS School of Public Affairs where she earned a Master of Public Administration degree.

Joy Armstrong

Development Director – she/her

[email protected]

Joy Armstrong joins the amazing staff of Inside Out Youth Services with 15 years of experience in the museum world, most recently after a decade as an award-winning curator of art at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. In her professional life and beyond, she has dedicated herself to creative, community, and personal development, applying this passion to her work with artists as well as non-profit organizations. Since returning to Colorado Springs in 2008, she has spent her time nurturing and enabling new bodies of artwork, planning and facilitating community events, and breaking down barriers to active cultural participation with the fervent belief that we all belong and have the power make a difference.

Armstrong is honored to have been part of not only the FAC team, but also Imagination Celebration, Harley’s Hope Foundation, Art on the Streets, and the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region. She is enthusiastic about exploring authentic community engagement through Inside Out and to support this tremendous organization by increasing donor awareness, sustainable support, and build robust collaborations. Love and healing for all living beings is possible through unabashed self-expression and embrace of difference!

Joy Armstrong holds a B.A. from the University of Denver, an M.A. from Kent State University, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She lives in her hometown of Colorado Springs with her husband Mike, rescue dogs Mika and Ralph, and kitties Bert and Opal. In her free time, she loves to cook (and eat!), explore the world, play the piano, sing, practice yoga, dance, and spend time with her beloved family and friends.


This position is generously funded by capacity building support from CenterLink the community of LGBT centers.

Candace Woods


Youth Program Manager – she/her

[email protected]

Candace Woods has been living and working in Colorado Springs for 15 years and loves calling this city home. She graduated this spring with a Master in Divinity from Iliff School of Theology focused on Social Justice & Ethics and was previously the youth director at a local progressive church and a Chaplains’ Fellow at Colorado College. Candace is a trained comprehensive sexuality educator and testified at the Colorado State Legislature on behalf of the recent comprehensive sexuality education bill (that passed!). She has been a supporter of Inside Out for many years and is excited to continue serving the needs of queer and allied youth and young adults in the city. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and hammocking and reading dystopian novels.

Tyescha Clark

Outreach Educator – she/her

[email protected]

Tyescha Clark is a community influencer who strives toward justice, in order to empower people that have been historically disenfranchised by the current structures in society.  She has over 15 years of experience in local communities with youth and young adults. Originally from New York City, Tyescha has worked in Harlem and the South Bronx  on campaigns with local youth focusing on Education Reform ( School to Prison Pipeline and Social Justice GED), Environmental Justice ( water quality and food access) and Immigration (the original Dream Act). 

During this time, she decided to become a formal teacher in social studies with a huge belief that “a people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” (Marcus Garvey). In addition that an educated public can make better decisions for the future.  Graduating in 2013 from Fordham University with a dual Masters in Education ( Social Studies 7-12 and Special Education K-12) she proceed to build groups in High Schools to empower young people.  Her last position as a formal teacher was at Liberty High School (D20) where she instructed Social Studies and Psychology and sponsored Friends of Rachael and The PEACE Club ( People Everywhere Are Created Equal).  

She is a proud parent, partner and friend.  

Tyescha Clark has worked with NAACP, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, The Black Women’s Alliance,  and multiple organizations in New York combating homelessness. Currently she is a board member for Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, member of the NAACP and associated with many community and arts groups here in Colorado Springs.

Celia Palmer 

Young Adult Specialist – She/Her

[email protected]

Celia joins the Inside Out staff after serving as a volunteer for a year, helping to facilitate sexuality and relationship education programs. She earned BA in Sociology from Colorado College and has worked in multiple capacities to educate young people around mental health, sexuality, communication and creativity. At Inside Out, she is a member of the programs team and facilitates life skills and sexuality education programs for young adults ages 19-24.

Celia is so excited to be part of an organization of gloriously queer and allied staff and young people, and to continue doing the work of building communities where everyone can love and grow and be their true selves. In her spare time she rides her bike and makes hot sauce, bread, and quilts, among other things.

Joseph Shelton

Program Assistant – He/Him

[email protected]

Joseph was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In May 2015, Joseph graduated from William J. Palmer High School. Joseph joined Inside/Out Youth Services in July of 2018 as a Youth Volunteer doing behind the scenes work. Joseph’s primary background is in Politics, Law Enforcement, Young Person education and much more. Joseph is currently attending Pikes Peak Community College to achieve an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice.

Joseph has lived his complete life in Colorado Spring and is the youngest of 3 in his family. Joseph takes his free time to be in the Community. He loves hiking, biking, volunteering, getting to know others and working with others and spending time with his 1 year old nephew and family across the country. Joseph currently has over 3500 hours of volunteer services in Colorado and now works to spread the support and work of Inside Out Youth Services.

Joseph is currently a Quitting Queen Coach for Inside Out. If you are interested in gaining support in the quitting process of smoking tobacco, use of drugs and/or alcohol, you may contact him. Joseph is here to guide and support you through the process and give you the needed guidance. You can contact him at [email protected] or by calling our office at (719)328-1056.

Xander Burgess


Prevention Clinician – He/Him

[email protected]

Xander Burgess has been seeking to make a difference in the world since he was a young child. He joins Inside Out Youth Services in order to help give youth a place to deal with the stresses and issues of life, gain insight and self-confidence, and to help greatly reduce (hopefully eliminate) LGBTQIA+ youth suicide in Colorado Springs. He was inspired to join the field of mental health after witnessing the lack of mental health options growing up and wanted to make sure that future generations would have access to the counseling and mental health options that would enable them to grow and be productive members of our community.


Xander holds a BS in Psychology from Columbia Southern University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and a MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University – Hawaii.


In the past 18 years, Xander has held many positions in the mental health field such as: clinical case manager for both youth and adults, crisis intervention manager, clinical assessment coordinator, clinical director, and counselor/therapist. He has helped numerous individuals through a variety of situations including depression, anxiety, addiction, gender identity, and psychosis. He offers careful and compassionate counseling with a focus on understanding the patient. He offers individual, family, and group therapeutic services for youth ages 13-22 and their families.


In his free time, he likes to hang out with his two amazing children, his awesome dog Hagrid, write short stories, and be intellectually stimulated by anything that will help him grow both professionally as well as personally.


Priscilla Morales-Mitchell

Administrative Assistant – she/her

[email protected]

Priscilla has been involved with Inside Out Youth Services since July 2017. She recently re-joined the IOYS team as the Administrative Assistance. Priscilla has worked with young people for over 5 years and is utilizing her background in administration and organization to venture in a new direction with Inside Out Youth Services. She enjoys the mountain views, spending time with family, and being a part of the LGBTIQA community. “I have learned so much about the nonprofit sector but have gained so much more knowledge and respect for the group of individuals we serve.” I am delighted to once again have found my place at Inside Out Youth services.



Peer Program Assistant – He/Him, They/Them


[email protected]

Skylar was born in Colton, California, and has been living in Colorado Springs since 2008. Skylar is a youth leader who has involved himself with Inside Out Youth Services since late 2017. Originally a youth coming from a rough home life, he felt comfort and motivation from being surrounded by youth who had struggled the same as him. Using this inspiration, he stepped forward to become a voice for the youth, becoming both a friend and mentor to those around him. He has used his skills to not only help this space, but at Community Prep School as a part-time tutor for art as well. This space is the home where he created his own family, and is working hard to keep it growing and open to everyone.

Skylar is often described as quirky and humorous, being highly interested in things like bugs, especially spiders, and mythology/fantasy. He draws and tutors cartooning when he’s not hard at work here at the space. This outgoing, caring, and engaging personality is what makes Skylar so important and close to our youth. 



Peer Program Assistant – They/Them


[email protected]

Marve was born and raised in San Diego, California. They currently attending Colorado College and pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy with a minor in Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies. Outside of classes and Inside Out they are an avid fan of American animation, romantic comedies, and stand-up comedy. After college they plan on pursuing a Master’s in Social Work with  a focus on serving LGBTQ+ and POC communities.



Peer Program Assistant – She/Her


[email protected]

Francesca grew up in Kensington, Maryland but has been a student at Colorado College for the past four years. Francesca is a senior feminist and gender studies major with a minor in education and a commitment to youth empowerment. Francesca is passionate about politics and community organizing, education policy (specifically sex education) and fighting for reproductive rights. She has worked with Planned Parenthood and community organizing groups in Colorado Springs and hopes to continue engagement after college.

Francesca is (still) a camp counselor in New Hampshire who loves working with children in the outdoors in the summers and throughout the year. In her free time, she teaches yoga sculpt workout classes, participates in student government, and works on her Thesis focusing on sex education. She has one younger sister who goes to school in New Orleans, and her parents are located in Washington DC.

She is excited to be a new peer program assistant and can’t wait to get to know the Inside Out community!

Sophie Thunberg

Multimedia Artist and Social Media Manager ​- She/Her

[email protected]

Sophie has a wide scope of professional experience in arts education and the non-profit sector. From stage managing productions to marketing as an arts professional for theatre companies and work as an educator in local high school programs (D20, D14, D11, D49), Sophie has many years of experience in community engagement and project development. After receiving a MA in French Studies from NYU, she worked with refugee and immigrant youth populations in NYC through the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the French Heritage Language Program. While at NYU, they were also involved with the LGBTQ center as a program coordinator in Paris, France where they began researching on intersex identity and built a network of scientists, activists, and scholars. In 2016, Sophie moved back home to Colorado (Manitou alumna K-12!) and began volunteering and then working with Inside Out Youth Services (IOYS) as a program assistant and educator. Outside of work at IOYS, Sophie is engaged in community art projects, puppetry, outdoor education, backpacking, sacred Yoga studies at Root Center, hand stands, clown school and Dolly Parton musicology and liberation for children (of all ages)–deconstructing and bringing awareness to environmental racism through art, community activism, integrated breath, and play. As the current Social Media Manager at IOYS, Sophie aims to continue developing ongoing projects that provide and ensure safe and braver space(s) for LGBTIQ youth.

Ryan O’Meara

Marketing and Development Fellow – He/Him

[email protected]

Ryan joins the Inside Out team for Summer 2020 from the Public Interest Fellowship Program at Colorado College. Entering his senior year there, Ryan is pursuing a degree in “The Economics and Anthropology of Tourism”, and independently designed major designed to research the tourism industry. He is passionate about social and sustainable business and enjoys working with nonprofits. In Colorado Springs, he has worked with the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Quad Innovation Partnership, and Exponential Impact. 

With IOYS, Ryan is focusing on marketing, communications, and development. He is interested in growing Inside Out’s mission in El Paso county, enabling youth to feel safe and empowered in their city. In his free time, Ryan enjoys ceramics and exploring Colorado Springs. 

Ryan Wangler 

Graphic Design & Digital Marketing Intern – He/Him

Ryan was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado and raised in Savage, Minnesota. In May 2015, Ryan graduated from Prior Lake High School. Ryan just joined Inside/Out Youth Services in September 2020 as a graphic design & digital marketing intern. Ryan’s primary background is in youth development, gymnastics, art, visual design and marketing. Ryan is currently attending the University of Minnesota College of Design to achieve a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and a minor in Retail Merchandising. Ryan has spent most of his life in Minnesota and has one younger brother and two older sisters. In his first 3 years of college, Ryan was a D1 gymnast for the University of Minnesota. Ryan uses his free time to go camping, hiking and take photos. He also loves to be involved with social justice, creating art and visual design, and relaxing with yoga and meditation. Ryan currently has over 1500 hours of volunteering in Minneapolis and Colorado Springs. Ryan is currently aiding Inside Out Youth Services with improving their digital marketing strategy. Ryan is here to help anyone within the organization with graphic design and marketing related needs.

Tracey Porter

Volunteer Volunteer Coordinator – She/Her

[email protected]

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. She was raised in a home where even though they did not talk about “it”, she fully knew she should not talk about “it”. Inside Out is a place that is talking about it and she wants to be a part of normalizing talking about it. 

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