Founded 1977 in KCMO Blue Hills Neighborhood, CCO's initial purpose was to address racial "redlining" and "blockbusting." Since then, our focus has remained on neighborhood organizing, following our roots in social justice advocacy.
Seft Hunter, Executive Director
SEFT HUNTER, Ph.D is CCO’s Executive Director and guides the strategic direction of the organization with specialized research and experience in health access and equity. Seft is the president of his neighborhood association, Manheim, an important community in the heart of Kansas City that just secured zoning along Troost Avenue to prevent future payday loan shops.
Danise Hartsfield-Thompson, Executive Administrative Assistant
DANISE HARTSFIELD THOMPSON leads CCO’s executive administration and day to day operations. She has a strong background in human resources and public service within public education and comes to CCO through her congregation, Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church and CCO partner, Catholic Charities of Kansas City St. Joseph.
Mellissa Sims, Community Organizer
MELLISSA SIMS leads CCO’s community engagement initiative in Kansas City, Kansas focusing on the emergency room hot spots of 66101, 66102 and 66104. Mellissa holds an MBA and Graduate Certificate in Healthcare/Health Services Mgmt & Leadership. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Health Administration and comes to CCO through her volunteerism as a Community Health Advocate with home congregation, New Bethel Church of KCK. Prior to CCO, she worked in the finance and health insurance sectors and as an Adjunct Community Health Worker Instructor.
Avrell Stokes, Community Organizer
AVE STOKES graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) with a Master of Public Health, emphasis in policy and administration. He also received his Bachelor of Arts from USM in 2010. In Spring of 2016, Ave decided to take his knowledge of community health and vitality from the corporate world of healthcare consulting, to the nonprofit sector of community organizing, by joining the team at Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO). Through CCO, he has been provided the opportunity to express his passion for a more interpersonal working relationship with surrounding communities.
Reverend Orlando Gallardo, Community Organizer
REVEREND ORLANDO GALLARDO graduated from Saint Paul School of Theology with his M.Div in 2012. He is an Associate Pastor at Trinity Community Church (A United Methodist Congregation). He also holds a B.A. in Religion from the University of Northern Iowa. Reverend Gallardo has being appointed by Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. of the Great Plains Conference to serve as a community organizer for CCO in Johnson County, KS. His model for ministry and community organizing is as John Wesley wrote, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Glenda DuBoise, Regional Community Organizer
GLENDA DUBOISE leads CCO’s organizing and advocacy capacity of faith based leaders in Topeka, Wichita, Salina and SW Kansas around health equity and the overall improvement of health. She has non-profit and corporate experience in executive management and leadership, customer service, sales, marketing, administration and training. She earned a Master's Degree in Management from Baker University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications Arts from Washburn University with an emphasis in journalism and public relations. Ms. DuBoise is involved in and has held leadership roles in several local, regional, national and international organizations. She serves as the State President of AARP KS and is also the President of The Topeka (KS) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. She has received awards and recognitions for her work, commitment and community service
Tara Henderson, Grants & Contracts Manager
TARA HENDERSON came to CCO in 2016 with 22 years of experience in teaching and writing. She is currently CCO’s Grants and Contracts Manager. Tara earned her Master’s in English and MPH degrees at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Tara has successful track records in communications (writing, speaking, social media), advocacy, education, and marketing. She has taught and written in both the public and private sectors and believes that effective writing, verbal communication, and diplomacy are the keys required to successfully connect people and objectives.
Mary Rabon, Volunteer Coordinator
MARY A. RABON is a Kansas City native who attended W. W. Yates and George Washington Carver elementary schools, Lincoln Jr. and Lincoln Senior High. Later, she received an Associate's Degree at Penn Valley Community College and then Bachelors and Masters degrees in Communication Studies at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Her career has included working at IBM, Mercantile Bank, Kansas City Power & Light, and the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs. She has been working with CCO for the past 20 years. Positions she has held during that time include Secretary of the Board, Communications Committee, and President of the board for two terms. Additionally, she has two sons, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren (with one on the way).