Mike Cotsworth (Board President)
Michael Cotsworth was introduced to Praying Hands ranch when his daughter, now an adult, came to volunteer at the Ranch in High School. Being a long time horse owner, and avid horseman, Mike was impressed with the “magic” that happens between the clients and horses at PHR. He soon became acquainted with Carl and Shirley Hanson, and Carl asked Mike to join the Board of Directors. Mike has served as Secretary to the Board , and for several years has been Chairman and MC of the Sweetheart Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser. Having been awarded Parker Citizen of The Year by the Parker Chamber of Commerce, Mike is a small business owner and an active participant in many local Parker and Douglas County events and activities. Mike has lived in Parker for over 25 years. His daughters Christen and Cyndi have volunteered at PHR, and his granddaughter Skyler and stepdaughter Terra have done the face painting at the Sweetheart Spaghetti Dinner for several years. Mike lives with his wife Amy, who has herself been very active with PHR in many roles. Mike is dedicated to preserving the Heritage and Magic of PHR, while moving enthusiastically into the future and new opportunities awaiting PHR.
Antoinette Engelke (Secretary)
Antoinette is an accomplished leader in the Aerospace Industry with expertise at leading organizations to the next level of performance. She retired from corporate America in 2017 to follow her passion in natural healing. She has received multiple certifications in Herbalism and Reiki, has her bachelor's degree in Holistic Health Sciences and is continuing her education to earn her Master’s and PhD in Natural Medicine. Antoinette has ridden / owned / trained horses her whole life and has leased the beautiful Lilly to Praying Hands Ranch so that she can help others heal.
Lynn joined Praying Hands Ranch to provide IT and Web support. Lynn spent 37 years working for the Federal Government working jobs from system administrator, web and application developer, analyst, and more. Lynn retired in 2019 and is doing volunteer web work for PHR and the Elizabeth Stampede. She has already started providing PHR a variety of applications to track volunteer hours, clients, horse usage, and multiple behind the screen applications to provide the front office with tracking tools needed for taxes or for Path Certification and is working on maintaining a new website to provide current information for our customers. Lynn joined PHR on the recommendation of her husband, Glenn, who has been volunteering as a horse walker since 2016.
Kara is a Colorado native and grew up riding in Parker. Her first instructor also taught lessons at PHR and her favorite horse, Miracle, was also used in the program. She began volunteering at the ranch in the summer of 2022 and it quickly became one of her happy places. Kara has a background in Special Education and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. She has a passion for and experience working with individuals with disabilities and youth impacted by trauma. She is looking forward to translating her work as a school administrator as well as at the district level, she is looking forward to helping PHR continue to expand collaboration with other providers, such as mental health, occupational/physical therapy to help maximize the experience we can provide our clients at PHR. Kara is a mom to an amazing son and will soon be an empty nester as he heads to college. She loves all things Colorado, the especially, Rocky Mountain National Park, and getting lost in a good book.
Michele learned about Praying Hands Ranch in 2010 through her membership in the Rotary Club of Parker. As part of that group, she spent several years volunteering as a side-walker where she loved seeing the progress of our clients and the smiles on their faces. After a few years, wanting to give more, she joined the board in 2017. Michele lives in Franktown with her fiancée and their two dogs. She enjoys being out in nature, hiking, biking and practicing yoga.
Lisa Uhlig is a professional volunteer. She always loved animals growing up and wanted to be a vet, but allergies prevented that. She became an RN and worked 10 years as a nurse. She then stayed home to raise her kids and began her volunteering career. She started a MOPS group at her church, volunteered in her daughter’s schools, and when her kids were older, she discovered she was outgrowing her allergies. She started raising service dogs for Canine Companions (www.canine.org) She is now on her 10th puppy to raise. Her vet was also a puppy raiser and she jokingly told him she was going to work for him when he opened a new office. That led to her taking dog grooming classes and she groomed for 5 years for him. When her two daughters were grown, she & her husband decided to move to the country! Just 5 minutes from Praying Hands, she finally got her application in to volunteer and she has been here for since 2019. Lisa began as our Volunteer Liaison in February 2022 and has now assumed the role of Volunteer Coordinator in September 2022 working on scheduling, orientation, retention and Social media. She loves working with our clients and our critters and is happy her allergies are not interfering! She is so happy with all the positive changes we’ve been putting into place and is excited to see where things go in the future.
Mary Beth Chismarich (Executive Director)
Mary Beth Chismarich, M.D. grew up on a farm near St. Louis, Missouri. She loved doctoring all the livestock on the farm and debated human vs veterinary medicine during her childhood, but eventually her love of children led her to medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She completed her pediatrics residency at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, KY. After completing residency, she returned to St. Louis and worked at Mercy Hospital in the Pediatric Emergency Department and Pediatric ICU. She then completed a fellowship in Pediatric and Hospice and Palliative Care and started the Pediatric Palliative Care Program at Mercy Hospital. Mary Beth also served as the Medical Director for the Children’s Home Society and as the treasurer for a local non-profit. Shortly after an unexpected early medical retirement, Mary Beth’s husband, Stephen, received a job offer in the Denver area so they packed up their 4 children who were still at home and moved to Parker in May of 2021. Mary Beth began looking for ways to serve her community and keep busy and started volunteering at Praying Hands Ranch. She fell in love from the first day and has been very excited to become more involved in ensuring the mission of PHR continues to expand and thrive. She especially enjoys the days her husband and 4 children living in CO are all on the ranch with her. It is such a rewarding way to spend time together. PHR has been a wonderful way for Mary Beth to combine her farming, medical and non-profit backgrounds and she looks forward to continuing to serve PHR and the local community.