Meet Our Staff
Karen Melusky, Pam Sweetser, and Patty Quinn at our 2010 More Than You and Me Gala
Pam Sweetser, Founder and Executive Director
Pam and her husband Dan are the adoptive parents of two children, a daughter who was born in Korea in 1986 and a son who was born in India in 1989. Her children catapulted Pam into life and career interests she never imagined. Pam’s position as Executive Director has evolved over the past 20 years as she was a volunteer Executive Director for the first 7 years, then the only part-time paid staff person, then a full-time paid position, and finally to overseeing with the Board of Directors the addition of two more part-time paid staff. Pam and Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families have been the recipient of the Minoru Yasui Volunteer Service Award, Asian Education Advisory Council Community Service Award, Channel 7 Everyday Hero, Asian Pacific Bar Association Minoru Yasui Community Award, and the Korean American Coalition of the U.S., Bridge Builder Award Pam has been appointed to the Denver Asian Pacific American Commission, and is on the capital campaign committee of the Asian Pacific Development Center. This “labor of love” at Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families has truly become a life’s work for Pam, one that never would have happened without her own wonderful children.
Karen Melusky, Administrative Manager
Karen is the adoptive parent of two children, a son born in Vietnam, and a daughter born in Korea. She and her husband Mike, and their children have been attending heritage camps for 11 years. She was the Vietnamese Heritage Camp volunteer director for 4 years. In her position as Administrative Manager for Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families, Karen manages and controls the heritage camp inventory, database system, camp evaluations and surveys, and supports the volunteer coordinators in their camp preparations. Karen is a true believer in the heritage camp experience for her own children, and for so many others. In her spare time, Karen is the treasurer of the PTSA of Dry Creek Elementary where her children attend, has taught Sunday School at First Universalist Church in Denver, and enjoys spending time with her family.
Patty Quinn, Program Manager
Patty is an adoptive parent of two children adopted from China in 1992 & 1994. She and her husband Ed have been attending Chinese Heritage Camp since September 1998. Patty co-directed the first Chinese Heritage Camp & continued as co-director for 5 years. She then acted for 2 years as Chinese Community liaison. Patty heavily supports the local Chinese community and served on the Operating Committee for the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival and was the Finance Committee Chair from 2000 – 2008. Patty’s responsibilities for HCAF include director support, and preparing reports which support the camp directors, and their coordinators. In her position as Program Director, Patty manages the registration data base and corresponds with the camp volunteer staff as well as the various community members & the camp families. She supports all that HCAF represents & her children have been heritage camp campers for the past 12 years. In addition to being campers, her daughters have been counselors for the past 3 years & will continue to do so for years to come. Patty and her husband are grateful for all that heritage camps have brought to their children’s lives, and to their own.
Marissa Tafura, Development Director
Marissa is the mother of two biracial, Zimbabwean/U.S. children, age 4 and 1. She has worked with many Heritage Camp parents in her workshops on how to talk about race and racial injustice with children. Marissa is excited about the opportunity to combine her knowledge of fundraising and communications with her passion for affirming cultural and racial identity in kids. She was Director of Communications and Associate Director of Marketing and Development at Emergency Family Assistance Association, a Boulder-based nonprofit that helps low-income families meet their basic needs. Her work at HCAF will focus on growing the organization’s donor base, increasing monthly giving, developing corporate partnerships, and increasing fundraising at camps and at the annual gala. Aside from her work at HCAF, Marissa teaches classes on dance and cultural studies at CU Boulder, where she works with guests from a variety of cultures who teach students about their cultural dance forms.