The Women Behind The Committed Community of Southeast Metro Denver

Melissa Schupp and Gail Coombs immerse themselves in their community and their commitment to community service
Kiwanis 1

Vice president Gail Coombs, left, and president Melissa Schupp present a $20,000 check to Orrick Nepomueno, chairman of the Second Wind Fund board, and Michelle Aquino, Second Wind Fund development director, as club treasurer Keith Schupp looks on. | Photos courtesy of Kiwanis Southeast Metro Denver Club

In 2010, when Melissa Schupp and her husband, Keith, moved to Denver from Minnesota, they of course wanted to get to know their community better by meeting people and making friends— especially those who shared their commitment to community service.

A mutual friend introduced them to the Kiwanis DTC Club. While Keith settled into his new job, Melissa immersed herself in the club, serving three years on the board and one year as president.

But in 2019, when it became apparent that there were plenty of folks who would like to affiliate with Kiwanis but were not available for daytime meetings, she and Gail Coombs helped start the Kiwanis of Southeast Metro Denver. After receiving its charter in February 2021, the group would meet at 6 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at Zig Zag Smoking Burgers in Greenwood Village.

Melissa, an executive assistant for a financial adviser, is now in the final stages of a three-year term as president of the Kiwanis SMD. Her husband is its treasurer. Kiwanis SMD is an affiliate of Kiwanis Inter- national, which was founded in Detroit in 1915 and has some 142,000 members in 80 nations. It also is one of 86 clubs in the Kiwanis Rocky Mountain District, all of whom follow the international commitment to “serve the needs of children by fighting hunger, improving literacy and offering guidance.”

Kiwanis Bell Ringing

<em. Treasurer Keith Schupp, president Melissa Schupp and vice president Gail Coombs join members Pat Faughnan, Rosy Olivares and Shavon Forte to ring bells on behalf of the Salvation Army during the Christmas season.

The signature project for Kiwanis SMD is the Second Wind Fund, a Denver-based nonprofit that connects young people who are at risk for suicide with life-saving mental health treatment. The club also provides volunteers and funding for several other area nonprofits, including Clothes to Kids, Colorado Feeding Kids and Shiloh House, and sponsors a Key Club at ThunderRidge High School in Highlands Ranch. Members also serve as Salvation Army bell-ringers during the Christmas season.

“We try not to overwhelm our members,” Melissa Schupp says. “We tell them they don’t have to volunteer for everything, just do what best fits your schedule.”

On May 4, the Kiwanis SMD will host Pints & Pinots at The Dome at AMG in Greenwood Village to raise money for the Second Wind Fund. There will be wine and beer tastings, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, gift card raffle and a wine wall. The goal is to top the $20,000 that was raised in 2022. Tickets are available at



Joanne Davidson, who for 30 years was The Denver Post’s society editor, is a frequent contributor to Colorado Expression.

Categories: Community/Society