The Academy is CYC professionals working  together to transform Child and Youth Care practice.  Our dedicated staff, leadership, trainers, and consultants represent the diversity of people and practice sectors across the field of youth services.

Steve Bewsey

Steve Bewsey, BA, CYC
Academy President, Trainer and Consultant
Corpus Christi, TX

Steve Bewsey Steve Bewsey is a Certified Child & Youth Care Practitioner who has completed 45 years of service with foster and homeless youth in residential treatment, street outreach, emergency shelter, transitional living, and supportive housing programs. Steve has provided consultation and training to over a hundred youth serving agencies and has trained thousands of…

Cindy Carraway-Wilson, MA, CYC-P
Senior Trainer
Brunswick, ME

Cindy has a master’s degree in psychology from Duquesne University and is a certified Child and Youth Care practitioner at the professional level through the Child and Youth Care Certification Board (CYCCB). Cindy is currently the Vice President of CYCCB’s Board of Directors and is co-editor of the Families Thrive: Protective and Promotive Factors to Enhance Thriving for All Children, Youth, & Families training.

Jeananne Reich, BA, CYC-P
Senior Trainer
Noblesville, IN

Jeananne is a CYC Practitioner at the Professional Level and has a passion for professional development. With over 20 years in the field, her background includes work in residential facilities, substance abuse centers, and various after school settings.  She has direct service and administrative experience. She is an instructor for the American Heart Association, Safe…

Hector Sapien

Hector Sapien, LCSW, CYC-P
Senior Trainer
Sedgewick, ME

Hector is a clinical child & youth care practitioner who has provided practical learning opportunities to people of all ages and in various roles and settings.  He has an extensive history of cultivating and leading teams to excel under very challenging conditions.  Hector is currently in private practice in Maine. Hector began work as a child…

Natalie Bunner, MSW, LCSW, CYC-P
Lafayette, LA

Natalie Bunner has been advocating for children, youth, families and caregivers for over 20 years. She has been a member of ACYCP for over 15 years, serving on the national board and participating in state, national and international CYC events as a presenter. As a facilitator of the Child and Youth Care Foundational Course, she…

James Freeman

James Freeman, MA, CYC-P
Senior Trainer
Camarillo, CA

James Freeman, MA, CYC-P is the director of training at Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families in southern California. He has over two decades of direct experience in out-of-school, education, family camping, residential, and community based programs and has served as an international child and youth care consultant with a background in organizational development…

Frankie McMurry

Frankie McMurrey, MS
Senior Trainer
Fort Worth, TX

Frankie McMurrey’s career in youth development began when she took over management of a large child care center serving children ages 6 months to 12 years.  Coming into the child care field from a career in banking was quite a transition but certainly learning came with experience.  After 7 years, the business was sold and…

Jerriann Chandler-Ochoa, MS, CYC-P
Los Angeles, CA

Jerriann Chandler-Ochoa is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and graduate from the School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary. She has worked in mental health for over 19 years in various settings ranging from schools to group homes to community mental health. At Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services in Los Angeles, California, she has…

Sister Madeleine Rybicki, MA, CYC-P
Cleveland, OH

Sister Madeleine is a national and international trainer and consultant.  She has a BS degree in Education from Duquesne University and an MA in Child Development and Child Care from the University of Pittsburgh where she received the Special Department Alumni Award in 2008.  Sister is a member of the religious congregation of the Sisters…

Tammy Hopper

Tammy Hopper, MS, CYC-P
Louisville, KY

Tammy Hopper currently serves as the Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer for the National Safe Place Network. She has almost 30 years of experience working with and on behalf of youth via direct care, supervisory and clinical roles. As a youth care professional dedicated to positive systems change, Tammy has served as a lead advocate and…

Mark Wolf, MSW, CYC-P
Louisville, KY

Mark Wolf has been since 2012 the Training Director for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC). RHYTTAC is a program of the National Safe Place Network.  Prior to his work at RHYTTAC, Mark served as the Director of the K-Town Youth Empowerment Network for Tennessee Voices for Children, a SAMHSA…

Kim Frierson, MS, CYC-P
Louisville, KY

Kim Frierson is the current Training Specialist at RHYTTAC, the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center. In this role, she assists in coordinating RHYTTAC training opportunities, creating and researching content for trainings, and planning the annual RHYTTAC conference. Previously, she spent six years as a Residential Case Manager at YMCA Safe Place…

Stacy L. Meadows, MSSW, CSW, CYC-A
Louisville, KY

Stacy Meadows is a Certified Social Worker in the state of Kentucky. She has an MSSW from the University of Louisville and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work from Spalding University. She completed the Public Child Welfare Certification Program and then worked for the local Department for Community Based Service conducting intake and…

Katie Carter, MPA
Louisville, KY

Katie Carter is the Director of Research, Education, and Public Policy at National Safe Place Network, where she coordinates training opportunities and services for member agencies. She holds a Masters of Public Affairs from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and spent five years at a state-level youth advocacy organization, leading efforts on…

Eric Tadatada, BS, CYC-A
Louisville, KY

Eric Tadatada provides technical assistance via telephone, on-site or on-line to Runaway and Homeless Youth grantees for RHYTTAC. In addition he assists with the preparation of reports for Federal Project Officers as well as presenting and planning Technical Assistance clinics. He has supervised and worked in youth programming for 21 years. This experience includes basic…

Shauna Brooks, MSSW, CYC-P
Knoxville, TN

Shauna Brooks found her rightful place as a social worker after fifteen years of project management experience in the information technology field.  She started her first job as a youth care worker with the Florence Crittenton Agency (FCA) in 2010 while enrolled in the College of Social Work bachelor’s program at the University of Tennessee…

April Carthorn, BA, CYC-P
Knoxville, TN

April Carthorn is the membership manager and a training & technical assistance specialist at National Safe Place Network. April brings over 30 years of education and on-the-ground work experience on behalf of youth, young adults and their families that includes runaway & homeless youth, child welfare and education systems. She is driven by empathy for…

Deborah A. Michelle Hurley, BS, CYC-P
Louisville, Kentucky

Michelle Hurley, CSW, CYC-P, has passionately advocated for youth since 2011 and currently serves as the Program Advocate for National Safe Place Network (NSPN), providing training, technical assistance, and program support for youth organizations across the United States. Michelle is deeply committed to striving toward NSPN’s vision of a world where all youth are safe…

Elizabeth Smith Miller, MS, CYC-P
St. Augustine, FL

Mrs. Elizabeth Smith Miller is a business and communications professional who has been personally and professionally connected to the youth and family services field for more than 27 years. She is a licensed foster parent and an adoptive parent who is actively engaged in the child welfare community. Smith Miller has lived experience which helps…

Opeyemi Olajide Olowookere
Tulsa, OK

Opeyemi is the Executive Director of the Global Support for Kids Initiative (GSK Initiative), a community-based non-profit and non-governmental organization with headquarter in Nigeria. He is a current Board member and International Advisor to the Association for Child and Youth Care Practice (ACYCP), also the Principal Partner/CEO of Hope Diamond Int’l Resources Ltd, a professional…

Mallory Deptola, MA
Philadelphia, PA

Mallory has been in youth work for over 15 years.  Before receiving her Master’s of Art in Teaching, she had always been drawn to opportunities to interact with children and youth.  Her path has led her to working in daycares and summer camps, designing curriculum and events as a program manager with the Girl Scouts…

Britta Jerdee, BA, CYC-P
Milwaukee, WI, She/Her/Hers

During my time at The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, a spark of passion for child and youth care was ignited when I began volunteering as a mentor for an after school leadership program. After earning my Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy I became a Teen Leadership Coordinator and have since held many positions including;…

Maddie MacKenzie
Philadelphia, PA

Maddie attended Ursinus College, where she majored in Peace and Social Justice Studies and participated in Bonner Leaders (a leadership and civic engagement program that focused on community service). She has had years of volunteer experience working at summer camps and after-school programs with younger children throughout college and high school, but she found her…

George Weatherford, MEd, CYC
Beaverton, OR

George Weatherford has been working with youth and families since somewhat reluctantly volunteering at drop-in center for LGBTQ+ youth in the 1990s in Seattle.  He has worked since then in school programs, after school programs, camps, spiritually based youth programs and more.  He also has a Masters degree from the Peaceable Schools Program at Lesley…

Robert Babcock, MEd, CYC-P
Noblesville, IN

Robert is a Regional Program Manager with AYS Inc. overseeing before and after care programs in 9 charter and parochial schools. Robert has worked in youth care and education settings for 16+ years, working with youth of all levels. As an out of school time specialist, Robert has dedicated his career to the professionalization of…

Latoya Bernice Gilbert, MA, CYC-P
Charlotte, NC

Latoya Bernice is the founder and Executive Director of One Accord Global Inc. and House Mother of the Sanctuary Centre, a therapeutic group home in Charlotte, NC.  Gilbert took special interest in studies in which exposure to the outdoors could decrease behavioral, social, and relational problems in youth.  Upon completion of an intensive master’s program…

Abby May

Abby May, MEd, CYC-P
Michigan City, IN

Abby May is the Director of MCAS Safe Harbor, a 21st Century Community Learning Center. She holds a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree with a concentration in Human Behavior & Society and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. May also holds a certification from Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy in Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities. In 2018, May…

Christen Peterson, MS, CYC-P
Brownsburg, IN

Christen is a proud Youth Worker who has spent the last 15 years of her career in Out-of-School-Time Programming. Her time in afterschool has been spent in community-based outreach programs, leading international service learning trips, managing traditional center-based afterschool programs, and releasing her inner child during summer camp! She truly believes that the greatest gift…

Erin Shanayda, BS, CYC-A
Indianapolis, IN

Erin Shanayda is the Training Director for the Youth Development Center at the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis.  She is a proud Certified Youth Care Practitioner and has been working with youth for 10 years. Erin has served in many capacities in the youth field including Before and After School Site Director, Summer Day Camp Coordinator,…

Mistie Timmons, BS, CYC-P
Fishers, IN

Mistie Timmons has proudly been a youth worker for more than 25 years in both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Her passion for seeing youth and youth workers experience an “aha” moment is still the highlight of her career.

Pamela A. Clark, MSW, CYC-P
Columbus, IN

Mrs. Clark is an independent consultant and trainer specializing in youth development and leadership. She previously served as Director of the Bartholomew County Youth Services Center, and as Executive Director of the Foundation for Youth of Bartholomew County, Inc., and the Bartholomew County Youth Advocacy Commission. Mrs. Clark served four years as a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff, and was a volunteer in the U.S. Peace Corps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA).

Andrew Young, BS, CYC-P
Bloomington, IN

Andrew Young is a native of Bloomington, IN and graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Outdoor Rec and Parks Administration. Experiential education and learning through doing has been a lifelong passion. While working in a camp setting for the beginning of his career, Andy has since moved on to Youth Development in a larger sense.

Jamie Scott

Jamie Scott, CYC-P
Indianapolis, IN

Jaimie serves as the Youth Program Coordinator of a local non-profit in Indianapolis, Indiana. She started her career in youth work at just 17 years old. She likes to joke that, “Jamie didn’t find youth work. Youth Work found Jamie.”

Michael M. Long, CYC-A
Muncie, IN

Michael is currently the Program Director for Ball State University/MuncieP3
at Longfellow Elementary School in Muncie, IN. He has over 40 years of experience working with children and youth as a Youth Pastor, Day Care Director, Coach, and Mentor.

Mona Abrams, BA
Los Angeles, CA

Mona Abrams is currently employed with Aviva Family and Children’s Services as a residential counselor for the last 12 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from University of Southern California. Mona enjoys boxing and working out in her free time. She is passionate in regards to working with adolescent females…

Henrietta Komras, MEd
Los Angeles, CA

Henrietta is the Training and Organizational Specialist at Aviva Family and Children’s Center in Los Angeles, California.  She bring 20+ years of experience as a consultant and learning facilitator. She has extensive experience in designing and facilitating soft skills training programs in: leadership and management skills, communication, coaching, conflict management, and performance appraisal.

Keetha Colson, MA, CYC-P
Los Angeles, CA

My name is Keetha M. Colson and I am a CYC practitioner. I have worked in the field of social services for 16 years. I always had the desire to listen to others and try to help them figure out the best way to solve their problems.  I decided to go to school and obtain…

Jennifer Engel, MS
Pittsburgh, PA

Jennifer began her career in afterschool as an Americorps member with the I Have a Dream Foundation in 1998.  Following her year of service, she joined Sarah Heinz House, a Boys & Girls Club, as the Girls’ Program Director and was responsible for girls’ programming, resident camp, and the Keystone Club, a leadership development group…

Sharon Schweninger, MEd
Pittsburgh, PA

Sharon Schweninger has been working and playing with children for over 40 years in a variety of settings including public school classrooms, after school programs, child development centers, Scout troops, parent support groups,  and church groups.   Being a lifelong learner, Sharon has earned a  M Ed with many post graduate credits in child and youth-related…

Tone Reyes, AS, CYC-P
Camarillo, CA

Tone Reyes is a Training Specialist at Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families. He holds an associate degree in criminal justice and is a licensed group home administrator by the California Department of Social Services.  He is a co-author of the Safe Environments for Learning and GrowthTM curriculum and chief designer of Seaville, Casa Pacifica’s multi-sensory de-escalation room.…

Lynn Hendren, BA
Melbourne, FL

Lynn has been working within the Child Welfare field for the past 21 years. She has been a Certified Child Welfare Trainer for the State of Florida for 10 years and holds certifications as a Child Protection Professional as well as a Supervising for Excellence Trainer. She is a certified Model Approach to Partnership and…

Elizabeth Ann Brown, MS, CYC-A
Baton Rouge, LA

Elizabeth has developed and implemented curricula and programs for children, youth, and youth care providers which focus on personal growth, self-discipline, and character development.  She emphasizes the use of the arts, athletics, life skills, mentoring, team building, and the service learning.  She has taught youth and youth care providers for 32 years. Elizabeth is an approved trainer…

Angie Courville, BA, CYC
Natchitoches, LA

Angie is currently the Personnel Director of Cane River Children’s Services, a residential treatment facility for adolescent females in Natchitoches, Louisiana, where she has served as the primary trainer to Direct Care staff for over 12 years. She has had over 25 years experience in the field of Youth Services, and is a member of the…

Tamela Aidt, CYC
New Orleans, LA

Tamela ‘Tammi’ Aidt is currently the Manager of Social Services at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. From 2007-2010 Tammi served as the Vice-President of the Therapeutic Foster Care division for the Louisiana Association of Child Care Agencies.

Simone Brewer, BA, CYC-A
Indianapolis, IN

Simone has had the pleasure of training and developing people for the past 15 years in various types of youth-serving arenas. It brings her great delight to watch people grow and succeed in their chosen careers, and for teams to succeed and accomplish the goals and mission set by their company.