Chief Partner Engagement Officer
I will live what I teach, support, and believe to build a better community for my children and others.
Eric provides strategic leadership for emerging prevention programs such as Family Resource Centers while continuing to oversee the home visiting program. He joined the team in 2010 and played a key role in building a statewide home visiting infrastructure that is well-respected nationally and across our state. He also was instrumental in the expansion of the Strengthening Families Program across the state.
He currently serves on the board of directors for the Association of State and Tribal Home Visiting Initiatives (ASTHVI), a two-year term that began in 2020. When the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) funding was up for renewal by the U.S. Congress in 2018, Eric testified before the House of Representatives Ways and Means Subcommittee on Humans Resources to help ensure continued support for home visiting across the nation. Additionally, he has managed nearly $81 million in federal home visiting funds during the course of his tenure at Children’s Trust.
Prior to joining the organization, he had a long career in human services, youth development, and health education.
A native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Eric holds a bachelor’s degree in health promotion from Coastal Carolina University and remains a big fan of the Chanticleers. He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society and the Eta Sigma Gamma national health education honor society.
Community Coalitions Assistant
Lela provides administrative support for the Child Well-Being Coalition and Empower Action community coalitions by recording and distributing minutes, coordinating meetings, and assisting with data collection on the research and evaluation team.
A graduate of the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management and a minor in Spanish, Lela previously worked in student housing as a housing consultant with an area apartment complex.
Courtney assists with planning, organizing, implementing and evaluating home visiting, which includes support for contracted training deliverables and conference-related events for home visiting and prevention initiatives. She supports maintenance of ongoing contact with prevention professionals, including evaluations, coordination of on-site and regional trainings, and contact for technical assistance needs.
She previously served four years as a community specialist with the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice. She earned a bachelor’s degree in child and family studies from Columbia College.
Dana Powell, M.Ed.
Community Engagement and Training Coordinator
I believe that when children thrive, there is hope for a better world.
In her role, Dana establishes parent advisory councils, empowers parent members to be advocates for all parents in their community by engaging in community coalitions, and ensures parents have the tools and resources they need to guarantee protective factors are in place both for them and their children.
Prior to joining Children’s Trust, she worked with the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy for nearly 10 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education from Carson-Newman University and a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from the University of South Carolina. In addition, Dana is a certified speaker, trainer and coach with the John Maxwell Team.
Family Engagement and Resource Coordinator
Early childhood development has always been a passion of mine. My mission is to help others understand how critical the early years of a child's life are, and to support, inform, and advocate for giving every child a great childhood.
Sarah provides support and monitoring functions for the home visiting program by guiding the implementation and oversight activities of local Nurse-Family Partnership sites with a specific focus on technical assistance, evidence-based programming, program fidelity, and early childhood resource development. Additionally, Sarah is coordinating the design and development of a statewide family resource center (FRC) network that strengthens support for South Carolina’s families through partnership building.
She previously fulfilled administrative and coordination functions for the expansion of the Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) intervention system, interacting with the Triple P South Carolina governing, support, and delivery systems.
Her prior work experience came with Parents as Teachers, Communities In Schools, and Early Head Start. Sarah graduated from UNC Charlotte with a bachelor’s degree in child and family development and a minor in psychology. Her sorority, Kappa Delta, is a leader nationally in assisting child abuse prevention efforts, and it partners with Children’s Trust in this state.
Director of Community and Workforce Development
I believe we have to make connections to better serve families and strengthen communities.
Michael fulfills training and workforce development needs with a focus on the statewide Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Initiative. He leads our train-the-trainer workshops and creates professional development and peer networking opportunities. He also is a facilitator for Empower Action coalitions and assists with the biennial Building Hope for Children Conference. A certified trainer in ACEs and the protective factors, Michael previously guided statewide awareness campaigns as communication manager.
His experience growing up as the only biological child in a foster family exposed him to the widespread issues of child abuse and neglect. It was this experience that led him to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector, especially in support of child welfare. Before joining the organization, Michael served Anderson Interfaith Ministries (AIM) with roles in marketing communications, development and community relations. He’s a graduate of Anderson University with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing.