Sherri Caldwell

Director of Community Initiatives

My favorite quote is, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

Sherri works directly with our SFP coordinators and partners on implementing the program across South Carolina. Her duties include coordinating training, coaching and technical support, managing regional coordinators, and budget oversight.

Her goal is to be a part of a community that ensures families have the best SFP experience by creating powerful memories one family at a time.

A graduate of South Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in individual and family development, Sherri has worked for 18 years in the nonprofit sector in community advocacy, education, program implementation, youth development, and training and development.

Sherri Caldwell

Director of Community Initiatives

803-744-4024

scaldwell@scchildren.org

Karen Dukes-Smith, M.A., M.Ed

Senior Strengthening Families Program Coordinator

I am committed to being a voice for children, a voice for fathers and families, and a voice for the voiceless and the vulnerable. I model my commitment to scripture that says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” 

Karen’s primary duties include coordinating training, coaching and consultation, program development, quality assurance and technical support for prevention efforts across the state.

Prior to joining Children’s Trust, she served as executive director of Youth Voices Inc., a nonprofit teen pregnancy prevention program and youth development organization for 12 years. She has a long history as an advocate for various agencies, including Richland District 1, Family Service Center of South Carolina, and the S.C. Department of Social Services.

A longtime community service volunteer, she currently serves as vice chairwoman of the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition, which has a mission of engaging fathers in the positive support of their children and enhancing community support for fatherhood throughout the Midlands. Karen earned a bachelor’s degree from Benedict College, a master’s of education from Cambridge College (Mass.), and a second master’s degree in organizational change and leadership from Columbia College.

Karen Dukes-Smith, M.A., M.Ed

Senior Strengthening Families Program Coordinator

803-744-4045

kdukessmith@scchildren.org

Lillian Garcia

Strengthening Families Program Coordinator

I lead with my heart and use my skills to create a better world for families and children through education, justice and opportunity.

Lillian works as a SFP coordinator in the Upstate area coordinating training, coaching and supporting our partners in that area.

Before joining Children’s Trust, Lillian, who is fluent in Spanish and English, served over seven years with the Greenville Health System Children’s Advocacy Department as a bilingual special project coordinator. Her role in this position was to educate children, families, and community partners on child injury prevention and child safety as well as community outreach. She also previously worked as the first Hispanic/bilingual victim advocate at the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, where she found her true calling and passion for helping others.

A New York native who grew up in Puerto Rico, Lillian has an associate’s degree in physical therapy, bachelor’s degree in human services and a master’s degree in management and leadership. She is certified as a trainer in adverse childhood experiences, the Strengthening Families Program, BabyNet SC Part C, Positive Discipline Parent Educator, National Child Passenger Safety, Safe Kids Worldwide, and Bureau of Justice, Human Trafficking Train-the-Trainer.

Lillian Garcia

Strengthening Families Program Coordinator

803-744-4056

lgarcia@scchildren.org

Coretta Jamison

Strengthening Families Program Coordinator

I will strengthen relationships and build capacity with local partners and serve as a conduit for resources to strengthen families in the Lowcountry.

Coretta coordinates SFP in the Lowcountry, where she provides training, coaching, and support for local partners.

Prior to joining Children’s Trust, Coretta worked six years as the project director and victim services provider for Voorhees College. She was responsible for creating a coordinated community response to addressing sexual and interpersonal violence on the campus.

With a bachelor’s degree in social work from Winthrop University and a master’s degree in education from Columbia College, Coretta spent the first 18 years of her career working in the field of adolescent pregnancy prevention and sexual health.

Coretta Jamison

Strengthening Families Program Coordinator

803-744-4059

cjamison@scchildren.org

Lauren Szymonik

Strengthening Families Program Coordinator

In life and work, I want to fuel people and communities so that each of us can see and believe in our potential and dare to live the life of our dreams.

Lauren leads resilience programming and coalition building in the Pee Dee region. She coaches communities and local partners in team and program development through the Strengthening Families Program and the Empower Action initiative.

Her work centers around building stronger families and communities so every child can have the healthy, happy childhoods they deserve. Lauren is passionate about ensuring that all children have the opportunity to live their best life, and as an ACE master trainer and trauma supportive trainer, she is able to bring resilience and well-being to the forefront of our culture.

A native of Encinitas, California, she earned a bachelor’s degree in global studies from UCLA.

Lauren Szymonik

Strengthening Families Program Coordinator

803-744-4065

lszymonik@scchildren.org