Child Protection Specialist
A native of the South Carolina Lowcountry, CJ is passionate about educating his community around the mental, emotional, and physical effects of trauma on a person’s wellbeing. Before joining the team at Darkness to Light, CJ coordinated the volunteer program for his local child advocacy, domestic violence, and rape crisis center in Beaufort, SC as well as organizing and facilitating child abuse prevention and response community education efforts.
CJ has a bachelor’s degree from Mercer University in political science and journalism. He is also working on his master’s degree in international relations from the Harvard Extension School. When not working or studying, CJ enjoys baking old favorites and trying new challenges ranging from chocolate chip cookies to a croquembouche. Then he burns off some of those calories during spin class, running, and exploring local trails.
Favorite quote: “Our greatest monument on this earth won’t be what we build, but the lives we touch.”
President and Chief Executive Officer
Katelyn N. Brewer
High energy, entrepreneurial executive, Katelyn N. Brewer, is passionate about empowering people, organizations, and communities to enhance the impact of social movements. As President & CEO of Darkness to Light, the nation’s leading advocate for the prevention of child sexual abuse, her expertise in transforming organizational cultures, achieving programmatic scale, and implementing behavior change communication lends invaluable insight to the larger conversation of child protection as a collective adult responsibility.
Since 2016, Katelyn’s leadership has resulted in exponential growth in programmatic reach and increased standing as a chief influencer in the space of child safety. Through education, advocacy, and research, Darkness to Light continues to revolutionize the way society keeps children safe from abuse.
Previous to Darkness to Light, Katelyn was Chief of Operations for Washington, D.C. based Children of Fallen Patriots, a foundation committed to supporting the children of military veterans, with a focus on increasing transparency and accountability. Prior to that, Brewer worked with Africare as Director of Strategic Engagement, managing Johannesburg-based programmatic activity and regional business development initiatives for Southern and Eastern Africa.
Katelyn’s dedication to innovation, emerging technologies, and cross-team alignment empower nonprofits to achieve critical social goals. Her work has resulted in sustainable change for communities, both nationally and internationally. Katelyn continually demonstrates that grassroots community initiatives lay the groundwork for organizations to expand their missions globally.
Katelyn is a graduate of Wheaton College in Boston, MA with a bachelor’s in International Relations and French. She lives in Charleston, SC.
Senior Facilitator Success Manager
Mayra Cardenas is originally from Lima, Peru. She immigrated to the United States in 2006; since that time, she has worked serving the most vulnerable through advocacy, education, and meaningful access to interpretation. Mayra graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2015. Upon her graduation, Mayra immediately immersed herself in the child welfare field. She began working for a child advocacy center as the Prevention Education Specialist and provided Stewards of Children nationally and internationally in both English and Spanish. In addition to working for Darkness to Light, Mayra is currently a bilingual forensic interviewer and serves as a faculty member for the Baltimore Child Abuse Center. Mayra is highly trained in the trauma-informed field, she has ample experience helping people (children and adults) navigate communities and systems to acquire mental health services and/or resources. She volunteers for several organizations helping the most vulnerable either on boards or serving as an advocate for immigrants and unaccompanied minors. She currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with her husband and son.
Senior Grants Manager
Jessica Chevis, GPC
Jessica joined Darkness to Light in August 2020. As Grants Manager, she guides Darkness to Light’s institutional giving efforts, collaborating with team members across the organization to identify, secure, and steward grants from foundations, corporations, and government agencies. Prior to joining Darkness to Light, Jessica worked in the arts and higher education fields as a grant professional and proposal writer, generating support for programs, operations, and capital projects from institutional and individual donors. Her work at the LSU Foundation, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, UC Berkeley’s Cal Performances, and the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans has yielded several million dollars in funding.
Jessica earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Loyola University New Orleans and her master’s degree in arts administration from the University of New Orleans. She is Grant Professional Certified (GPC) by the Grant Professionals Certification Institute and is a member of the Grant Professionals Association.
What did you want to be when you were little?
A Broadway star, but I settled on the very realistic dream of doing musical theater during high school instead.
Something that may surprise you…
I’m a seventh-generation New Orleanian. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Child Protection Program Coordinator
Andrea DeBell, M. Ed.
Andrea joined Darkness to Light in 2021 as the Social Behavior Change Program Coordinator. She spent most of her life in the education field in different capacities such as a teacher, school administrator, and online program coordinator. She earned her B.A. in Education and Languages from Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and an M.A. in Education with a concentration in Instructional Technology from Baylor University.
Being originally from Brazil, Andrea witnessed a large number of children of all ages living on the streets, which sprouted a passion and lifelong mission to help provide better lives for children. Since then, she has purposefully worked in organizations that help provide a safe environment for children and/or endeavor to create equitable and just solutions for childcare.
In her spare time, Andrea enjoys going on hikes, spending time with her family, watching movies, and taking long walks while listening to audiobooks.
Two of my favorite quotes: “We rise by lifting others” and “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”
Something that may surprise you… I am into wellness and mindfulness. I have been meditating for over 15 years and practicing yoga since my teens.
Prevention Education Manager
Sarah Eadon, MSW
Sarah relocated from Cleveland, OH in 2017 to work as an AmeriCorps VISTA for a small non-profit in Charleston, SC. A native Ohioan, Sarah holds an MSW from Case Western Reserve University and a BA in Psychology from Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!). Before moving to the Lowcountry, she served as the Director of Social Work for the CWRU Student-Run Free Clinic and spent a year living in Holland working as an au-pair for a family of five. Prior to Darkness to Light, Sarah worked for almost three years as Program Manager for a non-profit that focused on providing grief support programs to children and was a member of a task force charged with creating a grief support toolkit for the National Alliance for Grieving Children.
Through her service as a VISTA, Sarah found her passion for non-profit organizations and has utilized her skills and experiences to support nonprofits build capacity to expand their reach in the community. She loves the opportunity and enjoys volunteering with organizations like the Junior League of Charleston and Charleston Hope. After working with domestic violence survivors and Veterans, Sarah found a passion for supporting & empowering survivors of trauma and is thrilled to work at Darkness to Light. In her free time, Sarah enjoys kickboxing, training for half marathons, or going on adventures with friends and family.
What did you want to be when you were little?
I absolutely love basketball!! As a kid, I was determined that I was going to be in the WNBA, despite being slightly height-challenged.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Our family trip to the UK! It was filled with fun, family, and a newfound love of ham sandwiches with buttered bread. It was so much fun to run around the Edinburgh castle and see some of the country where my Great-Grandparents lived!
Director of Social Behavior Change
Lia joined Darkness to Light in 2019 as the team’s Social Behavior Change Manager. In this role, she is responsible for using a data-driven approach to assess and address conditions that advance prevention-oriented cultures. From partnering with municipalities to co-creating with communities, Lia helps to develop suitable and sustainable behavior change solutions.
As an award-winning public health professional, Lia has chaired community coalitions and directed multidisciplinary behavior change initiatives throughout the Carolinas. Prior to Darkness to Light, she was responsible for guiding community champions and industry leaders in the development of tobacco prevention policies, securing grants to support community garden development work, strengthening community relationships to enhance injury prevention efforts, directing the efforts of a multi-year community health assessment, and implementing evidence-based programs to address county-wide priority health issues.
Lia is certified as both a Change Management Professional and a Health Education Specialist. She graduated from Mississippi State University with a master’s in health promotion and a bachelor’s in communications. In her free time, Lia loves to do karaoke with friends or play board games with her husband, daughter, and son.
One of my favorite quotes… “When in doubt, do the generous thing.”
Something that may surprise you… In 2011, I made a list of all my fears, then I scratched out the title and turned it into my ‘Year of Yes’ list. I discovered that living a fearless existence is like having a superpower.
Director of Marketing and Business Development
Tanyelle joined Darkness to Light in May 2021, bringing with her a wealth of experience in marketing and fundraising. A graduate of Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD, she has spent the last seven years working in nonprofit, where she hopes to spend the rest of her career.
Prior to joining Darkness to Light, Tanyelle worked her way up to Director of Marketing & Communications at The ALS Association – DC/MD/VA Chapter, where she engaged in the globally successful awareness and fundraising campaign, The Ice Bucket Challenge. Most recently, she spearheaded the development of a successful digital fundraising program as Director of Digital Marketing for the National Foundation for Cancer Research.
Tanyelle resides in her hometown of New York City with her husband Daniel and sons JT, 3, and Ryder, 9 mos. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading and baking. She is passionate about charitable causes, and even hopes to one day start her own.
In the meantime, Tanyelle is excited to introduce new marcom and fundraising strategies that will help Darkness to Light expand the scope of its mission and more quickly realize its vision of “a world free of child sexual abuse.”
Jennifer Graves, M.S.
Jennifer is passionate about protecting children and life-long learning. For four years, Jennifer worked as a music educator at title one schools in the suburbs of Chicago. There, she led district curriculum changes, trained teachers on software implementation, and managed the music program. She has worked for various nonprofit organizations creating curriculum for after-school programs.
In 2017 Jennifer graduated with her Master’s of Science degree in Music Education from Indiana University where she studied learning theory, evaluative assessment, and education philosophy. She received her Bachelor’s in Music Performance from San Jose State University. Jennifer grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She enjoys gardening, embroidery, and spending time with her furbaby Tony.
What did you want to be when you were little?
I wanted to be a flight attendant, so I could travel all over the world.
Meg joined Darkness to Light’s Communication Department in May 2021. As a marketing associate, Meg aides in the creation and management of social media content and digital marketing.
Meg is a Charleston-native and a graduate of the College of Charleston, where she earned her B.A. in Communication. After years of volunteering at various charities and organizations, Meg knew she wanted to pursue a career in the non-profit sector and was ecstatic for the opportunity to join Darkness to Light’s team.
Carol grew up in Lancaster, SC. She lived in Missouri, Kentucky, and Alabama before returning to her home state and has lived in Charleston, SC for 25 years. Carol graduated from Charleston Southern University with a Bachelor of Science and from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Religious Education. She has served as the Executive Director for a 24-hour crisis helpline, worked in and served on the Program Advisory Group for the second revision of Stewards of Children®. She has been a Stewards of Children® Authorized Facilitator since 2007 and a Certifying Instructor since 2008. As a teenager, Carol admired the bohemian lifestyle (a.k.a. hippies), Gloria Steinem, and Ralph Nader. She’s been referred to as a rebel with a cause. Today her cause is the prevention of child sexual abuse. Carol and her husband Marty have raised three awesome young adults.
Lindsey was born and raised in the rural settings of Minnesota. She received her BBA and MBA from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Prior to Darkness to Light, Lindsey spent five years working for a military non-profit that focused on education, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. Through this experience, Lindsey realized her love for non-profit organizations and the joy that comes from serving a meaningful mission. Honing in on her operational skills, Lindsey joined Darkness to Light as the Operations Manager and is thrilled to be part of such an enthusiastic team, supporting an undeniable mission.
What did you want to be when you were little? Growing up on a farm I thought for sure I would be a Veterinarian!
What is the best vacation you’ve ever been on? Hands down, Glacier National Park in Montana – the beauty is breathtaking and the activities are endless!
Tracy has been a Stewards of Children® Authorized Facilitator since 2014, a Certified Instructor since 2016, and was named Instructor of the Year in 2021. She earned her BA in psychology from Albion College, an MFA from the Professional Theatre Training Program at UW Milwaukee and a MA in Organizational Psychology from the University of the Rockies. Her background as a classroom teacher, school leader, and public education manager have uniquely positioned her to create change in the arena of child sexual abuse prevention.
She has presented at several national conferences on topics related to ACEs, trauma, resilience, and abuse prevention. In addition to her role with Darkness to Light, Tracy serves as a College and Career Advisor to low-income, first-generation students in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a featured writer (and former Managing Editor) for San Francisco Bay Area Moms.
Tracy, her husband Matt, and their two teens live in Dublin, California where you will find her volunteering with her daughter at the East Bay SPCA, serving on the bond oversight committee for the school district and on the Advisory Council for Cal State East Bay’s Transformative Leadership in Disruptive Times certificate program.
Virginie Murphy is passionate about non-profit organizations and charity work and came to Darkness to Light from Palmetto Goodwill where she held the Financial Controller position.
A French native, she moved to Charleston in 2001. She studied and graduated from the Pink City, Toulouse, France where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance and an extra 2-year Accounting and Management degree. She has extensive experience in management and accounting. Virginie has a love for tennis and plays regularly in the local tennis league and tournaments, both in singles and doubles. Her most favorite view are sunsets and sunrises, and the colors they bring; she is a passionate photographer and loves to capture these beautiful views with her camera. A self-proclaimed wine buff, she enjoys a glass of quality Sancerre while socializing with close friends and family, has a weakness for a good piece of chocolate too.
She loves to travel and see new places and make new memories but is also quite content to sit in her backyard listen to the birds and enjoying a cup of coffee.
Director of Curriculum Design
Rhonda Newton, M.Ed.
Rhonda joined Darkness to Light in September 2020 as the team’s Director of Curriculum Design. In this role, she is responsible for advancing the scale and impact of Darkness to Light’s prevention work by increasing the current course catalog of adult-focused training. She assesses new technologies, researches adult learning trends, and works with a variety of stakeholders across departments to analyze requirements needed to meet learning objectives and behavior change targets.
Rhonda brings with her over a decade of experience as an educator, curriculum specialist, and instructional designer at both the K-12 and university level. She has her B.A. in French and Spanish, an M.Ed. in Learning and Technology, and her Ph.D. research is centered around game-based learning and prosocial skill development.
Rhonda is a passionate individual with a personal mission to create safe, welcoming spaces for all individuals, whether that is virtually or in real life.
What did you want to be when you were little?
I wanted to be a teacher. Turned out I did become one and I loved every minute of that journey.
Something that may surprise you…
I write fantasy fiction and romance short stories in my free time.
Social Behavior Change Research & Evaluation Specialist
Amy Nguyen, MSPH
Amy Nguyen is a public health researcher. In her role at Darkness to Light, she is responsible for research and evaluation required for innovative programming that can better address the social dimensions of child sexual abuse prevention. She will oversee efforts to develop and test innovative behavior change solutions to improve prevention behaviors in adults to better protect children. She is responsible for ensuring that all of Darkness to Light’s decisions are informed by data.
Prior to Darkness to Light, she worked as a researcher on various projects focused on the impacts of environmental stress, such as poverty and acculturation, on children and families. She aided in the implementation and evaluation of programs to help build resilience in children and families who face heightened levels of stress. Similarly, Amy also worked on research examining adolescent development and how aspects of urban neighborhoods, school, and family contexts affect an adolescent’s resilience, beliefs, and behaviors.
Amy acquired her Masters of Science in Public Health (MSPH) focused on Health Education and Health Communication from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a certificate in Health Advocacy. She received her Bachelor of Science from Pennsylvania State University in Biobehavioral Health with a minor in Psychology. She is passionate about advocacy, adolescent mental and sexual health, immigrant health, and social behavior change programming. Beyond public health, Amy’s other passion is photography where she aims to create timeless, creative, and fun portraits that depict the stories of those around her.
Cindy came to Darkness to Light in 2020 from the tourism industry in Charleston. Originally from Memphis, TN, she graduated from the University of Memphis with a BBA in Accounting and a minor in Finance. Since relocating to Charleston over thirty years ago, she has many years of accounting experience in various industries ranging from ophthalmologists to auto repair shops to churches. Cindy is also experienced in customer service as she followed her passion for reading and served as a manager at Barnes and Noble for a time.
Cindy is thrilled to be a member of the Darkness to Light team and is very enthusiastic about providing support to the passionate professionals who educate others about the prevention of child sexual abuse. Cindy is the proud parent of three successful, adult sons and one black and tan miniature dachshund. In her spare time, she reads and watches entirely too much Netflix.
Adam Stairs, M.Ed.
Adam Stairs is an Instructional Technologist over 10 years of higher education experience. He holds an M.Ed. in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Regent University, and a BS in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Darkness to Light, he worked for West Virginia University and California University of Pennsylvania in a variety of roles including Instructional Designer, Application Developer, and Web Designer. He has extensive experience in student support services through technology, faculty distance education support, and instructional design for traditional and non-traditional students.
Adam lives in Southwest Pennsylvania with his wife and two sons, and enjoys coaching youth soccer and spending time outside whenever possible. When asked about his hobbies, he’ll tell you, “It seems I’m constantly mired in remodeling projects but that is mostly my own doing…” When he was younger an
What did you want to be when you were little?
Whenever I was younger I told my mother that my plan for when I grew up was to hit the lottery and live a life of leisure. I was an ambitious child… Didn’t quite work out that way, but getting the opportunity to affect positive change is just as good!
Vice President of Operations and Culture
Victoria brings extensive experience leading global HR programs including incentive plan design, strategy and process development, and culture building.
Prior to joining Darkness to Light, Victoria spent over 10 years at large public companies like Hitachi, Tesla, and Johnson & Johnson where she led HR functions. In addition, she’s held several strategic roles and board positions at non-profits including the Asian Business League of San Francisco, and Project by Project. Victoria also acted as an adjunct Professor for Finance at Menlo College and was an HR Consultant for Alliance Public schools in Los Angeles. She holds a BA in HR Management and Psychology with a concentration in Organizational Leadership and Business Administration, and a Masters in HR Management.
Anna Warner is a storyteller and visual artist with a passion for social impact design. Her background includes disaster relief communications in the Philippines, authoring articles and shooting photos for numerous publications, and freelance design work. She coauthored of Beyond the Wall: Migrants, Migration and the Border, a long-form investigative journalism book on the impact of Mexican migration to Southern California. She presented research on visual representation, cultural connotations, and implicit bias against refugees in the European media at the AEJMC national conference in 2018. As part of an award-winning start-up pitch, she designed targeted intervention communication strategies for specific anti-vaxx audiences averse to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
She has also participated in volunteer urban relief efforts, from teaching English to Middle Eastern refugees in Greece, volunteering with DACA students in Southern California migrant communities, to mentoring highschoolers in her hometown of Charleston, SC. In her spare time, she loves mystery novels, dreaming about her next big travel plans, and eating good food with great friends. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Integrated Media from the Torrey Honors College at Biola University and a professional certification in Social Impact Storytelling from Georgetown University. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Social Innovation from the University of Cambridge.
What’s one thing people might not know about you? I’m a PADI certified scuba-diver!