We couldn’t do all that we do for kids without our wonderful staff! Below are the people who help make it all happen.
Patty Eagar has been executive director since June 1997. She is responsible for the leadership and management of Advocates and its $1,600,000 annual budget. She is a native of southeastern Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Business Administration from The Colorado College. She spent six years with IBM, 14 years as a manufacturing entrepreneur, and two years as a manufacturers’ representative before joining Advocates. She is married with four grown children and three granddaughters, and is an active member of many civic and community groups.
Ava Lipscomb is a native of Cartersville. She attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala., and graduated with a B.A. in Communication Arts from Ambassador College in Big Sandy, Texas. After working for the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) in Cherokee and Pickens Counties, Ava became the CASA Director for Advocates in 2000. In 1999, she completed Nurturing Families Facilitator training and in 2011, graduated from the Institute of Child Development TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) Program at Texas Christian University. Bartow CASA received the Established Program Award of Excellence in 2011 from the Georgia CASA Board of Directors. Ava was once a common fixture as an actor/director with our local community theatre group, the Pumphouse Players, where she met her husband, Andy. “After 20+ years in this field, I am passionate about working for Advocates because I know the primary focus of our organization is helping each individual child. Our efforts can be life-changing for a child...which is amazing!”
Flowering Branch Shelter Director
Angela is a licensed and nationally certified professional counselor. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master’s degree in community counseling. Angela has worked in the child welfare field for six years providing services and support to children and families. She has also counseled in a residential facility for children with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. Her passion is helping children and families deal with trauma and move forward to heal and become stronger. She enjoys gardening, practicing yoga, and spending time with her daughter.
Director of Development
Karen White joined Advocates as director of development in December 2009. In this role she is responsible for ensuring diverse and expanded streams of funding for our valuable resources and programs. A native of Cincinnati, she is a graduate of Ohio University with a B.S. in Journalism. She spent several years working in event fundraising for a national non-profit organization and three years as a development professional for a Catholic religious order before joining the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce in 2007. She resides happily in Cartersville with her husband, daughter and three dogs.
Director of Children's Advocacy Center
Liz Fox hails from the big town of Ashtabula, Ohio, in the heart of the snowbelt. She has worked in the social services field in different capacities for close to 25 years and has a bachelor's degree in corrections from Kent State University. Liz is a trained Forensic Interviewer through Finding Words Georgia, a trained Nurturing Parenting facilitator, and has a Victim Advocacy Certificate from the National Children’s Advocacy Center and the University of Georgia. She is an avid runner and cyclist and an active member of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. “I am very committed to providing a safe and responsible place for children in their time of great need and am privileged to be part of Advocates for Children, an organization that shares this philosophy.”
Amanda Tant joined Advocates in 2011 after four years working with the Department of Juvenile Justice. Growing up in Bowdon, Ga., Amanda attended Shorter College and graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s in sociology. She is excited and honored to be working with Advocates where she can share her passion about helping all children feel respected, loved, happy and thriving. Amanda is married with one son.
Deborah Parmenter has been a resident of Cartersville for 34 years. She is originally from Decatur, Ga., and is a graduate of Georgia State University with a bachelor's degree in English. She has been employed by Advocates for nearly 15 years, and has spent 13 of those years as bookkeeper. She is a volunteer on the Citizen Panel Review for Bartow County Juvenile Court and a member of Sam Jones Memorial United Methodist Church. She enjoys working with staff whose collective heart is always big enough to help one more child.
Lyndsey joined Advocates in June 2012. She received her bachelor’s degree in Human Services and master’s degree in Social Work from Kennesaw State University. Along with a passion for child advocacy, Lyndsey has multiple years of experience working with children and youth through her church, homeless programs, shelters, schools, and domestic violence agencies. As a case manager, Lyndsey will employ both her skill set and passion to make a difference in the lives of children.
Volunteer Services Coordinator
A volunteer with Advocates for several years, Kaylee joined the staff in 2014. Kaylee graduated with honors with a BBA in Finance from Kennesaw State University. She resides in Kingston with her husband, Ryan, and daughter, Amelia. Kaylee enjoys gardening, dancing, spending time with family and friends, and being a mom to the newest love of her life, little Amelia.
Michelle Starnes is from Cartersville. She has two sons, and a husband in the Navy. Prior to working at Advocates, she worked as a family advocate through US Navy Ombudsman for NRD Atlanta, worked with the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Task Force, and served on the Youth Advisory Board for Bartow County. She was also the Youth Coordinator at Flowering Branch Children's Shelter. She has been trained in Triple P and has an inherent understanding of people’s needs and how to help them move ahead. Michelle is excited and devoted to working with Advocates where she can share her passion in working with children and families.
Although a Yankee by birth, Sue is a Southerner at heart and loves being semi- retired and living in Georgia. She first became involved with Advocates as a CASA volunteer.
Sue has almost 30 years of experience in the not for profit arena, most of that time as an Executive Director for the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. “Working as a parent educator with Advocates for Children allows me to continue to pursue my lifelong commitment to improving the well being of mothers and children. I am proud to be part of this organization.”
Cami James was born and raised in Cartersville. She left to attend the University of Georgia in 2005. While in Athens-Clarke County, she also served as an AmeriCorps member working with homeless and at-risk families. She returned in 2011 to work in Special Needs Pre-K for the Bartow County School System. She has been trained in the Positive Parenting Program, and strongly believes in the importance of loving, nurturing child development. Cami feels very blessed to be a part of the wonderful, impacting work of Advocates for Children.
Lori Shook has been a Parent Educator for Hope in Your Home since the start of 2014. Prior to working at Advocates, she spent her time volunteering at the Women's Resource Center in Cartersville. Lori has a Marketing degree from The State University of West Georgia. She has been married for over 12 years and has 2 beautiful daughters. She is very enthusiastic about being a part of the Advocates family, and looks forward to serving the children of Bartow County.
Lucus joined Advocates in 2010. As a resident of Cartersville all his life, he mentored locally at various schools in the community throughout high school and college, collectively for almost ten years. Lucus loves working with Advocates because it allows him to be able to work with a caring group of staff and to help children in need of a positive role model.
Emily began with Advocates for Children in early 2013 and is a Georgia native hailing from the small town of Lyerly. She graduated with honors from Georgia Southern University in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in sociology. She then moved to California for a number of years until later returning to Georgia to be closer to family.
Emily comes to Advocates for Children from the Department of Juvenile Justice where she worked for over five years as a juvenile probation officer. She has a passion for helping kids in need and advocating for them and making their voices heard. She is a firm believer that every child, no matter their age or background or story, is deserving of a happy ending. Emily currently resides in Cartersville, GA.
Originally from Merritt Island, Fla., Lisa has been with Advocates since August 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree from University of Central Florida and has been in the field of child welfare since 2006. “I love working for Advocates because it means helping children and their families. Although it can be difficult to work with issues such as child abuse and neglect, it’s rewarding to watch the work we do every day make a difference to the children in our community that need us the most."
Deborah Reese moved with her husband to Georgia in 1989 after attending Akron University in Ohio. Spending 12 years between Sagamore Hills Children's Psychiatric Hospital and Bellefaire Children's Residential Treatment Center, Deborah moved on to spend 10 years with the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) before accepting her role at Advocates. "The volunteers I work with are dedicated, caring individuals who don’t think twice about going the extra distance to make a difference in our kids’ lives. And with our Juvenile Court in Bartow County, we definitely do make a difference!"
First Steps Coordinator
Courtney is a graduate of Adairsville High School and is currently attending college. She is the mother of two young children and loves helping our First Steps moms and babies make the transition to family-hood!
Gail Wilkins is a native of Acworth, Georgia where she spent her entire life until she moved to Cartersville three years ago. She received her B.S., M.Ed. and Ed.S. Degrees in Special Education from Georgia State University. She has spent the past 39 years in this field.
Gail has extensive background in working with children with significant cognitive disabilities and autism. She began leading a GriefShare support group in 2007 after the death of her husband. She is a cancer survivor and often speaks to various community groups on these two important topics sharing her continuing journey in an effort to give hope to others who have, are, or will make this same journey.
Gail has one adult daughter, Tamara, and one wonderful granddaughter, Carder.
Erika Henry joined Advocates in July of 2013 after moving to Georgia from Pittsburgh, PA. Having graduated with a bachelor’s in Sociology from Washington and Jefferson College, she was in search of a job that would have a positive impact on people’s lives. Before joining Advocates, Erika worked as a Social Media consultant for a private jet charter company in Washington, PA. She is thrilled to be working at Advocates where she can fulfill her life goal of helping children to flourish and thrive.