Staff

Ericka Plater, Executive Director

Ericka is a native of Washington DC and recent transplant to Charleston. She is a nonprofit professional with more than 18 years’ experience in the areas of diversity and inclusion, leadership development, professional development, training, volunteer leadership coordination, and business planning. Ericka is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), a DELP scholar, and holds a M.S. and M.B.A. from University of Maryland University College and a B.A. from Howard University. Ericka is a mother of two beautiful daughters, Allese and Indigo and a son, Tyee. She resides in Summerville, SC and enjoys a good book or movie, writing and time by bodies of water. She looks forward to serving the Charleston community. 

 

Mariela Alvarado-Luna, OBGYN Assistant

 Mariela Alvarado-Luna was born and raised in Charleston, SC. She graduated from Trident Technical College with a Associates in Science in 2018. She has been part of OLM since a young girl attending the programs and volunteering as a adult. She lives on Johns Island.  She enjoys traveling,cooking and spending time with family. 

Born in Fairfield, CT and raised between Rock Hill, SC and Los Angeles, CA; Natasha moved to the Lowcountry in 2010. She graduated from the College of Charleston with a B.A. in Arts Management. While at CofC, Natasha developed a passion for working with local nonprofits. She works as the Program Coordinator where she provides project management and organizational support. In her spare time, you find her listening to live music or at the beach with her husband, Jackson, and their pups Sancho and Iggy.

natasha@olmoutreach.org

Crentina Clayton, Social Worker

Crentina is originally from Columbia S.C.  and relocated to Charleston following a promotion in leadership. She comes to OLMCOS with 20 years of experience in human services & management and nonprofit work.  She holds a M.A. in Counseling and a B.S. in Social Work. Crentina enjoys “Low Country Living” with her husband, Wallace and their beautiful daughter, Shelby. In her spare time, she enjoys great  music, thrillers, and spending time with her amazing village.

Jeannie Colson, Marketing Manager

Jeannie Colson was born and raised in Charleston, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BA in English in 2010. Her work experience includes small boutique PR agencies and magazines to one of the biggest self-publishing companies. As the marketing manager, she is responsible for creating and implementing targeted marketing and content strategies to increase awareness and spread the mission of OLMOCS by telling the OLMOCS story through print and digital channels. When not working, you can find Jeannie hiking the nearest trails with her husband Neal and their Boykin Spaniel Eleanor, on the water immersed in the latest bestseller, crafting DIY furniture and home décor projects, searching for new recipes to try or at a Gamecock football game with family and friends – GO COCKS!

Kelly Criscitiello, Education Manager

Kelly is originally from Raleigh, NC and relocated to South Carolina to attend the College of Charleston where she graduated with a B.A. in Spanish and Secondary Education. She has lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Kelly is a bilingual educator with 15+ years experience teaching Spanish and ESL in the local public and private sectors. In addition, she has 10+ years experience in managing and designing programs to fit the needs of her students as the owner of a language school in Charleston. She is passionate about customizing educational programs to best serve our community. Kelly resides on James Island with her husband and two children, Dante and Elena. In her free time, she likes to travel, practice yoga and find outdoor adventures.

kelly.criscitiello@olmoutreach.org

Hannah Finley, Development Manager

Hannah is a native of Northeast Ohio and a recent transplant to Charleston. She is a 2014 graduate of Malone University with a B.A. in communication arts - public relations and a minor in marketing. She completed multiple internships in the nonprofit sector as well as at a marketing agency. After graduation, she worked for a marketing agency as an account executive for three years. During that time she had the opportunity to work with the agency's nonprofit clients which solidified her passion for nonprofit work. Hannah lives in West Ashley and loves exploring the Lowcountry.

Wendy Geuss, Youth Program Coordinator

Wendy's position focuses on creating programs for the youth of the community. She grew up in New Paltz, New York, received a B.S. in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a concentration on Therapeutic Recreation at S.U.N.Y. Cortland in 1993. Wendy came down to SC in 2006 for the warmer climate, and is certainly happy with that change. Wendy resides on John's Island with her son Skyler, her daughter Ayla Rose Frey, and their five cats.

Gary Hamilton, Maintenance Neighborhood House

Gary is the maintenance coordinator for Our Lady of Mercy at the Neighborhood House in his native, downtown Charleston. He is devoted and dedicated to his family as well as the work that he performs at the Neighborhood House. Gary maintains the facilities to provide a clean, safe, and comfortable environment for clients as well as staff. He also enjoys the arts, history, and music, in his free time.

Dr. John Howard, Director of Dental Services

Dr. John P. Howard has been Dental Director of the Our Lady of Mercy Wellness Center Dental Program since its inception in December of 1998. He graduated from Clemson University in 1969 and the College of Dental Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in 1973. He has served as a Dentist in the U.S. Air Force, the National Health Service Corp. of the U.S. Public Health Service, and with the U.S. Army Dental Corp.  Dr. Howard practiced privately in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.; was Dental Director at Coastal Center. He has been married to his wife Debbie for over forty years. They have three children Tiffany, Travis, and Alston, and five beautiful granddaughters: Ella, Callie, Mady, Morgan, and Maysie. Dr. Howard enjoys his family, golf with his sons, Clemson football (when they can beat South Carolina) and travelling when he can get away from the office.

Jacqueline Jefferson, Wellness Center Manager

Jacqueline Grimball Jefferson has been an employee of Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach since its beginnings in 1989. She is proud to be a part of the growth from Christian Hope House to Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach Services, Inc.! Yes, indeed, change is constant as we continue to grow. She is now the manager of Our Lady of Mercy Wellness Center seeking opportunities to provide the six dimensions of wellness to the residents of James, Johns and Wadmalaw Islands.

Keely Karnes, Social Worker

Keely is originally from Atlanta, Georgia and relocated to Charleston, South Carolina one year ago. Keely received her undergraduate degree in Human Services with a concentration in Case Management from
Kennesaw State University in 2013. Shortly after, she pursued her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Georgia. After receiving her Master’s Degree in 2016, she continued to work in the Mental Health setting as an Intake Counselor for a psychiatric hospital. She has years of experience within the nonprofit and mental health setting. She resides in West Ashley with her husband, Michael and two cats, Nori and Winston.

Deborah LaRoche, Neighborhood House Director

Deborah is originally from Orlando, Florida, and moved to South Carolina in 1991 to attend Furman University. She then spent five years working in the non-profit field, and later earned her Masters of Social Work degree from USC in 2002. Upon graduation, Deborah moved to Johns Island and joined OLMCOS as the full-time social worker, alternatively cheering for the Gators, Paladins, and Gamecocks in her spare time. In 2016, her role in the organization changed when she became the Program Director at our downtown site, The Neighborhood House.  Keeping her company at home are her husband, Dan; her daughters, Mattie and Molly; and two rescue dogs, Gator and Jackson.

Katie Lawhon, Lead Dental Assistant

Katie was born and raised in Andover, Kansas. She moved to South Carolina in 2011 to enjoy the weather. She is a certified dental assistant and has been in the dental community in Charleston for 6 years. She lives in Summerville with her 8-year-old son, Grayson. In her free time she loves to kayak, go on road trips, and do obstacle course races. 

Ann Martinez, Office Support Staff

Ann was born and raised in Bronx, New York.  She is the mother of four (3 girls and 1 boy).  She has worked for 18 years as a Certified Medical Assistant in the Emergency Room Department of Jacobi Medical Center of NY.  She moved to Charleston, SC June of 2009 and began working with Our Lady of Mercy Wellness Center in September of the same year.  She operates as a full-time Bi-lingual Administrative Assistant for the Dental Program.  Ann enjoys scheduling of providers, students and patients!

Jennifer Meshanko, Volunteer Services Manager

Jennifer joined the Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach staff in December of 2012. She started as the Special Projects Manager, coordinating special events. Jennifer is currently the Volunteer Services Manager. Her other responsibilities include HR recruitment and IT management. Jennifer is from Greenville, SC. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Charleston and a master’s degree from Valadosta State University. She has prior experience working for nonprofits, as well as local and federal government.

Vonceil Mitchell, Neighborhood House Kitchen Manager

Oldest out of five siblings, Vonceil R. Mitchell was born and raised in Charleston, SC. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Saint Augustine University in Raleigh, NC. She has been working at the Neighborhood House since November of 1991. She considers herself very independent; she never married and has no children. Vonceil loves animals and has a dog named Max.

Julie Pearson, Director of Finance & Administration

Julie joined OLMCOS in September, 2017. Julie received a BS in Biology from Penn State University and a MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. She held management roles in financial operations and administration in the for-profit sector for many years until moving to the non-profit world in 2009 when she joined Person-to-Person in Darien, CT, an emergency assistance organization, where she was Chief Operating Officer. Julie grew up in Philadelphia but has lived in multiple places since then including 10 years in Australia. Upon returning to the States, she and her family settled in Darien, CT where she raised her three children, Tim, Jen and Katie.

Three years ago Julie and her husband, Herb, relocated to Charleston to join family in SC. In her spare time she loves cooking, playing tennis, walking and reading at the beach.

Kristin Raymond, Director of Development

Kristin grew up in Durham, North Carolina and relocated to Charleston, SC in 2013. She has been working in the nonprofit sector for over 10 years with various roles in volunteer management, program development, organizational management and fundraising. Most recently, her focus has been on corporate/nonprofit philanthropic partnerships.  Kristin has her Master’s in Public Administration with a focus in Nonprofit Management.  She lives on Johns Island with her two kids, Zoey and Sullivan; her husband, Bryan; and their dog, Finley.  In her downtime, she enjoys traveling and spending quality time with family.  Kristin looks forward to getting to know all of OLMCOS’ wonderful supporters and volunteers!

kristin.raymond@olmoutreach.org

Dorothy Rose, Clothing Closet Manager

Prior to joining the staff at the Our Lady of Mercy Neighborhood House, Dorothy was a supervisor in Environmental Services at the College of Charleston. Retiring after 28 years from the college she turned her passion for assisting the needy into her mission. Making a positive impact in the lives of others brings her great joy. Dorothy enjoys her church, and caring for her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Rebecca Salazar-Yata, Dental Assistant

Rebecca was born and raised in Charleston SC. She graduated from Trident Tech's Dental Assistant program in 2019. She loves to travel, cook, and most importantly learn something new everyday. Rebecca enjoys starting each day with a grateful heart and smile. 

Emory Trouche, Development Coordinator

Emory was born and raised in Charleston, SC. She graduated from the College of Charleston
with a BS in Business Administration. Prior to joining OLM, she worked in administration for a finance
company. As the development coordinator, she will be managing the database, researching and tracking
grants, and processing gifts. In her free time, she enjoys oil painting, travel, and adventure.

emory.trouche@olmoutreach.org

Ryan Vrba, Director of Outreach and Education

Ryan is originally from Chicago, Illinois and relocated to Charleston, South Carolina in the fall of 2014. In 2007 he graduated from Lewis University (Chicago,IL) with a B.A. in Psychology. He worked as both a mental health counselor and an emergency room social worker before deciding to pursue a Master of Business Administration in hopes of securing a management position within a nonprofit/social services organization. In 2015 he graduated with his M.B.A. and shortly after was hired by OLMCOS. 

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Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach: part of your community since 1989.