Helping protect our most vulnerable voices
After spending the first 17 years of her adult life raising her children, Clyda returned to college in 2010 and completed her degree in Human Service at Columbia College. During an internship with Columbia Police Department Special Victims Unit, she became aware of the Assessment and Resource Center (now known as The Metropolitan Child Advocacy Center). During that time, Clyda found her passion for victims advocacy with a focus on child advocacy and developed a long-standing relationship with the Met CAC staff. In her free time, Clyda enjoys traveling, spending time with her grandchildren, and volunteering with different organizations.
Denise spent the better part of her early years as a military wife and traveling the world on the Army's dime and notice. During that time she volunteered for and within the military community and received the 2010 Military Intelligence Golden Rose award as well as Fort Jackson's 2018 Spouse of the Year. Denise now spends her days homeschooling her two boys and leading Women's ministry at Earlewood Baptist Church. Denise connected with Friends of Met CAC through her local outreach endeavors in her Elmwood Park Community and it seemed like a perfect fit for her passion to serve people. She became a member of the board in May 2022. When Denise isn't traveling and experiencing new dining adventures with her husband, she can be found writing as a published author, gardening or enjoying time with her fur babies.
Abby joined the board in December 2019 and currently serves as Treasurer. She graduated from Winthrop University in 2007 and was awarded the CFP® in 2011. She has worked as a financial advisor at Abacus Planning Group for 13 years and earned her master's in accounting from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 2020. Abby first learned of the MetCAC through fellow board members Eme Crawford and Melanie Baker. She was immediately interested in supporting and promoting the MetCAC's essential work in helping children suspected of neglect or abuse. "I am grateful to be on the board and look forward to using my skills to raise awareness and ensure the MetCAC has the funding needed to continue supporting child abuse victims and their families."
Elizabeth Perkins joined the board in April 2019, but first became aware of the MetCAC in 2017 when she attended a fundraising event and learned about the organization's mission. A colleague who works with the MetCAC let her know when a board spot came available, and she volunteered to serve. Elizabeth is also the vice president on the executive committee of the Earlewood Community Citizens Organization (ECCO). She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina School of Law. "I am looking forward to helping coordinate another successful Ugly Sweater Holiday 5K fundraiser, and responsibly allocating existing funds to promote the continuity and growth of the MetCAC."
Keith Jones first came in contact with the Met CAC in his work with abused and neglected children while leading a children's service agency in South Carolina. "I am very familiar with the mission and purpose of the Met CAC and am looking forward to again being part of a group of people who have such a strong commitment to serving children," said Keith.
Keith is currently Director of Clinical Operations at Cooperative Health Centers and has spent the better part of the last two decades working in non-profit and children's services management in various leadership and clinical roles. He received his bachelor's degree from Erskine College and his master's of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Keith is also a licensed therapist with experience treating abused and neglected children, adults and children with developmental disabilities, and adults with substance use disorders.
Michael Gavin joined the board in August 2023, but has known of its efforts on behalf of children and families for many years. He often participated in MetCAC events, even running several times in the Ugly Sweater 5K! (To be honest, he walked, mostly.) His wife, Rebecca, has worked as the intake coordinator for the center since 2021, so he sees up close and personal how challenging and how important MetCAC's work truly is. He is a professor of English at the University of South Carolina, where he has taught since 2012. He earned his PhD from Rutgers University in 2010. Rebecca and Michael are high-school sweethearts from Cleveland, Ohio, and now have four children, the youngest of whom are still teenagers. Michael is passionate about seeing the MetCAC thrive and succeed in its important mission.
Colin is a native of Southern New Hampshire and is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston. He started his law enforcement career in the Border Patrol before working for the Atlanta Police in 2001. In 2005, Colin moved to South Carolina and started with the City of Columbia Police Department. In 2009, Colin was promoted to Investigator and was assigned to the Special Victims Unit. For the next seven years, Colin investigated cases involving missing persons, domestic violence, infant fatality, sexual assault, and child abuse. Colin now serves the Columbia Police Department as a Lieutenant in the Administrative Bureau. Colin has worked closely with the MetCAC since 2009 and attended multiple Multi-Disciplinary Task Force Meetings, where law enforcement meets with social services, prosecutors, and MetCAC staff to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of child abuse.