Choices For Life – Georgia
Meet Our Staff
My staff and I are proud to play a much needed role in helping children in the Therapeutic Foster Care system reach their goal of adoption or reunification. The growing need in this area of specialized care cannot be ignored and it is our goal to find a healthy home for each and every one of these children under our care. I have a great team of trainers and counselors, and I trust in their ability to serve our dedicated Treatment Parent Specialists and children.
Sara Riley, LPC, CPCS, RPT-S, NCC, MAC
President of Choices for Life Foster Care Inc.
Sara has been with Choices For Life of Georgia since 2009. Sara attended Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Alaska, where she received her Master of Science in Counseling Psychology. Sara is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Georgia, a Nationally Certified Counselor, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, Masters Addiction Counselor, Board Certified TeleMental Health Provider and a Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor (CPCS). She has obtained extensive clinical, assessment and forensic experience while serving a multitude of culturally diverse populations for over 20 years. Sara has a passion for focusing on the needs of the community and working together to provide needed services through systemic collaborations.
Mark has worked for over ten years in the human services field providing quality community service to children and families in South Georgia. Mark has been with Choices For Life of Georgia since 2012. He attended Valdosta State University where he received his Bachelor of Applied Science in Technical Studies. Mark also attended Liberty University where he graduated with his Master of Arts concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. He has an extensive background in supervision and administration of social service programs. He has worked as a Medicaid eligibility specialist, social service case manager, social service supervisor and program administrator for the state of Georgia’s Department of Family and Children Services. Mark believes in providing consistent and quality services driven by the needs of the individual and family. “I truly enjoy helping others reach their goals.”
Qualynn “Q” Wilson, a native of Chicago, Ill. (#1 Bears Fan!) and graduate of the University of Phoenix, comes with over 10 years of executive administrative experience and knowledge. She is very passionate, caring and willing to provide excellent service(s) to the community and those that reside in it.
Foster Care Recruiter & Trainer Supervisor
Katorah is a graduate of Valdosta State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has over 10 years of experience working with children in the community and residential settings. Katorah also has seven years of supervisory and managerial experience working with private and nonprofit agencies. She is excited to combine this experience and help Choices For Life of Georgia continue to meet standards and serve the children and families in the community.
Dusty began her career as an office manager with Choices For Life of Georgia in June 2018. She is a graduate of Wiregrass Technical College with HIMT/coding diploma. She is happily married with four children. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling and attending her children’s sports/school functions.
Mariann received Associate’s degrees in Accounting and Business Administration from Laramie County Community College in Wyoming in 2001. Since then she has worked off and on in the banking world. Mariann is currently working towards a diploma in Health Information Management at Wiregrass Technical College in Valdosta, Georgia. She has been with Choices For Life of Georgia since October 2016.
Linda Jones was born in Texas and raised in the small town of Lovington, NM. She’s married to USAF Veteran. She has been married for 27 years and has two young adult kids. Being married to a military man took her to Guam in 1995 where they lived for almost five years. She is outgoing, friendly, and has a positive attitude. Linda recently joined the CFL team in early November of 2020. “This is something totally different than I’ve ever done before. It’s very interesting, I’m excited and happy to be a part of a team that brings positively to families, children, and the community.”
Human Resource Coordinator
With a Master’s degree in Sociology, Raschard is a native of the great state of Alabama(WAR EAGLE!). Raschard has worked with adults and adolescents for 10 years and has an extensive background in human relations. Raschard takes pride in connecting families and providing youth with the tools to be productive in their most formative years. His goal is to leave any situation better than he entered.
Nikki is from Naylor, GA. She has been in the Administrative field for over 15 years. She is soon to graduate with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. After graduation, Nikki plans to attend the University of Alabama to achieve a degree in Social Work. Nikki grew up farming and is a wife to her supportive husband and a mom to 3 amazing kids. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. “I want to thank Choices For Life for making me part of the team!”
Room Board and Watchful Oversight Staff
Foster Care Case Supervisor
Pam has been with Choices For Life of Georgia since 2009. She received a Master’s degree in Special Education – Mental Retardation/Early Intervention, Birth to Three Years in June 1997 from Valdosta State University. She has worked extensively with families and children who experience emotional behavioral problems, as well as special needs. Pam states, “I truly enjoy my job and look forward to coming to work every day.” Life is not measured by how many breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
Foster Care Case Manager
Ramada joined the Choices For Life of Georgia family in the Fall of 2018. She is a graduate of Georgia Southern University and came with ten years of child welfare experience. Ramada is actively involved in several community service organizations and prides herself in caring for and helping others. Ramada lives by the motto “service before self” and strives each day to make a difference in the lives of others.
Cathy Burks, AS
Foster Parent Recruiter/Trainer
Cathy has worked in the field of advocacy and social services for more than 20 years. She is very passionate about working with children and families, with an emphasis on education and recruitment. Cathy’s passion developed after becoming a foster parent over 30 years ago, and eventually an adoptive parent. She has since worked in numerous positions assisting foster and adoptive families throughout the state of Georgia. Cathy has also shared her wealth of knowledge and experience through the development of workshops, which she has presented all over the United States. It is her goal to recruit foster parents that are willing to provide a temporary home for children experiencing instability and life’s uncertainties. Cathy believes that every child deserves a safe and loving home.
TaCara Matchett B.A.
Foster Care Case Manager
TaCara is a native of South Georgia. She is a graduate of Georgia Southern University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minors in both child family development and criminal justice. She has always had a heart and passion for helping others. She describes herself as “a creative that works with my hands and my heart.” She has had 5 years of experience working directly with children placed in DFCS custody as a Child Care Counselor at a residential facility. She now has the opportunity to continue making a difference in a different capacity. “I enjoy working with these children and their foster parents. It is so rewarding to see how much time, energy, and LOVE they shower on the daily. I am thankful to be a part of such a team.”
Foster Care Case Manager
Rasha is a graduate of Valdosta State University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has over five years of experience working with children. Rasha has a passion for helping people and believes that everyone has the potential to reach their goals in life. She is a strong advocate for her clients and works tirelessly to help them overcome any obstacles they may face. Rasha is a skilled listener and has a gift for understanding the needs of others.
Outpatient Behavioral Health Staff
Brantley (William) Wheeler
Brantley Wheeler is a native to South Georgia. Brantley received his Bachelor’s of Arts in German from Georgia State University and his Master of Social Work degree from Valdosta State University. He is also an alumni of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program for Young Professionals. Brantley spent 12 months living in Germany and completed internships working with low income families. Brantley has been a member of our team since 2012. He has a passion to work with children and adolescents who have suffered abuse, trauma, loss and grief. “I never intended to work with children and adolescents when completing my Master’s degree. My concentration practicum placement was at an agency offering services to children and teenagers who have suffered physical and sexual abuse. My view of the world was quickly altered and I found a new calling in life. I quickly changed plans from working in adult mental health to becoming an advocate for those who had no voice.” Brantley enjoys time at the beach and traveling overseas. Future plans are to one day complete a PhD.
Jana is a native of South Georgia. She attended Valdosta State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Masters of Social Work. Jana has worked with adults with developmental disabilities for seven years, children and families for nine years and four of those were with children and adults in crisis. Jana is trained in TF-CBT therapy and takes great pride in working with children and families. Her goal is to promote change within the family unit to prevent generational cycles and help children become strong, confident individuals.
Shayla is a native to the Valdosta area and graduated from Valdosta State University with a mixed degree in Psychology, Sociology, and Religious Studies. Shayla has been working with Choices For Life Of Georgia since 2015 and has been working in community services for over ten years. Shayla currently trains and supervises Community Support Individuals to teach coping skills and provide resources to families in the community. Shayla has a passion for helping others in this community and believes that it is needed to make a difference.
With a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and previous experience as a lead educator for a family-focused nonprofit, Ayana is a passionate therapist who celebrates diversity by connecting with people from a variety of cultural backgrounds and life experiences. Through her experiences, she has strengthened her ability to engage children, adolescents and entire families in ways that are positively meaningful. As a therapist, she utilizes a holistic approach to capture the experiences of the individuals and families she works with in order to empower them in all the areas of their lives. She strongly believes that working from a collaborative stance promotes the values and goals of those that she provides services to. She strives to foster renewed hope for the future by highlighting client strengths and resilience throughout treatment.
Jessi Salas, M.Ed.
Riahna graduated from Valdosta State University with her BA in Sociology and Masters in Social Work. Riahna has been working with children of all ages for most of her life in many different fields of work. She has completed both of her internship years at Choices for Life in the Behavioral and Mental Health services, as well as in Foster Care. Riahna’s passion is to work with children and adolescents who are in need of guidance, structure, and support. She has worked with children in all types of economic statuses, family dynamics, behavioral/mental problems, and overall environmental stressors. Riahna’s dream is to, one day, run a non-profit for children and adolescents with special needs who are not receiving adequate care or resources.
Jenny is a native to the Greater Lowndes County area. She obtained a Master’s degree from Valdosta State University’s Marriage and Family Therapy program. She takes pride in having the opportunity to work alongside children and their families in discovering the knowledge and strength gained through life experiences. She views her opportunity to work with each family as a true honor.
Stacie is a native of South Georgia. She holds a BA in Sociology and a Masters in Social Work from Valdosta State University. Stacie began her career in 2009 working with adults suffering from severe and persistent mental illness. More recently, she has gained experience working with children, teenagers and families dealing with the effects of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. “After working directly with children who have been victims of abuse for almost a year, I can say I have become very passionate in my work with individuals suffering from the effects of trauma. I am constantly trying to expand on my knowledge in regard to trauma and how it affects the mind and body.” Stacie will soon begin working towards becoming certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Play Therapy.
Cassidy graduated from Valdosta State University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Cassidy is currently in her final year of attaining her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is passionate about helping children and adolescents learn ways to cope with stressors/ triggers. Cassidy takes a person-centered approach and utilizes client strengths in teaching coping skills. She is excited to be able to positively impact the community and be an advocate for mental health within the educational system.
Cindy Perryman (Cynthia Shepard Perryman), LCSW, joined the team at Choices for Life, Inc., as a therapist in the Winter of 2020. She graduated from Valdosta State University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 1992 and a Master’s in Social Work in 1998. She went on to complete requirements for a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Cindy has over 22 years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults, families, and substance abuse populations in both inpatient and outpatient and school settings. She has provided therapy services in community mental health settings and in a private practice setting in several South Georgia counties. The majority of her professional life to date has been in public school settings as the school social worker for Berrien County Schools. Cindy is passionate about helping individuals to heal, improve and achieve.
Dillon graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. He is experienced in working with diverse client populations through individual and family therapy. Dillon takes a collaborative approach in therapy where he works with clients in developing goals and treatments relevant to the clients’ lives. He has worked with a variety of treatment issues such as substance abuse, anger management, and grief counseling. Dillon is committed to helping families retain the hope and confidence to create change in their lives.ll as severe and persistent mental illnesses.
Priscilla has obtained both her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and Master’s of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy at Valdosta State. She has previous social work experience connecting with people from all walks of life. Priscilla endeavors to collaborate with youth and their families to help foster hope, understanding people as individually unique and valuable. She gravitates towards a person-centered approach while considering the context and relativity of human experiences. Priscilla is grateful to be a part of the Choices team and to have the opportunity to help serve the community.
Robyn received her Bachelors degree in Anthropology with a minor in Religious Studies in 2016. After working in the school system, she went back to school and obtained her Masters in Social Work in 2019. Robyn has worked for various professions that focus on the needs of children and family, who she believes are the foundation of society. She has a passion for working with children and families to help them have their voices and concerns heard and maintaining strong bonds through understanding.
Cody was born and raised in Tifton, Georgia, and moved to Valdosta in 2019. He received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Georgia Southern University in 2019 and is currently in his final semester of his Master of Social Work Degree (MSW). Cody is passionate about the success and wellbeing of the child & adolescent population as well as challenging the mental health stigma in our community. In his free time, Cody enjoys traveling and spending time with his family. His primary goals are to be an advocate for the children and adolescents he serves as well as offer evidence-based care to the community.
Diana (she/her) received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Valdosta State University in 2019, and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2021. She also received a Diploma in Neuroscience and Psychopathology in 2018, and a Diploma in Psychoeducational intervention in children with special needs in 2020. Diana is passionate about working with children and adolescents, social justice, equality, and mental health. As a counselor, I assist people through personal challenges, help ease emotional burdens, and empower them to achieve mental wellness. The best thing about being a counselor and working with children is that you have the opportunity to be a part of a child’s life in such a powerful way.
Diana nacío y creció en
Sarah was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. She earned her Master of Social Work from Valdosta State University this past May of 2022 and has a B. A. in Sociology from Georgia College and State University. Sarah worked as an intern at CFL from 2020-2021 and is grateful for the opportunity to return as a therapist. Sarah has always been passionate about working with child and adolescent populations and has experience working with them in both outpatient and inpatient settings. Sarah’s goal is to be an advocate for mental health and see the efforts of her work improve the wellbeing of the children and the families she works with, creating a positive generational impact for the family as well as the community.
Ashli received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in May 2003 from Valdosta State University. She has worked as a contractor through DFCS doing wrap-around and homestead services, visiting clients (adults, adolescents and children) in their homes to provide Parent Aide services for a variety of life issues including educating individuals about appropriate parenting practices, and supervision of parent/child visitation for the last eight years. Ashli has completed CCFAs in addition to parental and adolescent fitness assessments. Ashli has been working as a paraprofessional for Choices For Life of Georgia focusing on the children and adolescents, addressing skill building, behavioral management and adaptive functioning skills since 2009. Ashli works closely with community partners to help develop and link youth and families to additional services, programs, and/or collaborative and natural supports that will assist children and families in our community.
Kellie is currently obtained her degree in Social Work with a minor in Psychology from Brandman University. She has been working with Choices For Life of Georgia as an intern and has loved the time that she gets to spend here. She has over 20 years of experience working with families, adults, children and special needs. She has a passion for helping people overcome obstacles, difficulties and making the most of themselves. Her goal is to form a positive and constructive relationship with her clients and their families. When not working with clients and their families, Kellie volunteers at a local animal rescue where she has a passion for saving animals, rehabilitating them and finding them a home.
Bio to come.
Martrika was born in Rantaul Illinois. She moved to Valdosta Georgia at the age of 6. Martrika attended Wiregrass where she received her diploma in Medical Assisting/certificate in Esthetics. Martrika attended Georgia Military College then Capella University where she received her bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology. Martrika is excited to link families to community resources while encouraging the use of coping and behavioral skills to improve the families/ children’s progress in the community, home, and school.
Tori was born and raised in Michigan and recently moved to Valdosta in 2020. She received a dual Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology & Communication Sciences and Disorder from Western Michigan University in 2019. She has worked as an RBT(Registered Behavior Tech) previously, working with children and adolescents in a clinic or home. She enjoys working with children and making an impact on their life. Tori is passionate about making a difference and strives to encourage everyone to be the best version of themselves. In her spare time, she takes pleasure in hiking with her dog, reading, and traveling. Her goal is to help build confidence and provide support to children and adolescents in the community.
Elizabeth was born and raised in the Berrien County area. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Young Harris College in 2020, and she has obtained her Masters of Social Work Degree (MSW). Elizabeth is passionate and excited about working with children and adolescents to help them grow through the challenges of their life to be the best version of themselves. She feels that children and adolescents can teach you so much about yourself while you are helping them as well. Elizabeth loves to travel and spend time with family and friends and giving back to her community.
Taylor is a native of South Georgia. She is a graduate of VSU with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minor in African American Studies. She also graduated with her Master’s of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy. Taylor is passionate about assisting families and children with making discoveries on various aspects they never knew existed. “During the Marriage and Family program, I was always assigned to adult individuals, couples and I was only assigned to one family. I did not have a lot of experience working with children in a therapeutic setting. But I decided to take a leap of faith and try working with children after graduating. I have to say, I am enjoying it very much.”
I graduated from Valdosta State University in 2018 with a Bachelors in Philosophy and Religious Studies, Political Science and minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. After graduation I worked with juveniles on probation and as a case worker for Head Start. I completed my masters in Rehabilitation Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Thomas University in 2022 which led me to working for Choices For Life. I have always been passionate about working and rehabilitating youth because they are the faces of our future. I have worked with youth ranging from 3 years old to 17 years old. I plan to pursue my doctorate degree in Traumatology to be able to understand the long-term effects of trauma on the brain and how it manifests into different mental health disorders.
Lori Stubbs received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Valdosta State University in 2020. As an LMSW, she has had the opportunity and honor to work with both adults and adolescents, specializing in Anger Management with a CAMSII certification. She has also had the privilege of working in the juvenile justice system, believing that all children deserve an outlet to communicate, grow, and learn together. As a mother of a special needs child, Lori understands the complexities of family life and looks forward to working with families and children. Her motto and favorite quote by Helen Keller is, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Steven "Chance" Yeomans
Steven Chance Yeomans, a native of Valdosta GA, graduated from Valdosta State University with his master’s degree in social work and bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Chance has interned at the VSU Counseling Center, Legacy Behavioral Health and Options Now providing therapy and case management services to children, teenagers and adults. Chance’s passion is to work with individuals who have experienced emotional abuse and emotional trauma in order to help them overcome their traumatic experiences. Chance has worked with individuals and families from various religious, ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds. Chance’s dream is to one day become an LCSW and open up his own private practices in both Valdosta, GA and Atlanta, GA.
Psychiatric and Nursing
Dr. Cheryl Gatewood Tolliver
Board Certified Pediatrician
Cheryl Gatewood Tolliver is a board-certified pediatrician. She has been practicing medicine for over 20 years. She attended the Georgia Institute of Technology and received a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering Degree. She also attended the University of Southern California and received a Masters of Science in Systems Management. She received her Doctorate of Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA followed by her Residency in Pediatrics at Orlando Regional Healthcare System in Orlando, FL.
Dr. Tolliver is married to Kevin Tolliver and is the mother of 4 adult children, Kevin Paul, Nicholas (deceased), Destiny, and Taylor. She has one Grandchild, Russell Tolliver. She enjoys running, reading, gardening, and spending time with her dog, Zandy.
Zakiyyah Weatherspoon, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC
DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC
Zakiyyah Weatherspoon, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and is the current residing president of the South Georgia Association of Nurse practitioners, a member of Georgia Nurses Association, American Nurses Association, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Sigma Theta Tau nursing fraternity, National Council of Negro Women, and United Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.
Born and raised here in Valdosta, she graduated from Valdosta High School in 2001. From there she went on to Statesboro, GA where she attended Georgia Southern University. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing in 2005. She worked as an ER nurse for 6 years and part-time at a nonprofit inpatient hospice facility and volunteered her time as a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE nurse) all while she pursued her Master of Science in Nursing with an emphasis in family practice. She obtained her MSN degree in 2011. She obtained her Doctorate of Nursing Practice and the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Degree in May 2021 both from Georgia Southern University. She was then employed at Valdosta Family Medicine from January 2012-December 2017. While working full-time there, she started her mental health role at Peaceway Counseling and Mediation Services, serving child and adolescent patients there in 2014. She then worked full-time at the local emergency department in her advanced practice role. She then started working with her love for mental health at Legacy Behavioral Health Services and sporadically filling needed shifts at South Georgia Medical Center’s Youth Care department both in Valdosta Georgia. She is now full-time with Valdosta Children’s Healthcare.
She was recently named Georgia’s state representative for AANP’s nurse practitioner of the year for 2019 for her community service involvement here in our community where she received this prestigious honor in June 2019 in Indianapolis, IN. She was also inducted into the Class of 2019 40 under 40 for Georgia southern University Alumni out of 210,000 alumnae that are under the age of 40.
Tara McLeod, LPN
Tara is a native of Valdosta. She moved back to Valdosta in 1998 after her husband retired from the Navy. She is a 1988 Graduate of Valdosta Technical Institution’s LPN diploma program. She has over 33 years’ experience in the Mental Health field. She has worked with children as well as adults. She has 3 adult daughters and 3 Grandsons. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, cooking and investing in stocks. “I am so happy to be a part of the Choices For Life team. I hope to make a difference every day.
Bio to come.
Bio to come.
Jasmine Bryant is a native of Colorado. Jasmine moved to Valdosta in 2020. She graduated from Everest College as a Certified Medical Assistant and brings over 10 years of clinical experience. I’ve worked with both children and adults. Jasmine has adult twins and a huge, supportive family that I love dearly. “Family and Community are everything to me.”
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Choices For Life Foster Care – Oklahoma
Choices For Life of Georgia