Jill Lawson –Executive Director
Jill is a Licensed Master Social Worker has spent the last 12 years working with at-risk youth in various roles including case management, community outreach, school social work, and individual and group counseling. She loves working at Palmetto Place because, “No day is ever the same. Some mornings I wake up with a calendar filled with meetings others I get to be casual, take my dog with me to the office, catch up on paperwork and phone calls, and spend time with the kids when they get home from school.” Her westie Maggie is no stranger to Palmetto Place. She’s a frequent visitor during the summer as she usually chooses one of the teens to nap with while they sleep in.
Shaneequah Sabir-Morant - Administrative Coordinator
Shaneequah is more than just the voice on the other end of the phone and a reply to your email, she’s the behind the scenes anchor that helps our shelter run smoothly. She is here to help you get involved as a volunteer, is a motherly figure to many of our kids, and helps the rest of us stay organized. “I’ve always been very compassionate and my faith has taught me to share that compassion with others. I love working at Palmetto Place because, while it can be challenging, there are many more rewarding days than hard days.” Growing up, Shaneequah was surrounded by people who loved her and helped shape who she is today, “They believed in me and gave me the opportunity to learn and grow from my mistakes and accomplishments. By being a part of the Palmetto Place team, I’m able to pass my love, compassion and life lessons on to our children each day. There is absolutely nothing I can't conquer."
Grace Bennett – Project Coordinator
Grace works in our office and is our Project Coordinator. Growing up in Michigan she longed for warmer days, which she found her first summer in South Carolina. She graduated from USC with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications with emphases in advertising and business administration in 2015. In college, Grace found her passion for helping others through Omega Phi Alpha, a national service sorority. She continues to serve her passion by volunteering with Columbia Opportunity Resources (COR), United Way of the Midlands, and of course, Palmetto Place.
lottie felkel - Case manager and community outreach coordinator
Lottie has always dreamed of having a career with a purpose, which motivated her to get her Master's in Social Work specializing in social, economic, and community development. As a case manager at Palmetto Place, Lottie works with kids who are in foster care. She helps them with making appointments, signing up for programs, and reaching their long-term goals. “Some days my job is simply being a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear, other days I fight for kids in court and help them reach their full potential.” Growing up in South Carolina, Lottie’s father became her hero. “He lived through the great depression, World War II and losing the love of his life; somehow maintaining strength and positivity that I hope to emulate in my life and position at Palmetto Place.”
Alicia McMullen - Intake Case Manager
Before joining the Palmetto Place team, Alicia proudly served for 8 years in the US Army and received a degree in Human Service and Child and Family Welfare. She is currently working on getting her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and practices those skills in her position as an Intake Case Manager. “I’ve always enjoyed working with kids. As a child, I was in foster care myself and now I’m able to use that experience, and the knowledge I’ve gained since, to make a difference for kids currently in care.” As an ICM, Alicia works directly with the kids in our children’s shelter on a day-to-day basis to assess needs, challenges and successes. “My grandmother raised six girls all on her own. At Palmetto Place, I’m helping raise young men and women every day. I try to live by my grandmother’s example and push myself to do my best for them.”
Courtney Tidwell- Basic Center Program Coordinator
Courtney Tidwell serves as the Program Director for the Basic Center Program in our teen house. As South Carolina native with a degree in Human Services, Courtney thrives when advocating for the teens who call Palmetto Place home. When she isn't helping our residents, you're likely to find her snacking at her desk. In a world without homeless teens and child abuse, a world without the needs for Palmetto Place, Courtney would spend her days critiquing food. Her three year old son, Cameron is more than just her hero, he keeps her grounded and always reminds her to see the best in every situation.
Kristan Powell - Resident liaison and independent living coordinator
Kristan works with the teens in our Unaccompanied Youth program, helping them set goals for their future while serving as an advocate to ensure their needs are met. She is a graduate of Missouri State University and is currently working on her Master’s in Public Administration from Clemson. She has previously worked with the American Red Cross and AmeriCorps in disaster relief and volunteer management, and hopes to continue working in community service. She is passionate about building strong communities, and feels that this position gives her the ability to make a positive impact on the Midlands. When she is not working, she’s usually hanging out with her husband and their two dogs, Ash and Lola.
Our house parents and child care specialists are responsible for the daily physical and emotional care-giving of the child residents at Palmetto Place 24 hours a day. We thank them for their many years of combined service and dedication to our kids.