Staff

Bradley Childs

Bradley Childs

Executive Director

Bradley joined Lowcountry AIDS Services in February 2000 as grants administrator and office administrator. Four years later, he stepped in as interim executive director, leading the agency through the purchase and subsequent move into its current location while also launching the successful Shopping With Friends fundraising event.

When the LAS board approached Bradley about applying for the executive director position, he jumped at the opportunity. His passion for the work LAS does is deep and it’s personal. Bradley lost his brother to AIDS in early 1990s, so the work he does every day is close to his heart.

Bradley took over as executive director in 2004 and leading the agency in expansion of services, including case management and prevention. Expanding the agency’s work remains his mission today while also raising awareness and funds for the many services LAS provides. He points to the staff as a key component to the agency’s success and its ability to do so much for the Charleston community.

“I very much believe in this mission,” he said. “I have a personal connection because of my brother and I’m so grateful for the support the organization receives. At times, I’m overwhelmed with it – whether people are giving financially, through volunteering their time or just showing a commitment to the cause.”

Before joining LAS, Bradley worked in medical compliance at the Medical University of South Carolina.

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
It’s not a gay disease. It has such as strong stigma to it. We want people to become educated about what this epidemic is and how it affects our community.

Jill Barnes

Jill Barnes

Business Manager

Jill volunteered with LAS for more than 10 years before she joined the staff in March 2003 as the business manager, overseeing accounting, human resources, budgeting and grants management.

“Having lost too many friends in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and having been a volunteer for the agency for over ten years before this position became available, I couldn’t not jump at the chance to become a full-time staff member,” she says.

Through her work, Jill loves being able to directly impact and support not only the clients’ well-being, but also the very hard-working staff.

Jill previously worked for Charleston County government. She has a bachelor’s degree from Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va. She enjoying spending time with her husband, Kenny, and “kids” Sailor and Brady, kayaking the Lowcountry waterways and hitting every bluegrass festival they can.

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
As our logo implies, knowing is the key to prevention. Education for all ages and walks of life is crucial for ending this epidemic. After all, AIDS is absolutely preventable.

Jennifer Benvenuto

Jennifer Benvenuto

Licensed Master Social Worker

Jennifer works as a lead case manager at LAS. She previously worked inprevention of HIV, sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancy. Hearing the stigma associated with HIV, Jennifer says she knew she would be successful in educating anyone willing to listen to the facts.

She has been working with LAS since 2007 and enjoyseducating and empowering people to enhance their own quality of life. “I pride myself on my knowledge of community resources and agencies and being able to connect my clients to needed services is an awesome feeling,” she says. “I love when my clients find community resources or programs that they tell me about because they want to help someone else in their similar situation.”

Before joining LAS, Jennifer worked in teenage pregnancy and prevention, including interventions with first-time teen moms, prevention in the alternative schools with students and also research in best practices.

She earned her master of social work from Virginia Commonwealth University along with a certificate in nonprofit management and received her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Tennessee.

If the sun is out and Jennifer isn’t working, then she’s probably at the beach – wishing she had a boat, she says. She also enjoys bargain shopping, painting and refurbishing furniture, needlepoint, gardening and crossword puzzles. Jennifer grew up in Memphis, Tenn., and visits her parents there regularly. She lives on Johns Island with her lab mix, Shelby Mae.

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
HIV/AIDS affects everyone and people should be more knowledgeable and know the basics of transmission. Nobody should ever judge or make assumptions about people or label them because they have been diagnosed with HIV. HIV/AIDS is also preventable if “we” – all people – did a better job educating people at a younger age. The virus could be eradicated.

Clint Blunt

Clint Blunt

Quality Improvement Manager

Clint joined LAS in October 2015, working with the team to plan, organize, direct and lead the personnel and work process of the quality improvement program. He also ensures all staff members’ documentation and data reports are accurate and meet funding guidelines.

Clint previously worked with LAS before moving to Hawaii. Once he returned to South Carolina, Clint says he was eager to pick back up in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The staff and volunteers at LAS are unified in their vision to see an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country and around the world.

The most gratifying part of his job at LAS is watching his coworkers and the clients of LAS working together to change lives, communities and attitudes for those living with HIV, Clint says. “We also plant seeds that help some people make the right decisions to prevent new HIV infections.”

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
I wish that people knew that HIV is still a part of living in society today.  Many people believe that HIV is an epidemic from years gone by, but fail to realize that HIV, and those committed to fighting it, are still in their communities.

Ashley Brooks

Ashley Brooks

Director of Programs & Services

Since joining LAS in February 2011, Ashley has been responsible for implementing, managing and evaluating all LAS’s programs and services. She is passionate about the agency’s mission and believes in its work making a positive difference in the lives of the clients.

Prior to earning her social work degree, Ashley spent three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cape Verde, West Africa, where her primary focus was community development and health education. While earning her master of social work at Boston University, she interned at Big Sisters and facilitated healthy life choices groups for at-risk adolescent girls in Boston public schools and housing projects.

She also interned at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition and was responsible for creating and developing a trans-generational citizenship project with Cape Verdean youth and elders in their community. After graduating from BU, Ashley worked as a community health advocate in Boston with gang involved youth and their families.

Ashley joined the staff at Nantucket AIDS Network in spring 2007 as the manager of community education and outreach as later as director of programs and services.

Ashley loves living in Charleston where she can enjoy boating, fishing, bike riding and walking her dogs on the beach.

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
HIV/AIDS respects no boundaries. It can happen to anyone.

April Frasier

April Frasier

Medical Case Manager

Since joining LAS in March 2011, April has focused on increasing the quality of care and quality of life of persons living with HIV/AIDS by helping clients make informed decisions based on their needs, abilities, resources and personal preferences. In addition, she assists with the cost of care though coordinated services as well as working on the implementation and growth of client support groups. April is a co-facilitator for WILLOW (Women In Life Learning from Other Women) and an all-women’s support group as well as a Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) case manager.

With a bachelor’s degree from Voorhees College and a master’s degree from South Carolina State University, April has been making a difference for more than a decade. When the opportunity presented itself for her to play a role in the lives of persons living with HIV/AIDS, April jumped at it. April is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

“I have been touched directly by people who are very dear to me by this epidemic, and feel strongly that if my voice can help put a stop to the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS as well as the spread of it, then that would be my mission,” she says.

April says the most gratifying part of her job at LAS is the bonds she has formed with so many of her clients. “I’ve realized a long time ago, that people need people,” she says. “And if I’m my clients ‘person,’ the one they feel they can call when they need something medically or when they just need to talk, I’m happy to be that. Just being there for my clients, because so many of them don’t have that, is more than gratifying for me.”

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
Knowledge is power! We as a people have to play an active role in our lives to help reduce the number of new cases, while improving the quality of life for those who are already infected and the only way to do this is by being educated.

Tampa Fye

Tamra Fye

Administrative Coordinator

Tamra joined the LAS team in June 2016 where she provides secretarial and clerical support to the executive director. She also assists the volunteer coordinator with volunteer services programs. Before joining LAS, Tamra served eight years with the U.S. Army, completing one tour in Iraq. Then she worked as a correctional officer with the S.C. Department of Corrections. Tamra has a degree in criminal justice from Virginia College of Birmingham, Alabama.

She joined LAS to help give back to the community. “The most gratifying part of my job is knowing that I am a part of an amazing organization, and I am able to serve the community in such a great way.”

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
I wish people knew that you can have a long and fulfilling life living with HIV/AIDS.

Aaron Harvey

Program Coordinator

Aaron joined Lowcountry AIDS Services in June 2002 and focuses on locating those clients who have fallen out of LAS case management and medical services so they can be reconnected with support services. Aaron also works to determine why those clients disconnected from the agency to identify any problems or barriers to service.

Aaron joined LAS, he said, “to have a direct and meaningful impact in enriching the lives of African Americans and those similarly disproportionately affected by this epidemic.” The most gratifying part of his job is educating the community, clients and young people that HIV and sexually transmitted infections are preventable.

Aaron has a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and previously was in the U.S. Army and worked for Goodwill Industries and Charleston County Human Services. He is an avid golfer and fisherman, a vestry member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and has five grandchildren.

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of knowledge.

Jason Kirk

Jason Kirk

Director of Development & Marketing

Jason joined LAS in October 2015 to oversee the agency’s fundraising efforts. From individual donors to corporate sponsors and foundations, Jason connects these supporters to the LAS mission. Jason also coordinates the agency’s participation in a number of fundraising events throughout the year to ensure those events raise money and awareness for the mission. Plus, Jason oversees the volunteer program, working with giving and talented volunteers who help with educational outreach, administrative support or special event needs.

Before joining LAS, Jason was the annual giving and development services manager at the South Carolina Aquarium and the director of development at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville.

Now he’s putting his fundraising skills at use at LAS, where Jason says he gets to wake up daily and know his efforts are being put to good use. “The funding that I help bring in for LAS will go right back into programs and services that enhance the quality of life for those affected by HIV/AIDS and also help educate our community on issues that truly matter and make a lasting difference,” he said.

Jason is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and serves as vice chairman of the USA Cares South Carolina Chapter, which helps post 9-11 veterans and active service military members in need throughout the state. Jason is an avid kayaker and a huge Star Trek fan.

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
HIV/AIDS is still here and it is still taking a toll on the lives of so many in our community. We can’t forget about this epidemic or those who continue to be affected by it each and every day in the Lowcountry and beyond.

Michael Luciano

Michael Luciano

Peer Educator and Board Chairman, MUSC/LAS Consumer Advisory Board

Michael Luciano wears many hats but all his responsibilities have one goal: to bring about education and awareness of HIV/AIDS. He has been facilitating support groups for LAS since 2011. Luciano developed an HIV 101 course in early 2012 that has since grown into a detailed presentation titled “HIV Self-Management & Self Advocacy” that is presented monthly to new LAS clients.

Luciano works with other staff members as a peer-facilitator for the Healthy Relationships program as well as helping coordinate the Shanti LIFE (Learning Immune Function Enhancement) program, an intensive 12-week educational program that explores 26 different co-factors to health.  He is also a certified by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to conduct HIV testing.

As the board chairman of the Medical University of South Carolina/Lowcountry AIDS Services Consumer Advisory Board, Luciano leads a group of patients at MUSC’s HIV-care program and clients of LAS seeking to enhance the quality and quantity of services offered. The board also develops client-prioritized educational and social opportunities, as well as interaction with the greater Charleston community.

In all his roles, Luciano wants to see individuals take control of their own care. The most gratifying part of his work at LAS is “getting to directly see a positive impact on others who become more engaged in their own care, or more involved in advocacy work as a result of my very public profile.”

Luciano is also involved with the S.C. HIV Planning Council, S.C. Positive Advocacy Committee, S.C. HIV Task Force, Southern AIDS Strategy Initiative, HIV PJA – HIV Prevention Justice Alliance, National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project, PozHealth and the TellThem.org advocacy network.

Luciano has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Manhattan College and a master’s degree in cultural anthropology from City University of New York/Hunter College. When he isn’t advocating for HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and education, Luciano enjoys cycling, camping, hiking, kayaking and reading.

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
A virus does not care if you’re a sinner or saint, man or woman, gay or straight, black, white or Latino. There is no shame in being HIV positive.

Gillian Maro

Medical Case Manager

Gillian joined LAS in July 2013 and works primarily with women and adolescents. Gillian is a Licensed Master Social Worker with a bachelor’s degree in child and family studies from State University of New York at Oneonta and a master of social work from State University of New York at Stony Brook.

She originally started working on the preventive side of HIV, visiting high schools, middle schools and drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers to speak with adolescents about pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV prevention. “I believe that when provided with the right information and skills, people will be able to make healthy and responsible choices,” she says.

The best part of her work at LAS is helping people see the endless possibilities they can have when they set goals for themselves, Gillian says. “I enjoy being able to help connect people to the necessary resources that can help make these goals achievable.”

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
I wish that everyone knew the concrete facts about HIV, especially transmission. I believe that the main reason the stigma of HIV is still so high is because people do not understand that HIV is not immune to any ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or economic class.

Riley Nikolychik

Riley Nikolychik

Medical Case Manager

Riley Nikolychik, LMSW, joined the staff of LAS in March 2016 and is helping support her clients in all aspects of their lives in order to facilitate wellness, and remove barriers to effective treatment and support networks.

A previous LAS volunteer, Riley is now assisting clients as they face the overwhelming news of a HIV diagnosis. “Because I know we have the information and tools to help, it’s easy to get behind the work that we do at LAS,” Riley says. “The stigma is a still a significant barrier to knowing one’s status and accessing treatment, preventing us from eradicating the disease. I want to be a part of the movement to dismantle it.”

Riley has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Charleston and a master’s degree in social work from the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining LAS, Riley worked as a therapist helping children and families heal from trauma. She saw people overcome tremendous hardships and knows her clients as LAS do the same.

“I am humbled by, and in awe of, our clients’ courage and resilience,” she says.

In her free time, Riley enjoys cooking, running, reading, writing and spending time with friends and family.

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
Your status! Regardless of your status, there is power in knowing, and there is help.

Calica Parson

ARTAS Linkage to Care Coordinator

As the linkage to care coordinator, it’s Calica’s job to “link” anyone who is newly diagnosed as HIV positive or anyone who dropped out of care to obtain medical assistance. She facilitates connections with any other services clients may need, breaking down any barriers that may keep them from medical care.

She also co-facilitates two interventions: WILLOW (Women In Life Learning from Other Women) for HIV positive women and L.I.F.E. (Learning Immune Function Enhancement) for any individual who is HIV positive. Calica is also a trained phlebotomist and certified by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to conduct HIV testing.

Calica joined LAS in July 2012 for the opportunity to work with a population of people who are from all walks of life while also raising awareness around an epidemic that affects everyone in some way.

Calica says the best part of her work at LAS is “seeing client’s recognize their strengths, and not letting the diagnosis of HIV define who they are.”

She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in clinical counseling from Webster University. Calica is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She has a 7-year-old daughter Laila and a 4-year-old Jack Russell named Tracee.

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
That it is 100% treatable and no longer a death sentence.

Tawana Philpott

Tawana Philpott

Medical Case Manager

As a medical case manager at LAS since 2011, Tawana provides case management services to clients to ensure they are medically compliant. She also assists clients in receiving federal Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS services and is a co-facilitator for WILLOW (Women In Life Learning from Other Women) for HIV positive women.

Tawana had two family members die from HIV so working with this population has been her passion for a long time, she says. And the best part is “when I can see that light bulb go off in a client’s head that says this is a chronic disease that I can live with if properly treated. I live to see clients have that ‘ah-ha’ moment.”

Tawana has a bachelor’s degree from Anderson University and master’s degree from Webster University. When she isn’t working, Tawana is spending time with her young son and she “lives for family vacations,” she says. She is also a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
That no one is exempt, this disease can happen to anyone. It does not discriminate against race, age, gender, or socioeconomic status.

Dalina Rainey

Dalina Rainey, LMSW

Medical Case Manager

In her role as medical case manager with LAS, Dalina collaborates with individuals to help them successfully manage their physical and mental health, finances and the other complex challenges of the health care system.

As a graduate student studying social work at the University of South Carolina, Dalina partnered with advocacy group Tell Them and several of her classmates to advocate for the Healthy Youth Amendment to the Comprehensive Health Education Act. This bill would update the sex education law requiring all public schools in South Carolina to provide medically accurate, age-appropriate information about STI protection and pregnancy prevention.

“I came to LAS because the organization not only provides resources to individuals who have been diagnosed, but the staff also works to educate and prevent the transmission of STI’s and HIV,” she said. “I wanted to take up the torch and be a part of local and worldwide mission.”

Prior to joining LAS, Dalina conducted forensic interviews with children exposed to domestic violence and illegal substances as well as physical and sexual abuse. She provided trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy for children who scored high on the scale for stress reactions to the trauma they experienced.

Dalina volunteers with her church and is a member of the American Case Management Association. She enjoys reading, Yoga, cooking, traveling, and doing all of these things with her husband, two girls and their two Yorkies.

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
HIV does not discriminate.

Shavon Washington

Shavon Washington

Tester/Counselor

Shavon S. Washington joined LAS as a tester/counselor in February 2016. In addition to administering HIV and STI tests, Shavon provides risk reduction counseling and referrals as well as ensuring accurate information is obtained for each test and document testing folders, communicating with clients, and processing specimens for delivery to the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

After volunteering with LAS for two years, Shavon said she was eager to work for the agency as a way to give back to her community. “I was always community conscious and thought this would be a great way to educate and empower the community.”

And that empowerment is one of the most gratifying aspects of Shavon’s role at LAS as she empowers all clients to be aware of HIV and other STDs and how to protect themselves.

Shavon is also a volunteer with the Guardian Ad Litem program in the Charleston area as a guardian to abused and neglected children. She is attending Limestone College, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work.

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
I would like people know that HIV is faceless, meaning it can be anyone from any walk of life.

Adam Weaver

Adam Weaver

Specialized Case Manager

Adam joined the LAS team in June 2016 as a specialized case manager. Specialized Medical Case Management is a strengths-based intervention program designed to locate, re-engage and support clients who have fallen out of medical care.

Adam begins his work with the outreach team to first locate clients who have fallen out of care and bring them back into the agency so they can start the work of re-entering into medical care and case management. He works closely with clients to identify individual barriers to care and empower them to use their own skills and strengths to mediate those barriers with the ultimate goal of transitioning clients into self-sustaining advocates for their own health and treatment.

The best part of his job, Adam says, is “being able to work with and support the people in this wonderful community.”

Prior to joining the team at LAS, Adam volunteered with agency. And he volunteered with We Are Family, ultimately launching a Gay-Straight Alliance at West Ashley High School called PRIDE.

Adam moved to Charleston in his role with Teach for America, a national nonprofit dedicated to providing quality education to children in high-needs communities. He taught high school special education for three years at West Ashley High School.

Adam has a bachelor’s degree in education from Boston University and a master’s degree in instructional accommodation from Francis Marion University. A former pole vaulter for eight years, Adam now enjoys spending time outdoors, photography, woodworking and caring for his pit bull Ralph.

What is the one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?
There is still so much work to be done! There are a lot of people out there who think that HIV/AIDS are a thing of the past. There is still so much work to be done in terms of education, prevention and management.