Our Leadership

“There is a gorgeous wisdom that can only be gained by surviving and thriving. We must walk through the fire, get burned and scarred, reflect, and heal. When we offer it to the world, real change occurs.”
– Cherene Caraco
PRN Founder and CEO

Kevin Garrison
CFO

Bio coming soon...

Aaron Wells
Director of Recovery Courts
& Recovery HUB

I have been part of the PRN staff family for 6 years and have served communities by supporting its marginalized citizens for many years. Employment at PRN allows me to be part of a movement that is people centered in philosophy and service delivery. My personal recovery is solidly attached to my employment.

Assignments in county Recovery Courts, PRN Recovery HUB and class facilitation have allowed me to utilize my Peer Support Specialist skills while intentionally interacting with recovery daily. Like everyone else in the PRN space, I am able to allow the best of who I am to be present for the benefit of our recovery/wellness community, individuals impacted and our wonderful organization.

Lisa Krystynak
Director of Recovery HUB &
First Court Liaison

In 2015 I began an amazing journey with PRN, bringing with me 25 years of Human Service experience and a Master of Science, Rehabilitation Counseling Degree. However, my willingness to live out and share my lived experiences is the vital part of what I offer. I am a Trauma Survivor, a trauma that would leave me with significant experiences with Grief & Loss, Judicial and Social Service Systems involvement, Media and Community harsh judgement upon myself and my family.

I am also a person in long term recovery from the Family Disease Side of Substance Use Disorder. In the confusion and chaos of living with active users, I lost my spirit, my peace. Life was a survival game, fear is where I lived, Narcan placed strategically around my home, like prized decorations. My spiritual recovery began in the rooms of Al-Alon, where I worked my own 12-step program with sponsorship. These experiences have given me multiple opportunities to work with parents and families who are walking this road of fear, seeing no hope. PRN has provided a healing platform for me, as I continue my Recovery Journey to wellness and as I use my lived experience to spark Hope in the people and the communities we support.

Darcy Quan
Director of IPS
Supported Employment

I have worked at PRN since 2015. It has been extremely transformative for me to work at an agency that focuses on the person rather than the labels and stigma that is typically attached. My entire life I have felt “different” and never felt as if I belonged to a tribe or community. I have experienced anxiety, severe trauma and depression since a young age and was taught it was just part of life and something you pick yourself up by your bootstraps and deal with. PRN has helped me explore my own wellness and discover the power within myself.

PRN has helped me explore my own wellness and discover the power within myself. I am grateful every day that I am able to be part of the PRN community and have finally found my tribe. I now have the opportunity to share my recovery journey with others and inspire hope everyday.

Kristan Brown
Quality Assurance/
Improvement Director

My life was forever changed when I began my journey at PRN in 2015. After 14 years in the Non-Profit sector, I discovered the Trauma Informed approach to Wellness I was seeking to be a part of. My personal approach to wellness is through utilization of self-reflection and education, and PRN has allowed me the space and opportunity to practice and witness wellness daily. I am honored to be along for the growth of this great organization and the individuals supported.

Bunnie Holston
Director of Human Resources

I have the wonderful pleasure to be the Human Resources Director of PRN. I’ve been in the corporate HR world going on 20 + years but, have always yearned to be in an environment that’s mission and vision were more parallel with my own personal journey and philosophies. And thus, the opportunity opened at PRN in which I humbly became part of a world that allowed me to balance my human resource experience, lived experience and peer support.

This combination has allotted me the privilege of being able to put the “human” in human resources. But most importantly, it has given me the opportunity to align myself with hope, recovery and connection.

Charlyne Boyette
Director of Peer-Led Initiatives

Cherene says the reason I was chosen as Director of Peer Led Initiatives was because she saw in me over many years that I am a person who lives from the heart. It is absolutely my privilege to be grafted into the family of Promise Resource Network, to listen with love on the warm line, to elevate forensic peer support in NC, and to explore how my passions might become my purpose. I am especially grateful for the warm welcome I have already received from the PRN family that includes the incredible invitation to make mistakes and see them as ongoing opportunities for learning.

This has proven a challenge for me as a woman in the process of healing from life-long challenges related to complex trauma, mental and emotional distress, substance dependence, and resultant institutionalizations and incarcerations. I am humbled and inspired each day I show up at PRN – overwhelmed with gratitude for the awesome privilege of learning anew how to let myself be loved in community so that I am more effective in extending that love to others. Certainly, the best is yet to come.

Amanda Martin
Director of Community Initiatives

Upon my release from incarceration in 2014, after five years as an incarcerated person and a person on a journey of long-term, self-defined recovery from substances; I decided the disparities that accompanied reentry, recovery and wellness were going to be just one more obstacle I could and would overcome. Because of my lived experience of incarceration, wellness, and recovery, I’m now a Certified Peer Support Specialist.

As a CPSS I am able to work in Treatment Courts in Mecklenburg County where I share my lived experience, inspire hope in others, advocate for and with peers, share and make community resources, walk with individuals during system involvement and along their recovery and wellness journey; in addition to de-stigmatizing system involvement and the recovery/wellness journey by being transparent with court staff and participants about my personal reentry, recovery and wellness. I do this work because I believe that “those closest to the problems are also closest to the solution.” – G. Martin

Our Board of Directors

Jane Clark
Board Chair

Volunteering with PRN allows me to combine my professional skills with my personal passion for helping individuals, families, and communities learn that overall health includes both physical and mental wellness.

I am in recovery from a mental health diagnosis first given to me when I was 16 years old. At the time, the need for mental health care was viewed as a moral issue and not the medical issue that it is. As a result, I thought there must just be something wrong with me as a person. I didn’t know that the diagnosis did not define me any more, or any less, than being told what my blood type is, or what the color of my hair is. My personal experience fuels my volunteerism and professional passion to contribute to the creation of healthier individuals, families, and communities. Professionally, I have held multiple leadership roles with public or behavioral health agencies at local, state and regional levels and I am certified as a Prevention Specialist through state and international licensing boards.

Stephanie Adelman
Board Secretary

Shortly after I became a public defender in 1993 I quickly realized how important understanding mental health is to achieving the best outcome for my clients. I became involved in a committee of folks from, what was then called, area mental health and a few public defenders.

We began trying to understand each other’s language. It was a slow start but over the years we formed relationships which helped both agencies achieve best results. I later created a felony court program which addresses incarcerated clients’ mental health and addiction issues while at the same time obtaining their early release. Now I serve as the defense attorney in district and superior treatment courts as well as Wellness Court, a mental health court. Promise Resource Network has come alongside my clients as a peer support specialist and that is one of the main reasons why treatment courts are so successful! Because Promise Resource network is peer run, peer support can focus on what is possible instead of operating within a system with limitations where too often many things are seen as not possible. PRN rejects the view of traditional treatment systems that foster dependency and low expectation but rather focuses on the eight dimensions of wellness, recovery and self-determination. I have suffered from anxiety for most of my life and I have learned a lot from the peer support specialists at PRN. PRN has made me a better professional and advocate for my clients. PRN has made me better personally by giving me a better vision of what wellness really looks like. The sky is the limit for Promise Resource Network and I am beyond thrilled to be a part of it!

Jon Weddell
Board Member

Bio coming soon...

Ken Schuesselin
Board Member

I have two decades of experience in the mental health and substance use disorder treatment, recovery, and policy field. In these roles, I directed the development of policies and initiatives that increased opportunities for community inclusion, self-determination, and recovery.

I served as the Assistant Director for Consumer Policy for the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, where I was the key policy advisor for individuals across the substance use disorders, developmental disabilities, and mental health systems. I has been active in the recovery community for over 30 years, and my life and career reflect an ongoing commitment to self-determination and self-actualization.

Our Team

“Experts by Experience have wisdom that cannot be taught in a classroom or replicated by even years of professional experience. It is unmatched. It is earned. It is effective.”
– Cherene Caraco
PRN Founder and CEO

Recovery Hub

Kim Porter
Recovery Relations Assistant

I moved to Charlotte in 2006 from San Diego and found myself depressed and dealing with a lot of anxiety due to past trauma. I volunteered to facilitate classes and was eventually hired by Promise Resource Network.

I work at the Welcome Desk and greet people as they come to Promise Resource Network. Because of my past experience with domestic violence and childhood abuse sharing this information could help others with their issues. Promise Resource Network is a great place to work and I am glad to be a part of the team.

Kim Lewis
Community Connections Coordinator

I came to Promise Resource Network in the winter of 2013. As someone who identifies with mental health and trauma, I was humbled to become part of the PRN. While working here I use the skills I built in my own recovery to help others find their resiliency and path to wellness.

Sharon Galusky
HUB & Community Education Liaison

As an educator and Certified Peer Support Specialist, I have the opportunity to share recovery at Promise Resource Network (PRN) and in community programs that serve people experiencing mental health and/or substance use challenges. Teaching is my passion and I understand how amazing it is to stand in my purpose.

I have over 30 years in the human service field and have been married for 28 years to my sweet Sandy. I am blessed to have 29 years of sobriety and over a decade of living in mental health recovery. Love and laughter are the pillars of my recovery. I am a self-proclaimed serenity seeker and I insist on having fun.

Sam Cowden
CPSS HUB & Wellness Courts

I began struggling with substance use disorder when I was ten years old and after numerous arrests, overdoses, damaged relationships, and failed attempts at staying clean on my own, I chose to make a change. I asked for help. Shortly after getting clean, I began working for a sober living house and then an inpatient facility.

I was discouraged from sharing my own personal experiences while working inpatient and that is when I discovered peer support and knew, immediately, this is what I wanted to do. I believe through sharing my lived experience with others, I can help people grow, change, and overcome their own challenges in life.

Jane Ritz
Expressive Arts Facilitator

I spent my life in the "Program". The Program of not-enoughness, lack, judgment, and fear. I took these ideas as my truth, and in that emotional/mental pit of despair, I turned to all the drugs and distractions to avoid the root of my discomfort, my own belief that I wasn't worthy of living on this Earth. I did (and still do) the work to clear, heal, and love my traumas and lived experience. I have tried all the ways to wellness and self-love that I could handle.

I got my BS in Psychology and became RYT 200, and I’m always looking into new ways to align the body, mind, and spirit so that I will never fall for the harmful propaganda of self-loathing that’s in our society. In fact, after I discovered that Jane was worthy of living and thriving, I couldn’t not offer support, tools, and my story to anyone and everyone who would accept me.

That’s when I found PRN, where I volunteered, coincidentally found my family, and now get to share multiple classes a week. I intend to reconnect us with our joyful and courageous nature to follow our life purpose and passion. I use creativity, meditation, and sound healing to add pleasure and play to my offerings. My purpose is to be an active participant in nurturing a global community that’s connected with the thread of love, acceptance, compassion, and creativity.

Casey Jean Miller
Yoga & Mindfulness Facilitator

I first came to holistic wellness when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at the young age of 21. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and was ready to find ways to take care of myself. It was then that I discovered the power of slowing down, and taking daily action to take care of my mind and body. Now a 500-hr registered Therapeutic Yoga Instructor and Wellness Coach, I utilize mindfulness, meditation, herbalism, and yoga to guide others on their path of wellness.

In addition to my mindfulness-based services, I created Jean’s ApotheCare, a holistic body-care and lifestyle brand located in Charlotte, NC.
From my wellness services to my herbal creations, my mission remains the same, to help you live in a way that nurtures your body and mind.

Melinda Wilkinson
Accounts Payable/Receivable

I came to PRN in the Spring of 2014 with 10 years of accounting experience. After being a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, I decided to go back to work part time. I enjoy helping others which makes PRN is a perfect place for me. I perform the accounting functions of PRN, which has grown since I started. I love the mission of PRN and how they help everyone with recovery and without judgment. I am happy to be part of the caring PRN family.

IPS-Employment Support

Ariel Phillips
Supported Employment Specialist

My interest in mental health began in my preteens, while I was in the midst of my own mental health struggles and trauma. My interest and curiosity in understanding the brain, emotions…the human condition, ultimately led me to where I am now. In 2019, I began my journey with PRN, and what a journey it has been. PRN is everything I could have dreamed of and everything I didn’t know I needed.

Housing and Homeownership Support

James Searcy
CPSS SPC/Tenancy Support

I became a NC Certified Peer Support Specialist in 2014 with a lived experience of substance use. I formally had been incarcerated for 17 years in federal prison. Once released I experienced homelessness and eventually engaged in a Supportive Housing Program that provided me the opportunity to be introduced to PRN.

After obtaining my Certification in Peer Support and I was able to work as a Peer Navigator providing Peer Support to Men and Women in the N.C. Dept. of Corrections and Federal Prison. Upon meeting Cherene Caraco, CEO of PRN, I was able to share my recovery story with her.

After several conversations, I had the opportunity to come to work for PRN as a Peer Support Specialist for Mecklenburg County S.P.C. Housing Program. Through my lived experience, I am able to assist others in similar situations and introduce the possibility of recovery. To convey that recovery isn’t only possible, but probable.

Bobby Livingston
CPSS SPC/Tenancy/Housing Support

My recovery journey has been challenging for me throughout life after battling schizophrenia, using alcohol, drugs, and experiencing homelessness. The early years of being unwell were hard and confusing for me because no one in my family knew what was happening to me and did not know how to help. Having been involved with PRN for over 19 years as someone who received services from them and eventually becoming an employee, I can say that the recovery principles they helped me incorporate in my life have been an incredible healing journey.

I currently work with people experiencing homelessness in the SPC program and shelter programs in Mecklenburg County. By sharing my lived experience with those served, we are able to establish trust and connection in whatever they are going through and know that I can help because I have been where they are. My mantra is: HOPE IS THE KEY TO THE NEXT DAY. I always want to instill hope with those I walk with in their journey.

Cedric Coit
Tenancy Support & Supported Employment

I am from Cheraw, South Carolina, the home of Jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie. I attended Claflin University, Orangeburg South Carolina where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology/Minor Criminal Justice. I was introduced to the Mental Health field when I started my career working with troubled youth in September 2005. Throughout my 13 year career I have been enlightened by the effects of trauma and how it affects me personally as well as those we serve within our recovery journeys. I’m currently a Certified Peer Supporter for Promise Resource Network.

Sidney Forrest
Tenancy Support & Supported Employment

Bio coming soon...

Wellness and Recovery Court

Amanda Martin
CPSS Recovery Courts Team Lead & HUB Liaison

Upon my release from incarceration in 2014, after five years as an incarcerated person and a person on a journey of long-term, self-defined recovery from substances; I decided the disparities that accompanied reentry, recovery and wellness were going to be just one more obstacle I could and would overcome. Because of my lived experience of incarceration, wellness, and recovery, I’m now a Certified Peer Support Specialist.

As a CPSS I am able to work in Treatment Courts in Mecklenburg County where I share my lived experience, inspire hope in others, advocate for and with peers, share and make community resources, walk with individuals during system involvement and along their recovery and wellness journey; in addition to de-stigmatizing system involvement and the recovery/wellness journey by being transparent with court staff and participants about my personal reentry, recovery and wellness. I do this work because I believe that “those closest to the problems are also closest to the solution.” – G. Martin

Anna Fiscus
CPSS First Recovery Court

I am a person in long-term recovery from substance use challenges, as well as multiple, complex traumas beginning in childhood and throughout my life. I have also experienced homelessness, hospitalizations, suicide attempts, self-harm, incarceration, domestic and gun violence, and not being able to raise some of my children. I was introduced to PRN in 2015 when I was a participant in one of Mecklenburg County’s Recovery Courts. It was one of their CPSS that planted the seed that I could be a CPSS one day.

Not long after my Recovery Court Graduation, I realized that it was my passion and purpose to share my lived experiences and recovery with others experiencing similar challenges to inspire hope that healing, recovery, and resilience are possible for anyone and everyone.

Jaymes Thomas
CPSS Recovery Courts

I wanted to tell you about my recovery journey which started during my childhood enduring trauma abuse in the form of mental, emotional and some physical forms. Later in adulthood experiencing the depths of major depressive disorder along with separation anxiety and other forms manifested during shattering times emotionally during loss. After working for twenty years in the law enforcement profession I embraced the loud call to action and began working in the mental health field with the goal in mind to encourage, motivate, and help others find their way out of the pain and self-debilitating oscillation of hurt through their traumatic experiences.

I believe that everyone wants to be a diamond and nobody wants to get cut, however these cuts that we all receive serve as our right of passage to create a higher version of ourselves with a powerful purpose in mind to change the course of someone’s life for the greater.

Working with PRN has given me an amazing chance to access others in a totally free way that fully supports the individual’s own personal power and have an authentic self-reflection of their recovery.

Warm-Line

Jennifer Whitfield
Coordinator of Peer-Led Initiatives

My first experiences with depression came as a child but I wasn't aware of what I was feeling at the time. I felt pressure to present an image of a high achiever and someone who always had their stuff together. I began experimenting with alcohol as a teenager and it 'seemed' to help. My substance use escalated throughout college and became a daily activity post-graduation even though I worked in the world of mental health treatment and substance use services.

After about 10 years of increasing alcohol use and the increasing stress and depression associated, I felt I had no way out and tried to escape through taking my own life. This led to entering many treatment facilities, medication management (often over medicated), electric shock treatments and disability. With a lot of support and through learning about myself and how to manage, I returned to work full time and was able to let go of my disability benefits.

My greatest joy is sharing my experiences with others going through difficult challenges so that people know they are not alone and that it is ok to share with others and reach out for support.

Brianna Strickland
CPSS Warm-Line

I currently reside in Greensboro, NC. I’m an artist, an activist and a healer with a strong passion for mental health and social justice through an intersectional lens. I’ve had a long personal history with multiple complex traumas which impacted my mental health from a very early age. My experiences with the various disorders I struggled with as a result of those traumas, often left me feeling like a curse and that my life wasn’t worth living. I also learned that vulnerability can be a gift...that our stories have meaning and can give others hope too.

This is why I feel so honored to be a part of PRN as a Peer Support Specialist on the warm-line. The heartfelt, holistic, peer led approach that PRN embodies aligns with what I feel the world deeply needs more of. We need more empowering resources that look after our most vulnerable, in every community.

Most of us have been in and out of various systems that try to “fix” us, often resulting in more harm and separation. Our world is diverse and complex. It is necessary that we have systems that reflect this with care and sensitivity. I’ve learned that through compassion and connection, healing and recovery from our deepest wounds is possible. For so long, I felt isolated by my adversity until I could reclaim my voice. I want to remind others that I see them, that I hear them, that their lives matter and that we all deserve dignity. We are in this together.

Emerald School of Excellence

Mary Ferreri
Executive Director (Fundraising Liaison for PRN)

I have served eleven years as a Physical Education and Health Teacher in the public school system and two as the Director of Emerald School of Excellence. My passion comes from amazing mentors and coaches that helped me to obtain leadership roles and find creative ways to keep students engaged. I strive to help students become lifelong learners and focus on supporting a young person's mind, body, and soul.

This led me down a path to help students in recovery from substance use and co-occurring disorders. I personally had a tough time in high school; even though I was a strong soccer player, I battled anorexia, depression, and self-harm.

In high school, I ruled out college for myself and barely made it through my senior year. Therefore, finding alternatives is so very important to me and I know that it works based on my own lived experience.

I believe in strong core values and providing students with the necessary tools to face the inevitable challenges that life brings. I currently get to do this at Emerald School of Excellence through educating young people in recovery. I have an amazing staff and team that help drive the vision to ensure that the students we teach, are well-equipped for a healthy and bright future. Once you enroll at Emerald, you are a part of our family forever!

Gabby Wohlford
Director of Administration Emerald School of Excellence
(Resource Development Liaison for PRN)

I was first introduced to the mental health care system at 12 years old. Through my own mental health and substance use journey, I learned firsthand what the mental health care system was lacking: expertise by experience. I have worked at multiple recovery centers in North Carolina with both adult and adolescent populations.

I am currently the Director of Administration at Emerald School of Excellence, the Carolinas’ first Recovery High School. 

Our Impact

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Warm-Line

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8:00 am – 4:30 pm

2nd Saturday of
Every Month

8:00 am – 12:00 pm

CLOSED on Sundays

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