NAMI Georgia Staff
Kim H. Jones
“As a person with a family member who has experienced issues in the area of mental health, I have a passion for the mission of NAMI Georgia to promote recovery and optimize the quality of life for Georgians affected by mental illness through support, education, advocacy, and research. The NAMI mission describes my life for the past two years, as I have worked to get my loved one the right doctors, medication, and therapy. I have personal experience and a passion for this job, in addition to experience and skills I believe will help the NAMI mission.” Read more about Kim.
Family Programs Coordinator
Jennifer Ayers-Moore is an alumni of Kent State University and National Louis University. She has a Bachelors degree in Behavioral Science. Ayers-Moore has many years of experience in teaching, counseling, program development, program management, and has taken the lead for many successful campaigns to support the homeless, hungry, children in foster care and continues to advocate for those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, as well as their family’s. Her inspiration for being so active in this environment is her brother, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia while attending The Juilliard School of Music in New York. Jennifer has been introduced as a “Keynote” speaker for many events and has developed very valuable friendships from her travels that she cherishes. Ayers-Moore is an active blogger, continuing the discussion of mental illness and sharing her experiences, as a sibling and encouraging others to do the same.
Children and Young Adult Programs Manager
Jennifer Cardenas joins the NAMI Georgia team as the Child and Young Adult Program Manager. She was born and raised in Atlanta, and is proud to call Georgia home. Jennifer holds a Master of Science in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University and has spent over ten years as an advocate for children and young adults, and their families, to foster collaboration between home and school for individuals struggling with mental illness and learning differences. She has extensive experience working with schools, educational leadership, and State Legislators to promote awareness and support stakeholders by identifying programs dedicated to mental health and wellness. Jennifer is committed to eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness, and she is excited to bring her experience and passion for collaborative advocacy, mental health, and education to NAMI Georgia.
Sandy Dean joined the NAMI Georgia staff in May 2019 as the Resource Coordinator, working to support our volunteers and HelpLine. She has worked in both the corporate and non-profit sectors and most recently worked at Girls on the Run of Atlanta as Program Director. Sandy earned her B.S. degree in Business at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and her M.S in Professional Counseling from Georgia State University. She is excited to be able to incorporate both her non-profit and corporate work experience to help support an organization that educates and advocates to reduce the stigma of mental illness. Sandy lives in Atlanta with her husband, three busy teenagers, and rescue dog Stella.
Special Projects Manager
Jay joined the NAMI Georgia staff in April, 2019, following six years in business development for a private behavioral health hospital in South Georgia. Jay’s portfolio at NAMI includes serving as a resource for our affiliates and helping to plan NAMIWalks Southwest Georgia. Jay grew up in Moultrie, GA, home to the Southwest Georgia Walk, has a Bachelor’s in International Affairs from the University of Georgia and a Master’s in International Relations from Richmond, the American University in London, and lives in Atlanta with his wife, Collins. He is excited to work in the non-profit side of behavioral healthcare and to help his hometown Walk continue to succeed.
Associate Director of Policy and Awareness
A native of Albany, Georgia, our new Associate Director of Policy and Awareness Elizabeth Fullerton, MPH, comes to NAMI Georgia with almost two decades of experience in public health, governmental affairs, communications and community development. An experienced team leader, she previously worked as a legislative analyst on healthcare and education initiatives with Nelson Mullins, LLP, promoted communications, advocacy and education with both the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education and the Southeast AIDS Training and Education Center at Emory University and served as a Health Volunteer in Peace Corps Turkmenistan. In her role as Associate Director, she is responsible for initiatives and projects which will include organizing and engaging key stakeholders, including affiliates and civic leaders. She will also help create awareness and partnerships for NAMI Georgia to enhance the vision and mission of the organization, monitor and develop legislation and policy initiatives, work with volunteers and spearhead civic dinners across the state. When not advocating for better healthcare, Elizabeth loves to garden, paint and go explore with her dog, Kadi, and (occasionally) cat, Maxie. She also loves being an Auntie to her fraternal, three year old twin nieces and is a member of both the Kiwanis Club and the Junior League of Atlanta.
Office Manager and Volunteer Coordinator
Shamika Gooding, a native of Jacksonville, NC, graduated from Full Sail University with a B.S in Media Communications. She came to Atlanta in 2014 to master TV/Film/Audio Engineering at the University of Sound & Technology of Atlanta, graduating in 2017. Shamika joined NAMI Georgia in 2017 as the full-time Office Manager and Volunteer Coordinator. Shamika’s passion is to help children with a mental illness enhance their creativity and express themselves through music.
Affiliate Relations Manager
A native of Atlanta, Bonnie has returned to her hometown after fifteen years working in PR around the country. She spent most of the last decade in Nashville, where she left marketing to join NAMI Tennessee as Advocacy and Communications Manager. In that role, she shaped and promoted legislative priorities, and she launched the Tennessee Parity Project (TPP) with Sita Diehl, former NAMI Director of Policy & State Outreach. TPP is a coalition of behavioral health stakeholders from across the state which advocates for parity legislation and participates in parity education. The education module has now been adopted into the NAMI Smarts curriculum. She was also sponsorship coordinator for NAMI Tennessee’s Annual Conference and staff director of the annual Vision of Hope Awards Gala. In the wider behavioral health landscape, she also served on the Tennessee Pre-Arrest Diversion Coalition and on the Steering Committee of the Tennessee Coalition for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
First Responder Manager
Sara Karaga, originally from Buffalo, New York, moved to Lawrenceville, Georgia at a young age . Sara describes herself as a lifelong learner. She earned her M.S. degree in Mental Health Counseling from Georgia State University, and her B.A., in Psychology from Auburn University. Sara’s research interests include resiliency, identity development, wellness, and stress and coping. She is passionate about increasing community resiliency through mental health advocacy. Outside of work Sara loves cooking, spending time with her family, and hanging out at dog parks.
Yvonne Newman joined NAMI Georgia in 2018 as the Finance Manager. She supports NAMI Georgia in meeting its financial goals, including the management of cash flow, general ledger, and annual budget as well as payroll and personnel maintenance. She has worked in many industries and has settled in the non-profit venue previously providing support for Angelwood, Inc and Presbyterian Social Ministries in Jacksonville, Florida. Originally from Marietta, Georgia, Yvonne received her BA in Business from Georgia Southern University.
Peer Programs Coordinator
Kenya Phillips, a native of Atlanta, GA; by way of Greenville, MS. She graduated Clark Atlanta University with a B.A. in Business Management, concentration in Marketing. She continued her studies at the Interdenominational Theological Center, Gammon Seminary, where she pursued a Dual Masters in Divinity and Christian Education. However, she is indeed a scholar; who is currently working on her Educational Doctorate in Pastoral Community Counseling at Argosy University. Although, she is a woman of many hats; her foundational block includes being a wife, mother, and poet who carries a smile of enthusiasm to those whom she considers close and dear to her heart. Many people who know her say that she never meets a stranger; for, out of her narrative is her passion, zeal, testament, and ability to advocate and assist other individuals who strive for recovery and wellness in the daily journey called life.
Maria Ramos, a native of Brewton, AL, graduated from the University of Montevallo with a B.A. in Psychology. After graduating, Maria committed to a year of national service through the AmeriCorps program. After AmeriCorps, Maria worked with Impact America, a nonprofit focusing on mitigating various disparities in low-income communities throughout the southeast. Currently, Maria serves as Program Manager with NAMI Georgia, and is passionate about providing much-needed mental health education, advocacy, support, and services while continuing her love for nonprofit work.
Children and Young Adult Programs Coordinator
Molly, a native of Douglasville, GA, graduated from the University of West Georgia with a B.A. in Psychology. After spending many years working in customer service, Molly joined the NAMI Georgia team in September of 2018 as the Children and Young Adult Coordinator. Molly incorporates her service experience, passion for helping others, and knowledge of psychology into her work as she helps to spread awareness about the importance of promoting education and advocacy for mental health.
Yuniko, a native of St. Thomas US Virgin Islands, and is a graduate of Wake Forest University in North Carolina. She got her start in higher education and was a coordinator for the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Yuniko started at NAMI Georgia in August of 2017 and is no stranger to non profit work. Her work in non profits started at Westcare GA working with minority women with substance abuse and mental health conditions. In her free time, Yuniko enjoys spending time with her nephews, and is a master of all things food.