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Management Team

Empowering Youth & Families Program For Caregivers and Youth

EYFP is made up of the Powerful Communities and Powerful Families curriculum.

Powerful Communities (PC) is a pilot program written by NC 4-H to equip our participants with the knowledge and understanding about the opioid crisis in the US and in their county.  Powerful Communities empowers cohorts of families to resist opioid misuse and to tell their communities what they have learned.

Beginning in 2019, EYFP also began piloting Powerful Families (PF), a new family communication and relationship program that complements Powerful Communities (PC).

As of Fall 2020, all EYFP programs now use PFPC for the entirety of their family sessions.

Extension report
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Meet Our Team

Amy Chilcote

Program Director: Amy Chilcote, MS

  • 26+ years of experience in curriculum design
  • Holds degrees in Family and Consumer Science with a focus in K-12 education, curriculum instruction, and adult learning
  • Extensive knowledge working with researchers who take research to an understandable level for the use of youth, families, and communities.  
  • Moved Healthy Living to the second most prevalent content area focused statewide by youth, just under STEM.
  • Active with the State Healthy Carolinians Task Force
  • Member of the National Opioid Extension Workgroup  
  • PD of the Empowering Youth and Families Program funded by the USDA.
Autumn Guin

Program Design and Evaluation Specialist:  Autumn Guin, PhD

  • 18+ years of experience in program design and evaluation
  • Holds degrees in Community Psychology and Educational Research with a focus on parenting and adolescent development and extensive training in research, statistics, program design, and evaluation.
  • Serves as a national program coach for the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Professional Development and Technical Assistance Center and has specialized training in working with limited resource youth and families.
Kim Allen

Family Life Specialist: Kimberly Allen, PhD, BCC, CFLE

  • Associate Professor and Extension Specialist at North Carolina State University.
  • 20+ year’s experience working with vulnerable youth and their families and has research interests in family life coaching, teaching with technology, parenting, and relationship education.
  • Serves as PI on a national program that provides coaching support for the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Professional Development and Technical Assistance Center and as Co-PI on an opioid prevention project funded through USDA.
  • Author of the book Theory, Research, and Practical Guidelines for Family Life Coaching and Creating Safe and Inclusive Youth Environments: A Guide to Bullying Prevention Programs, a report for the National 4-H Council.
Paul Toriello

Prevention Specialist:  Paul Toriello, RhD, CRC, CCS, LCAS, LPC

  • Chair and a Professor in the Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies at East Carolina University.
  • Earned his RhD in Rehabilitation, specializing in Substance-Related Disorders from the Rehabilitation Institute, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
  • Received a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling from Wright State University.
  • Research and training interests include innovation of evidence-based prevention and treatments for individuals with substance abuse and mental health issues.
  • Has participated in grant projects funded by SAMHSA, NIH, and other national and regional funding organizations in the role of Principal Investigator or Research Consultant.
  • Has worked in the substance abuse field since 1991, and has also been in recovery from addiction since 1989.
Sarah Kotzian

Community Action Planning: Sarah Kotzian, PhD

  • 14+ years of experience working with youth and adults in planning and conducting community programs.
  • Holds degrees in psychology, adult and community college education and has had training in identifying community needs and creating action plans to address those needs.  
  • Other areas of her work include working with both youth and adult citizenship and engagement programs as well as youth and adult volunteerism initiatives.
  • Completing her Ph.D. in Educational Research and Policy Analysis.
Maru Gonzalez

Youth Development Specialist:  Maru Gonzalez, EdD

  • Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences at North Carolina State University.
  • 10+ years of experience working with youth and families in various capacities, including as an educator, researcher, and school counselor.
  • Recently served as the head of the school counseling department at an international school in Barcelona to address matters related to mental health and addiction.
  • Has collaborated with policymakers, students, and educators in Chile, Peru, and the Dominican Republic, in addition to working domestically and in Spain, on initiatives aimed at cultivating more respectful, safer, and affirming schools in the region.
Tabitha Barnes

Public Communications Specialist: Tabitha Barnes, AA

  • Graphic designer working with North Carolina 4-H for 3+ years.
  • Manages photography and videography, video editing, web design, curriculum design, and marketing materials.
  • Technology Specialist under a Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) grant in North and South Carolina.
  • Persistently honing her current skill set while branching out in the areas of Marketing and Game Design.
  • Holds certifications in web design, design basics, and graphic design.
Profile Picture of Nicholas Hynes

Website and Media Specialist:  Nick Hynes, BS

  • Graphic designer working with North Carolina 4-H.
  • Manages graphic design, web design, photography and videography, marketing materials, and illustration.
  • Technology Specialist under a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant in North Carolina.
  • Constantly working to improve and expand his skills in all forms of digital media, content management, and traditional art.
  • Holds a degree in Technology, Design, and Engineering Education with a concentration in Graphic Communications.

For more information about North Carolina 4-H, please visit