Cara Smithwick- Executive Director, BS, MLIS, NBCT
Cara is a National Board Certified Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She has taught students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing for 20 years in a variety of educational settings, as well as serving as an administrator at the district level for a Midlands’ D/HOH program.
Unable to accept the status quo with regard to intervention and education of students with a hearing loss, she co-founded Beginnings SC to focus on proactive intervention and parent education and empowerment.
When Cara is not working, she spends her time crafting, cooking, and hanging out with her kids.
Mary Reeves, Director of Programs, MRC, CRC
Mary worked for 10 years providing individual and family therapy, serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing children and adults with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health. She has extensive training in deafness, Deaf culture, counseling issues with deaf/hard of hearing, hearing loss and its impact on family systems.
Mary co-founded Beginnings SC to focus on proactive intervention and parent education and empowerment.
In her free time, Mary bakes with her three kids, sews, enjoys yoga, and goes on date-nights with her husband, Larry.
Deborah Glass- Hearing Screening Program Manager
Deborah Glass graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2017 with her BA in Early Childhood Education. After teaching in a private school and working with several hard of hearing students, she decided to pursue an ASL certificate from Midlands Technical College.
Originally from Illinois, Deborah joined the Army at 19 and met her wonderful spouse in California, lived in Hawaii for 4 years, and finally settled in South Carolina after they both left the military.
In her free time, Deborah enjoys crafting and making new things, reading, and spending time with her 3 cats and 1 dog.
Jade Blocker- Community Hearing Screener
“Hello! I am Jade Blocker and I am so excited to be a part of the BeginningsSC team. I am currently enrolled in the Special Education Program at Columbia College. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my fiance and my fur babies. I enjoy listening to music and podcasts. I am always down for creating new, healthy habits. Always be true to yourself, BE Kind and Stay Humble!”
Jennifer Faulkner- Program Coordinator
Jennifer Faulkner graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2015 where she studied public relations and received her BA in Journalism and Mass Communications.
Jennifer has a background in nonprofit association membership services, event planning, marketing, and strategic social media communication. Prior to working at Beginnings SC, Jennifer spent four years with the S.C. Press Association coordinating member services and communications.
When she’s not in the office, Jennifer enjoys checking out local restaurants & events, cooking, being a plant mom, and taking walks with her boyfriend and their chihuahua mix Oscar.
Lisa Jolly- Parent Education Specialist
Lisa Jolly, M. Ed., is excited to provide unbiased guidance and information to parents of children with hearing loss. She participated in Beginnings as a parent while living in Charlotte, NC after the birth of her second child. With the support of her Beginnings Parent Educator, she and her husband were empowered to make choices for her son based on facts and consideration of all options for communication. Her family remains connected to her Charlotte tribe where she founded Hitch-Up a social and educational support group for families of those with hearing loss. They reunite each May at Camp Cheerio where all communication modalities are present and respected as families come together to learn, network and play.
She is currently co-president of AG Bell’s SC Chapter, serves as director of Lowcountry Special Needs Network and is a member of an advisory panel with the Medical University of South Carolina charged with promoting comprehensive family wellness for children with neurodevelopmental disorders. She passionately educates about ability where many may see disability and firmly believes every person has a gift to use to better the world.
Married to her college sweetheart, Steve, the Jolly’s and their 2 sons, enjoy spending time visiting the mountains and beaches for family trips.