Since its inception in 1903 as a mission of the United Methodist Women, The Vashti Center has worked with children and youth with a variety of challenges.
Faith Based Mission
Trustworthy & Secure
Restorative & Healing
Elijah Miranda joined the Vashti Center in January 2017. He was previously the HIV/AIDS program director for the Southwest Public Health District. Prior to that, Elijah served as senior health educator at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center in NYC. While there, he received his ,aster’s in public health from Hunter College. He holds a bachelor’s degree in health promotion/behavior from the University of Georgia. Elijah is also a master certified health education specialist.
Program Director, RBWO
Arlisha received a bachelor’s degree in biology and then completed an internship at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She holds a master’s degree in human services and is currently pursuing her Master of Divinity degree. Arlisha serves on the Social Work Assistant Advisory Board for Southern Regional Technical College and serves as a field Instructor for the Social Work Assistant Program. She has been with Vashti for 23 years.
Clinical Director, RBWO
Cathy Marchant, a Licensed Clinical social worker, has worked as a therapist at Vashti for 25 years. A graduate of Florida State University, Cathy holds a master’s degree in social work. She has strong spiritual values and these values have communicated themselves in her ministry to the children of the Vashti Center.
Chief of Clinical and Operational Services
Dana has been with Vashti since September 2010. She holds a bachelor’s degree in applied science from Valdosta State University and a master’s in health leadership from Western Governors University. A registered respiratory therapist, she was formerly employed by Southern Regional Technical College as an adjunct instructor. Dana’s many roles at Vashti have included: continuous quality Improvement, risk prevention and management, compliance/privacy officer, and Training Officer.
Resource Development Director
Susan joined Vashti as Resource Development Director in April 2014. Prior to working at Vashti, she was employed by Thomasville Center for the Arts where she worked in administration, grant writing, and development. Before discovering a love for nonprofit work, Susan was employed by Merrill Lynch. In 2000 she joined Synovus Financial where she worked with Synovus Securities and later as a trust and business development officer with Synovus Trust Company.
Demareo R. Smith
Human Resources Manager
Demareo Smith Sr. joined the Vashti Center in March 2020. He was previously the owner of Kidz Zone – Activity Center and Café located in Millbrook, Alabama. Prior to that, Demareo served as an Air Force officer of personnel and manpower supporting over 3,000 employees before retiring in 2018. While in the Air Force, he earned his master’s degree in performance Improvement in 2014 with a focus on human resource management. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Education with a focus on adult education from Walden University. Demareo believes that Christ is the cornerstone of our lives and through him “All” thing are possible.
Adrian received a B.S. in psychology from the University of Georgia and went on to earn a Masters of Social Work at Valdosta State University. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and certified master addictions counselor, he brings to Vashti extensive experience in behavioral health and program management. Prior to joining Vashti, he was employed by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Tallahassee as a case manager where he helped homeless Veterans transition back into the community. He also served as a substance abuse counselor for the US Army in Fort Stewart. A native of Thomasville, Adrian fondly remembers his volunteer days at Vashti with his youth group from Thomasville First United Methodist Church and sees his work here as his true calling.
Program Director, Ventures & Connections
Jacquelyn, fondly known as Jackie, joined the Vashti family in July 2014 as a therapist in the community program. She holds an M.B.A with a concentration in healthcare management, as well as a masters degree in rehabilitation counseling. Presently, she is Program Director of the Ventures on Broad Clubhouse. Prior to Vashti, Jackie served as program manager for the Sycamore Center/Heritage Foundation and as associate director of the Thomasville Community Resource Center. Jackie has worked in the social services delivery system for over 25 years and believes everyone has the potential to do and be better.
Rev. Amanda Messer
Reverend Amanda Messer is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. Amanda graduated from the University of South Alabama with a bachelor’s in psychology. In 2009, she completed her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from the University of Mobile. In 2012, she graduated from Candler School of Theology with her Masters of Divinity with a concentration in Scripture and Interpretation. She began working at Ashland Place United Methodist Church of Mobile, AL in 2012 where she served for over 6 years as the minister of congregational life and director of youth ministries. Amanda moved to Thomasville with her family in October 2018 to serve as Vashti Center’s chaplain .
Brian originally joined The Vashti Center in March 2000 as support services in maintenance, where he stayed until April 2002. Prior to re-joining Vashti he worked in construction, management, finance and retail sales. His true calling was in construction and remodeling. In pursuing this career path, he became a Georgia state licensed residential contractor and started his own business. After returning to The Vashti Center in November 2016, Brian currently oversees 46 acres and 9 buildings on the Vashti campus.
Board of Trustees
Jim Bue, Chair
Amy House, Vice-Chair
Austin England, Treasurer
Ellen Jeter, Secretary