Our Staff


Tabitha Damron, Executive Director

Tabitha, a native of Blount County, has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Maryville College, a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, and has received a certificate of completion from the Consortium for Social Enterprise Effectiveness Certification program through the Haslam College of Business. As the Executive Director of New Hope, she oversees operations and programs implemented at New Hope and works to ensure quality services and access for children in the community.

Tabitha has been with New Hope for over a decade.  She began as Clinical Director, working with sexually abused children and has received extensive training in the area of sexual abuse and trauma. Tabitha has provided individual counseling and has worked with parents on how to understand and cope with their child’s behaviors.

Tabitha is a member of the Child Protective Investigative Team and provides consultation on cases reviewed by the team and also coordinates the  Child Protective Investigative Management Team, working in collaboration with leaders from other Child Protective Agencies.  She also represents New Hope on the Sexual Assault Review Team and Child Fatality Review.

Contact Tabitha at tdamron@blountkids.org

Renee Poole, Development Director

Renee received a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences at Oregon State University. Fueled by her passion for non profit work, Renee has spent the last 7 years engaging local communities within Oregon and Tennessee to provide for families in need. She has worked in many different roles at child advocacy centers including prevention, education, community outreach, advocacy, and fundraising. As Development Director, Renee is excited to use her experience to develop and sustain good relationships with the community and our generous donors.

Contact Renee at rpoole@blountkids.org

Danielle Reggio, Director of Finance & Administration

Danielle is a 2002 Maryville College graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a minor in business and sociology.  As the newest team member at New Hope she brings with her over 10 years of experience as an office administrator and a passion for non-profit work.  She has volunteered at Trinity Dental Clinic in various capacities for 5 years including serving on their Board of Directors.  Danielle is excited to share her passion, experience, and knowledge in an effort to assist New Hope and it’s mission.

Contact Danielle at dreggio@blountkids.org

Tori Thomas, Events & Marketing Coordinator

Tori made the transition to Events and Marketing Coordinator in 2020 after serving for two years on the Board of Directors for New Hope Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center. A native of Blount County, Tori received her communications degree in 2013 from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. With a passion for learning and empowering others, she is excited for the opportunity to support her community through exciting events and storytelling. In her free time Tori enjoys staying active, especially on a bicycle, when she’s not exploring the Smoky Mountains or sitting on a beach with her husband, Sam.

Contact Tori at tthomas@blountkids.org

Direct Services:

Christina Copland, Forensic Interviewer

Christina received a BS Ed. from Ashland University in Ohio, a MS Ed. at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and her Paralegal Studies Certificate from Roosevelt University in Chicago IL. Christina has worked with abused and neglected children since 1993 when she was a case manager/placement manager for medically fragile children at Maryville Academy’s Emergency Shelter in Chicago IL. Christina left Maryville Academy in 1995 to become a mother and wife and reentered the field of abused and neglected children in 1998 as the first ever hired Forensic Interviewer at Child Network in Kankakee IL. During her time in IL, Christina was a member of the original faculty of Finding Words Illinois that trained other professionals in Forensic Interviewing until leaving IL in 2007 to come to Blount County and continue interviewing children regarding allegations of abuse or neglect at New Hope.

When allegations of severe child abuse are received, the Forensic Interviewer is the first person of the Child Protection Investigation Team to talk with alleged victims regarding the details of the allegations that have been reported. Christina has been cross-trained in RATAC, NCA and the Childhood Trust Forensic Interviewing Protocols and she utilizes these methods to conduct developmentally appropriate, neutral, fact finding interviews with children in a child friendly setting that are legal defensible in a court of law. Appointments for forensic interviews are accepted only from investigators/detectives assigned to a case after an official report of alleged abuse or neglect has been received by the Department of Children’s Services or law enforcement agency.

Contact Tina at ccopland@blountkids.org

Diane Darby, LCSW, Clinical Director

Diane has been a part of the New Hope staff since August 2010.

Diane provides an integrative treatment approach and is trained in the following trauma modalities; Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), EMDR, Theraplay, mindfulness, and the Attachment Regulation & Self Competency model (ARC). The New Hope therapy team will be adding SMART certification to their list in February 2016. Individual therapy is provided to children who have experienced trauma and their non offending caregivers.

As Clinical Director of the Center, Diane provides the therapists at New Hope with supervision and peer consultation. Diane is involved in the  community by providing groups within the schools when requested and by serving as a  member of the Blount County’s foster care review board and CPIT.

Contact Diane at ddarby@blountkids.org

Becki Garland, LPC, Therapist

Becki is a Licensed Professional Counselor with 30 years of experience working with children and adults that have been sexually abused and assaulted. She has unique experience working with individuals and groups that have experienced trauma. She is certified in EMDR, Attachment Regulation & Self Competency medle (ARC), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), CISD, and SMART (in February of 2016).

She is a part time contract therapist with New Hope. She is here 3 days a week seeing children and families.

Contact Becki at bgarland@blountkids.org

Liza Varlan, LMSW, Therapist

Liza is a Licensed Master Social Worker with 5 years experience working with children and adults that have been exposed to sexual trauma. Prior to employment with New Hope, she worked at the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee providing therapy. Liza has been trained in EMDR, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

Contact Liza at lvarlan@blountkids.org

Challye Hays, Forensic Interviewer & CPIT Coordinator

Challye, a Maryville native, received a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from East Tennessee State University. Before working at New Hope, Challye was a case manager for children and youth at Mental Health Cooperative of Nashville, TN.  Working to improve the lives of young people has always been a passion of Challye’s, where even as a college student Challye took part in several child-centered mission trips and spent two summers serving at-risk children with Project Transformation in the Antioch area of Nashville, TN.  Challye began her journey with New Hope as a Child and Family Advocate.  She dedicated her time to engaging with families, connecting them to needed resources in the community, and working side by side with co-workers and other community agencies to best serve the needs of this very important population in Blount County.

As CPIT Coordinator, Challye works with the Multi-Disciplinary Team of Blount County to establish and maintain relationships with community partners, ensure that every client receives services that are aligned with their individual needs, to track cases seen at New Hope from initial referral to the prosecution outcome, and to actively participate in all aspects of the Investigative Team.

Challye received training in the ChildFirst protocol in 2018 and currently divides her time between Forensic Interviewing and CPIT Coordination.

Contact Challye at chays@blountkids.org

Sarah Cruze, Child & Family Advocate

Sarah is an East Tennessee native with a Bachelor of Arts in History from Maryville College. While in college, she volunteered with New Hope as a Bonner Scholar from 2007 to 2008. Sarah has always been a volunteer at heart, working with numerous non-profit organizations since middle school. Her passion for service work has fostered diverse experiences in East Tennessee, Middle Kentucky, Ecuador, and Nepal. Prior to working with New Hope, Sarah worked with Habitat for Humanity for several years, serving over 70 families that needed a better place to call home. Through those partnerships, she helped empower families and individuals to find strength and determination within themselves.

As the new Child and Family Advocate with our therapy team, Sarah is happy to be back at New Hope where she can share her skills and positivity. It is vital to continue providing support for children that have experienced trauma, and she is committed to connecting our clients to enriching opportunities and much needed resources in Blount County. Sarah is very excited to be on the New Hope team to work toward strengthening our community, empowering our families, and helping our children in need.

Contact Sarah at scruze@blountkids.org

Hannah Grant, Child & Family Advocate

Hannah is originally from Waxhaw, North Carolina. She received her Bachelors of Social Work from Appalachian State University, as well as a minor in General Business. Hannah has always wanted to work with children and help with the needs of families. During college, Hannah worked in a child development center caring for children and assisting teachers with lesson plans. Hannah also worked as an intern for Child Protective Services in North Carolina, helping social workers ensure the safety of children. Hannah is a Child and Family Advocate at New Hope. She guides children and families through the forensic interviewing process, as well as assisting children and families with any needs they may have by connecting them with resources to help meet their needs. Hannah, along with the team, helps to create a welcoming environment to make the Forensic Interviewing process as easy as possible.

Contact Hannah at hgrant@blountkids.org

Becky Rials, Prevention Coordinator

Becky was born and raised in York,PA and graduated from York College with a BS in Health Records Administration then becoming a  Registered Health Information Administrator.  Becky and her husband, Tim, moved from San Francisco, CA to Pineville, LA and then to Maryville in 2001.  Becky served on the New Hope board for 8 years with 2 of them as president and 2 of them as past president. After coming off the board, Becky chose to stay with New Hope as a front desk volunteer. Becky and Tim have one daughter, Hannah, who is a senior at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and who has volunteered for New Hope for a number of years. As the Prevention Coordinator for New Hope, she strives to educate, along with her team of facilitators,  Blount County adults on how to prevent, recognize and respond appropriately to child sexual abuse. Becky networks with local organizations and community members that could benefit from the Stewards of Children training program.  The goal is to reach the tipping point of 5% of the Blount County adult population to affect a change.

Contact Becky at brials@blountkids.org for more information on how to obtain this free training.

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