Stephen Smith has been named the new West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition Executive Director. Prior to coming to Healthy Kids, Stephen was the director of organizing for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and is the author of Stoking the Fire of Democracy: Our Generation’s Introduction to Grassroots Organizing. A graduate of Harvard University and the London School of Economics, Stephen has worked with a wide range of communities – from running a for-profit bakery operated by people with disabilities to founding a youth advocacy organization that won victories on health care and financial aid. Born in Charleston, Stephen and his family are thrilled to be back home in West Virginia.
Carey Jo Grace
Carey Jo Grace joined WVHKFC as a regional organizer in October, 2013. She grew up in Pittsburgh and earned degrees in biology and teaching at Eastern Kentucky University. She stayed in eastern and central Kentucky for over twenty years and spent much of that time as an activist and organizer around social, economic, and environmental justice issues. Carey lives in Charleston where she spends her free time hiking and biking with her son Aidan and partner Bill.
The counties in her service area include Boone, Cabell, Fayette, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, Putnam and Wayne.
LeeAnn Shreve is West Virginia Healthy Kids & Families’ Eastern Regional Organizer. She became a mother and wife at age eighteen and can truly understand the challenges families and children in poverty face. After raising her two children, Curtis and Adrianne, she earned her RBA from West Virginia University and her MS in Strategic Leadership from Mountain State University. As a community outreach specialist, she has over 20 years experience in working with educational and non-profit organizations in West Virginia. Prior to coming to the Coalition, LeeAnn served Director of the Future Generations Rural America Program. She is a lifelong resident of Pendleton County and resides there with her husband, Richard, and their two black Labrador retrievers.
The counties in LeeAnn’s service are are Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, Grant, Tucker, Pendleton, Randolph, Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, Webster, Nicholas, Summers, and Raleigh.
Youth and Legislative Director
Christopher “Chris” Kimes is the Political Director for the Healthy Kids and Families Coalition. As political director, Chris works with the Our Children, Our Future: Campaign to End Child Poverty issue teams in advancing their legislative priorities with the WV Legislature. Additionally, Chris also works throughout the state in engaging youth and young adults in their communities and with the campaign. Prior to his current position, Chris served as the Director of the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network. In that role, Chris worked to ensure that youth receive quality afterschool experiences and helped to educate policy makers on the importance that afterschool plays within a child’s development and community. Kimes was selected as a 2012 National Afterschool Fellow and helped the National Statewide Afterschool Network’s in promoting and advocating for their new Expanding Minds project. Prior to becoming the Director, Chris was the field site coordinator for the Health Science and Technology Academy, the state’s premier high school afterschool program. Additionally, Chris holds a professional teaching certificate in Secondary Education and has worked for both Wood County and Kanawha County Schools. Before HSTA, he was employed with West Virginia University at Parkersburg in various capacities within the Student Services Division. Politically, Kimes has served as an advocate for West Virginia’s youth and families for many years. He has been involved in various national, state, and local campaigns and sought political office himself two years ago. Kimes holds a masters degree in Educational Leadership Studies from West Virginia University, a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Ohio Valley University, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science/History from West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Jennifer Hill Wells
Jennifer Hill Wells joins West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition as the statewide school organizer. As statewide school organizer, Jennifer is building awareness for shared use implementation and youth leadership. Jennifer graduated West Virginia University in 2015 with a Masters of Social Work with a concentration in community organizing and social administration. As a licensed social worker, Jennifer has worked with a statewide child welfare agency, the juvenile justice system and Medicaid Disabled Waiver program. Jennifer serves as the Western Regional Representative on the WV Chapter of National Association of Social Workers Board and is active with Huntington Women’s Caucus and League of Women Voters.