Our Team

Our People.
Our Strength.

Penny Kakoliris              

Executive Director

Penny Kakoliris has a heart for others, as evidenced by her life’s work. As a foster parent for five years, she raised 29 girls during that time. She served as the director of the Girls Campus for King’s Home for five years and worked for the Children’s Policy Council for Shelby County. Penny was also the Executive Vice President of Southern Oaks Treatment Facility before coming to Positive Maturity in 2007. Although she had mainly worked with youth, Penny knew that she would love assisting and working with a variety of people, especially seniors. “I enjoy watching a participant in a program make progress and find their sense of independence, as well as a team member growing professionally and finding their passion for this group of individuals,” Penny explains. “I get excited watching our Board of Directors plan for our future and really understanding who we are and what we do.”

 

Deborah Gaddis              

Director, Foster Grandparents Program

Deborah Gaddis began volunteering for Positive Maturity in 2007 after being downsized from her banking career. It wasn’t long before she found herself in a full-time position with the AWARE program in January 2008, followed by becoming the director of the Foster Grandparent Program later that same year. Deborah now oversees the senior volunteers that go into schools and HeadStart programs to help the children learn their ABCs, colors and how to tie their shoes. “The program keeps seniors active and vital and gives the children a special person who will talk to them and encourage them,” she says. “The best part of this job is interacting with people my own age and sharing common experiences and having fun together.” 

 

Juanita Macon              

Director, Shepherd Center

Juanita Macon always had a heart for young people and enjoyed the jobs she had where she could touch their lives in some way. When her grant at the Girls Scouts ended, Juanita found herself without a job and mourning the loss of her mother. Once she joined Positive Maturity as the RSVP Coordinator, she found she had a bunch of women ready to mother her. “I saw people in their 80s and 90s volunteering who had more energy than me,” she says. “It is so rewarding to work with them. I am learning from their experiences and we are growing together and enjoying life one day at a time.”

 

LaQuita Smith                

Director of Senior Companion Program

LaQuita is a native of Birmingham, Ala., and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. It was during her internship at Positive Maturity where she developed her commitment to helping seniors age in place. LaQuita places seniors aged 55 and older in the homes of frail seniors and disabled persons to assist with light household chores, meal preparation, companionship and respite care for caregivers. “It’s a wonderful way to engage, enhance and empower the quality of life to those in need,” she explains. When she isn’t working, she loves to spend time relaxing at home, reading and visiting any place that has a seashore.  LaQuita resides in Montevallo, Ala., and is the mother of four adult sons and six grandchildren.  

 

Curtis Batson

RSVP Coordinator, Walker County

Curtis Batson isn’t one to sit down. A retired merchant seaman, Curtis worked for 30 years in the Gulf of Mexico as a cook on boats and oil rigs. The Jasper, Ala., native joined the Positive Maturity staff in 2018 ago after spending 10 years volunteering with various United Way programs after his wife jokingly told him he needed to get out of the house and stay busy. “All I ever wanted to do was deliver Meals on Wheels and I ended up doing so much more,” he laughs. “I’ve helped seniors get back into the workforce, taught them how to navigate a computer and now I coordinate their programs here in Walker County.”

 

Marvin Copes      

RSVP Coordinator, Shelby County

Marvin Copes has spent most of his working life in education. After receiving three degrees from Purdue University, the Indiana native taught vocational agriculture, progressing to become the Indiana state demonstration center for vocational agriculture, the dean of a junior college in Iowa and many other educational jobs across the country along the way. Once his grandchildren arrived, Marvin moved to Alabama to be closer to them and started working with the Shelby County RSVP program. Since 2007, it has been Marvin’s mission to keep seniors as busy as possible. “I’m 81 and my wife gets mad because I won’t retire,” he chuckles. “I just enjoy coming to work or I’d get bored really easily.”

 

Heather Lamey      

Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Director

Heather Lamey knew before she went to Jacksonville State University that she wanted to work in a field where she could help people, so social work was a natural fit or her. More than 20 years later, her experience includes stints as the executive director at The Benevolence Center in Piedmont, Ala., and at the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama where she served as director of Donor Grants and Standards for Excellence. As the RSVP Director at Positive Maturity, Heather facilitates nonprofits and charitable organizations that need volunteers. “We are located in four counties—Walker, Jefferson, Shelby and Blount,” she explains. “We are here to make a connection between volunteers with organizations that will be rewarding for everyone.”  

Heather is one of six licensed consultants in the state of Alabama for Standards for Excellence® accreditation, best practices in policies and procedures for nonprofits and has earned a master’s level accreditation as a Charter Advisor in Philanthropy®. Heather and her husband Harley spend much of their free time enjoying their son Jack’s athletic events. 

 

Sandra Smith      

Director, Information and Referral Geriatric Social Services

Sandra Smith, is the Information and Referral Director for Positive Maturity, Inc. a United Way of Central Alabama partner for over 40 years. She assists seniors age 50 and older to navigate social agencies to meet their individual needs in Jefferson, Blount, Shelby and Walker counties. Sandra educates the community through speaking engagements and health fairs. She bas been an active participant with Jefferson County Public Health Department’s continuing initiative “Community Matters” and Jefferson County Health Care Coalition. 

She has retired from Positive Maturity, been a Positive Maturity Board member and is now back to work for Positive Maturity. She has come full circle with her passion for assisting seniors. Before working with the senior population Sandra was Customer Service manager for International Pharmacy Management and also a Customer Service manager for Express Pharmacy Service, a mail order pharmacy.

Sandra attended Birmingham-Southern College and American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts which was where she grew up before making a permanent move to Birmingham, Alabama.

 She is a Silver Haired Legislator for District 34, Blount County where she and her husband, Jim, live on the original Highland Lake in Oneonta not to be confused with Highland Lake off Highway 280. She and her husband enjoy antique malls, thrift stores, their family of three standard poodles, mother, father and son and of course fishing.

Randa Ashley      

RSVP Coordinator, Blount County

Randa Ashley joined Positive Maturity in August of 2020 as the Blount County RSVP Coordinator. She is a graduate of Oneonta High School and is currently attending The University of Alabama, where she will receive a degree in General Business. Randa has a rich history in Blount County and a heart to work with the seniors in her community. After living and working in Dalton, Georgia a recent move back to her hometown lead her to Positive Maturity. She says “I have a heart for my community and I am excited to be back home working with the RSVP volunteers.” She has volunteered with several organizations throughout Blount County, including several senior care facilities. Her hobbies include reading and spending time with family and friends.

Holly DeArman      

RSVP Coordinator, Jefferson County

Holly DeArman has always had a servant’s heart and a great love for her community, especially its senior members. From an early age, she enjoyed visiting nursing homes, whether it was to check on a loved one, or as a volunteer with a school group. Holly joined Positive Maturity in March 2020 as the Data Entry Coordinator for RSVP/FGP and was promoted to the RSVP Coordinator for Jefferson County shortly thereafter. Holly is a life-long resident of Jefferson County. She graduated from Midfield High School, and Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, MS where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education. Holly has two daughters, Meagan and Kaelin, and a menagerie of animals. In her spare time, Holly enjoys cooking, reading, coloring, and scrapbooking. 

 

Michele Blackmon    

Chief Financial Officer / Finance Director

Michele Blackmon fell in love with the non-profit world after leaving corporate accounting when her daughter was born. A part-time position with a United Way partner agency gave her the time she wanted to spend with her newborn daughter and introduced her to the rewarding work of non-profits. Flash forward 25 years and she has spent most of her career working for organizations like Aletheia House and the YWCA Central Alabama serving in positions related to grants management, budgeting, compliance, financial reporting, and cash management. Michele joined Positive Maturity in August 2018 and loves how her role as finance director still allows her to help people from behind the scenes. “Even though I’m not working directly with the seniors, I am still able to contribute to the programs and to the community,” she says. “I love being a part of the Positive Maturity team and ensuring that they will have the financial means to continue to serve seniors in the years to come.”