Who Are We?

Kindness Grows Here, Inc. Is thrilled to have the following leaders serving as the Board of Directors:

Kristen DeBoy Caminiti, MSW — Founder, President

Kristen grew up in Catonsville, Maryland and attended Boston College where she met her husband, Matt, in the marching band. In 2004 Kristen graduated Magna Cum Laude from Boston College with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She then completed her Master’s degree in Social Work from Boston College with a specialization in medical social work (2005).

After graduation, Kristen completed a fellowship with Harvard University and Children’s Hospital Boston in Pediatric Palliative Care. Kristen spent 10 years working with chronically and terminally ill children and their families. She has worked in in-patient acute care settings, hospice, and outpatient mental health clinics. In this humbling work Kristen gained extensive knowledge and expertise in supporting children and families in crisis and in providing grief counseling.

After becoming a mother Kristen focused most of her attention at home on her four kids while also staying active in the field of Social Work by teaching continuing education courses to other social workers. Kristen has spoken at local and National conferences on topics related to supporting children and families facing the death or illness of a loved one.

In 2016, Kristen was feeling dismayed by the discord and negativity she saw taking over her community and Country, and she decided to do something about it. Kristen knew whatever she did needed to include her children. And so, on November 9, 2016, Kristen and her three boys set out to spread kindness as far and wide as they could. Their individual efforts in spreading kindness soon grew to become a group of like-minded community members all seeking to spread kindness. The group was called Crofton Is Kind, named for the community Kristen and Matt have called home since 2006.

Soon Crofton is Kind grew, and individuals and organizations started seeing the good work Kristen was doing and wanted to donate to her efforts. As such, Kristen decided to start a non-profit foundation to continue her mission of fostering kindness in children and spreading kindness in the community. And thus, Kindness Grows Here, Inc. was born.

When Kristen isn’t spreading kindness, she can be found spending time with her four kids and her husband Matt. She enjoys coaching basketball, running, and volunteering at her kids’ schools. Kristen is thrilled to be leading Kindness Grows Here with a group of dedicated and talented board members who will certainly help make this world a kinder place!

Matt Caminiti, MBA — Chief Financial Officer

Matt

Matt Caminiti grew up in Farmington, Connecticut. He attended Boston College where in 2003 he received a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and Spanish and where he also met his wife Kristen. After teaching high school Spanish for three years, Matt decided to pursue a career in business. He completed his MBA from Loyola University Maryland in 2010, concentrating in Finance and International Business. Matt is also the father of three sons and one daughter and an avid (former) musician.

Matt is currently a Director of Policy & Product Strategy for Inovalon, a technology company that provides cloud-based platforms to improve clinical and quality outcomes across the healthcare industry. In this role, he leverages Project and Product Management principles, including the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®), to enhance current products and bring new products to market.

Matt has focused on public policy and its impact on businesses for the past 10 years, including appearances as a subject matter expert for Bloomberg Television, Bloomberg.com, Federal News Radio and in front of the Maryland State Legislature. He regularly speaks as a subject matter expert at national health care conferences across the country.

When Matt isn’t working he can be found spending time with his kids and his wife, Kristen, of 15 years. He is excited to be a member of the board of Kindness Grows Here to help the organization advance its reach as it spreads kindness both within and outside the Crofton community.

Margaret L. (Peggy) Elliott–Secretary 

Peggy

Peggy has been a resident of the Crofton area since 1951, when Davidsonville Road was gravel and there was nothing but farms.  She left home for college and work, and Crofton sprang up in her absence.

Peggy has a BS from Dickinson College with majors in Chemistry and French, and a MLA from Johns Hopkins University.  Peggy Joined the US Navy in 1968. She was stationed all over the world and the US and then retired as a Commander in the Aviation Maintenance Specialty.

When Peggy retired she returned home to Crofton where she and her husband built a house on her family’s property and raised three children in the Crofton Woods feeder system.  Peggy has been active in mission work with Community United Methodist Church in Crofton with numerous trips to Guatemala, disaster relief including 2 years in Mississippi after Katrina, several visits to the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the Methodist Aviation Ministry – to name some.  While working in Real Estate for a few years, Peggy volunteered at Crofton Woods and Crofton Middle and then worked for AACPS for 7 years in the Media Center at Arundel High.  Peggy also served on the Anne Arundel County Forestry Board, and with the Arundel Volunteer Fire Department as an EMT and in Administrative positions.

Peggy is excited to be a part of Kindness Grows Here with the hope that together we can do something to turn around the divisiveness, anger, and general unhappiness that seem to be tearing at the very fabric of our culture.

Erica Harmelech

Erica Harmelech has worked with children of all ages throughout her nearly 20-year professional career, including spending more than a decade as a Child Life Specialist at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital (YNHCH). During her time at YNHCH, she provided child life services to children and families in the pediatric infusion room, pediatric hematology/oncology clinic, and the pre-anesthesia visit clinic. She also represented the child life services team on numerous cross-functional committees, including the Palliative Care Team and the Pain Committee.

During her non-clinic time, she acted as a hospital liaison for many non-profits including The Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer, Circle of Care, and Splashes of Hope. Erica also spent time as a volunteer for The Cove for Grieving Children, and the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Erica is the winner of the 2009 CureChief Hero Award, and the Cove Kids Award.

Erica received her certification as a Child Life Specialist after attending the University of Delaware, where she earned a B.S. in Family and Community Services with a focus in Delivery to Hospitalized Children, and a minor in Disabilities Studies. She completed her internships at Tomorrow Children’s Institute for Pediatric Oncology and Hematology and Nurses N’ Kids PPEC.

Erica grew up in Vernon, CT, and now lives in Rockville, MD with her husband, two amazing young children and one very fluffy dog. Erica’s interests include running, reading, and cheering for the New England Patriots, USA soccer, and USA track and field. Erica also enjoys being an active member in her synagogue and volunteering at her children’s schools. Erica is excited to be part of Kindness Grows Here and to help make this world a little kinder each and every day.  

Elyse Knight

Elyse

Elyse grew up as one of four children in a small town in West Virginia and has lived in Anne Arundel County since 2002. After High School, she attended Virginia Tech where she majored in Family & Child Development. After graduation in 2002 she worked in the Social Work field for a little over three years as a caseworker/school-aged counselor at Sarah’s House homeless shelter in Fort Meade, MD.

Elyse was a stay at home mother to four beautiful children for the next eight years, until she returned to the workforce as a Learning Resource Center aide in the English Department at Archbishop Spalding High School. During the last year, she switched to the Religion Department and has been teaching 9th-11th graders in a variety of classes including Morality, Church History, and Sacred Scripture.

Elyse’s interests include running half and full marathons with her husband, cooking with her children, going to Virginia Tech football games with family and friends, and cheering loudly from the sidelines of her children’s sporting events.

Elyse is thrilled to be a part of Kindness Grows Here to help spread kindness throughout her community and beyond with her family in tow!

Sharitá Lewis

sharita

Sharitá Lewis was born and raised in Bowie, MD. Upon graduation from high school, she attended the University of Maryland College Park where she studied Criminology. While in college, Sharitá was selected for the Student Temporary Employment Program at the Department of Treasury. She spent the next 11 years of her career working for the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. After dedicating time to raising a family, Sharitá now works for the Thos. Somerville Co.

Throughout her life, Sharitá has volunteered with numerous foundations that are close to her heart. This passion of giving back to those that have given to her has made joining the Kindness Grows Here Board of Directors a natural progression for Sharitá.

Currently living in Gambrills, MD with her husband and two children, Sharitá enjoys planning weddings and events, running races, traveling around the world, and most importantly, supporting her children and husband at their sporting events.

John Spitz

john spitz

John grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Somers Point, New Jersey.  He attended the University of Delaware where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  Upon graduation John began his career working in information technology and software development.  During his career he has worked for a variety of notable companies including American Management Systems, Enron, and Constellation Energy.  When he started working at his current company, Inovalon, he made the transition from information technology to business. Over the past decade he has served as a Senior Vice President of the company,  in various roles, including the head of Product and Services, the head of Sales, and his current role, the head of Client Success.

John is married to his wife, Avery, and has two sons. They live in Howard County, Maryland.  In his spare time you can find him traveling with his family to both international and domestic locations.  He also coaches his sons’ baseball teams and is the Scoutmaster of Troop 794 in Ellicott City.

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