Kindness Grows Here, Inc. Is thrilled to have the following leaders serving as the Board of Directors:
Kristen DeBoy Caminiti, MSW, LCSW-C — Founder, President
Kristen grew up in Catonsville, Maryland and is the youngest of three children. Kristen 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 three boys 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 tension and discord 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 kids 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 three (soon to be 4!) kids and her husband Matt. She enjoys coaching clinic 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 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 boys and a (former) avid 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 three boys or his wife, Kristen, of 12 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
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.
Kyera Hooks, MS
Kyera is a counselor who provides therapeutic services to children, adults, and families. Kyera grew up in Upstate New York, and was born with a helping hand. The path she wanted to take in life was always clear to her at an early age, in which she knew she wanted to be a change agent. Her willingness to persevere when faced with obstacles has molded her into the unique individual she is today. She holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Clark Atlanta University (2010), and an M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Clayton State University (2015).
Kyera has over 8 years of experience in working with a diverse population of students in school and community settings, an array of volunteer experiences, and has also worked in the human and social services field as an Intern, Therapist, and Case Manager serving children and families. Furthermore, she served as a mentor to children throughout the Metro Atlanta area. Kyera currently works for the Strong Start DC Early Intervention program as a Service Coordinator, where she compassionately and diligently serves children with special needs. Additionally, she works as a Sunday School Teacher on the weekend at Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Crofton, Maryland. Kyera’s contribution to successfully lead and evoke positive change is a continuous journey she encourages others to embark on alongside her.
In Kyera’s spare time, she enjoys motivational speaking, reading, writing, traveling, volunteering, and spending time with close friends and family.
Alexis Malatino Jenkins
Alexis Malatino Jenkins brings 15 years of high-level event production and event marketing experience. She resides in Crofton, Maryland, and is the owner of Crofton-based event agency, Humdinger Productions, which she co-founded with her husband, Kacy, in 2008. Humdinger Productions’ clients include Maryland CASH Campaign, Maryland Live! Casino, Preakness Balloon Festival, Mac Miller, Republic National Distributing Company, Yale University, Georgetown University, American University, Bowie State, and many, many others. Prior to founding Humdinger Productions, she was Director of Marketing for Pier Six Pavilion and Rams Head Live! in Baltimore, two of the world’s top performing music venues in ticket sales.
Alexis also manages the rock band, Mountainwolf, and is an Associate Member of the Recording Academy/Grammy’s and a festival promoter and producer (Chessie Jam Children’s Music Festival, and, Amps and Ales). She has many titles and roles, but her most cherished role is that of wife to Kacy and mother to Dominic and Lucia.
Alexis has been a featured guest on WEAA, Fox45, Minority Business Report, and a recipient of the Bridging the Gap Award from the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC). She received her bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies from Towson University in 2003.
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 (her first full marathon will be in January of 2018) 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!
Joe Knight was born in Baltimore and was raised in Glen Burnie, MD. He studied Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech (class of 2002) and holds a Master’s degree in Information Systems Management. For the past 15 years, Joe has become a leader in his field contracting for the Federal Government. He has been part of a team that bid and won a $250 million proposal. Joe also manages burn rates, employees’ salaries and expectations, and carried proposed projects through an entire lifecycle while maintaining a schedule that kept the customer pleased.
During that same span he married the love of his life and was lucky enough to have 4 beautiful children. In his free time, he is busy giving back to the community. Joe has been coaching local youth sports teams since 2007 and recently became an elected member of his HOA to help ensure the neighborhood continues to be taken care of as if it were a small town. While he loves to connect with kids, either on the soccer field or at home, his real passion is spending time with his wife; notably, they run marathons together. You might even see him at a Virginia Tech or Ravens football game on the weekend. Joe is very excited to be part of Kindness Grows Here to increase his ability to positively affect the community around him and the world.
Sherlin Larsen was born in Miami, Florida to families exiled from Cuba in the late 1970s as part of the Mariel Lift due to their refusal to conform to communist rule. She is the first American-born of her generation. She only learned English after starting school and thus was her family’s interpreter for many years. Proud of her heritage, but raised to strongly defend America as her nation, she decided at 11 years of age that she would join the military and serve the country that took her family in and gave them their freedom. After four years of JROTC, a candidacy for the Air Force academy, and a place as an Honors student, Sherlin’s aspirations were cut short with the blessing of her first child at 18 and then again at 21 when a near fatal car accident took away her ease of mobility and disabled her. Undeterred by adversity, Sherlin forged ahead of her disability. She has lived in Tampa, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas and now Maryland always starting from scratch and turning friends into family.
As an Air Force wife, she is dedicated to her husband Ian’s unit as a Key Spouse (Military family Liaison) and to his Church as a support to his position in their Elders Quorum. Recently Sherlin took the leap and left her career in commodity trading to pursue her passion in art. In August of 2017 she and her husband opened Larsen Lane Lettering, turning Sherlin’s talents in traditional calligraphy, watercolor, and hand lettering into a business.
Sherlin also has a passion for animals, especially dogs. Sherlin is in the process of training and certifying Arya, her Canary Mastiff as a service dog who will aid in some of the difficulties that Sherlin navigates as a result of the aforementioned car accident.
Sherlin spends much of her free time volunteering in her community. She believes strongly that the best way to make the world a better place is to first start local. She has four children, Iris, Clara, Aeva, and Henry, and is passionate about where her four children live, learn, and grow, often volunteering at Crofton Woods for the three youngest and at Crofton Middle in Iris’ name. Sherlin is thrilled to be a part of the board of directors for Kindness Grows Here where she can put her creativity and community-minded spirit to work in making the world a kinder place.