Advisory Board Members
Carolyn McCarty (Illinois PTA - Southern Region)
Dr. Leah Dukowitz (Vitalize Family Chiropractic)
Gregory Horta (Harmony Health Plan & Big Papa G Entertainment)
Javis Taylor (Cre8tivEDGE)
Kathleen Diouf (Gateway Region YMCA)
Tonya Reed-Simon (Belleville Elite Dance Academy)
Carolyn and her husband Steve have been married since 1981. They relocated to Southern Illinois from British Columbia, Canada in 1986 and reside in Belleville, Illinois. They have four fabulous children, Teresa (35), Chris (33), Matt (20), and Lucas (17) and two beautiful grandchildren: Madylin (9) and Miles (3).
A career minded individual, Carolyn spent more than 25 years climbing the corporate ladder to a Director position in the world of retail and finance. In 2006, a company buy-out gave her the opportunity to make a change in her life. She decided it was time to take on the challenging position of Stay-at-Home Mom! While volunteering in her sons’ classrooms, she saw first-hand the need to get families more involved in their children’s educational experience. Family involvement in education has been her passion ever since.
Currently volunteering her time serving as the Illinois PTA – Southern Region Director, she helps parent groups, throughout the southern third of Illinois, strengthen their impact in their schools. She is also a member of the Illinois PTA State Board of Directors and the Executive Board of her local PTA. She chairs numerous PTA annual events focusing on children, family, and community, including the Back-to-School B.A.S.H. held in the Metro-East area and a state wide Children Symposium held each spring.
DR. LEAH DUKOWITZ
Dr. Leah is a family Chiropractor who owns Vitalize Family Chiropractic in Swansea, IL. She is passionate about caring for infants, children, teens and their parents to help them live the best lives ever without the use of drugs and surgery. She loves caring for children with ear infections, ADHD, colic, constipation, acid reflux and scoliosis, to name a few and see them improve and thrive. Dr. Leah is a proud member of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.
Dr. Leah is also called “Mommy” to her two boys Wyatt (3) and Watson (15 months). "I am thrilled to be a part of KFN. As a mom, I'm always looking for things to do in the community with my children. As a business owner and Doctor, KFN is an organization that is really bringing to light the hidden gems in our community, not only for health (my passion) but education, recreation, and support. All right in our backyards!"
Dr. Leah received her Doctorate of Chiropractic from Logan College of Chiropractic in Chesterfield, MO after earning her degree in Biomedical Sciences from Marquette University.
Greg was born and raised in The Bronx of New York City. He is the youngest of four brothers. His mother worked at home taken care of them while his dad worked in the same midtown co-op building for over 20 years as a doorman, elevator attended and custodian.
He attended SUNY Canton College, Cornell University (Family Development Studies) and Lehman College (Youth Studies).
Greg has been married for over 13 years and has three kids Cidlaly (22), Eric (17) and Alexis (8) and a grandson of 2 years old named Amariee.
He has been employed with WellCare / Harmony Health Plan for 10 years (July 2015) in the Community Outreach Department. Grey started in New York and transferred to Southern IL eight years ago.
Four years ago he started his own company called BPG Entertainment (DJ, Emcee, Karaoke, Music Trivia). Before working with WellCare / Harmony, he ran a young fathers program in the lower east side of New York City called the P.A.P.A. program (Parental Awareness Prevents Abandonment).
Greg enjoys working in the community and providing assistance anyway he can. "If I can do something to better help another person than that is the reason why I am here." He is a board member of the Monsanto YMCA in St. Louis and an Ambassador for the Greater North County Chamber in St. Louis and very proud and honored to be a Board member of the Kid Friendly Network.
Javis Taylor has over 15 years of entrepreneurship experience. He also served within the United States Air Force in the Intelligence community for 6 years active-duty, and 2 year United States Air-Force Reserves.
He currently serves as the Curriculum Chair on the High Mount School Board, and has been one of the board members for the last 3 years. He attends Power of Change Christian Church, and has been a dedicated member for the past 16 years. Javis is a devoted husband to LaShon Taylor of 18 years, and proud father of Na'ila, Naja, and Javis Josiah Taylor (Jr.)
Javis is the owner of creativeEDGE Visual Branding Company since 2011. His company's vision is to lead creative innovation within visual branding for start-ups and small businesses. They take companies from inception to a realized brand within their industry.
Kate Diouf is the Association Director of Quality and Impact for the YMCA of Southwest Illinois. Kate has Master’s Degrees in Human Resource Development and Sociology, with specializations in race and ethnic relations, inequality, qualitative research, and organizational improvement. Kathleen has worked for the YMCA since January 2014. Prior to that, she worked as a consultant for more than 10 years and completed evaluation and capacity building projects for more than 50 non-profit organizations in St. Louis and beyond.
Kate taught sociology courses at St. Louis Community College and Fontbonne University, as well as Program Evaluation courses for Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work. She is a published author of articles on the parenting experiences of low-income, custodial African American fathers; the social construction of masculinity for African American men; and an evaluation of an economic stability initiative for women.
Kathleen is the proud mother of two beautiful and talented children, Eladge (12) and Milana (5). In her free time, Kathleen enjoys going to the movies, meditation and traveling.
Tonya Reed-Simon is the owner of B. Elite Dance Academy in the St. Louis area. Tonya has influenced many dancers in the art of dancing. While performing for Nelly and the St. Lunatics, Tonya also choreographed for Nelly's “Nellyville US Tour and World Tour”. She has also choreographed a piece for the DANCE THE DREAM PBS SPECIAL, which celebrates Dr. King's 50th Anniversary of the "I HAVE A DREAM" speech.
She has also choreographed for numerous NBA events. With over 20 years of dance experience in all genres, Tonya is a well-rounded highly motivated teacher that will leave your kids inspired. Keeping up her flair for business and choreography, Tonya parlayed those roles into appearances on the commercial dance world’s leading stages: MTV's WADE ROBSON PROJECT and RADIO CITY MUSIC AWARDS.
Tonya's accolades in the commercial world opened the door for her to begin directing at B. Elite Dance Academy. Today, she continues to be one of the most popular sought after Hip-Hop teachers in the Midwest and has stewarded relationships between the commercial and concert dance within the studio’s walls.
Tonya is currently a Judge for Talent on Parade National Dance Competition.
Tonya is currently a convention teacher for Talent on Parade and does Master Classes and Workshops all throughout Missouri and Illinois.
Her credits include: Nelly, St Lunatics, Diddy, Murphy Lee, Tommy Davison, Budweiser and ESPN, and Busta Rhymes.
Not one to limit herself or the students and dancers she works with, Tonya has several programs she continues to pursue artistic inspirations under. She is the Artistic Director/ Choreographer of B.E.D.A. – B. Elite Dance Academy; Head Coach of a high school dance team at Hazelwood East; and the Artistic Director of her Commercial Dance Training Program called Sky's the Limit .
All of these ventures allow Tonya the creative outlet to continue pursuing her unique fusion of various dance styles with all disciplines of art, beyond performance and workshops all throughout Missouri and Illinois.