Staff and Contractors
Cheyenne Thornton, Executive Director
Cheyenne is a resident of White County and a graduate of the University of North Georgia with a degree in Criminal Justice and a concentration in Forensics. For the past several years she has been serving as the Victim Services Coordinator for the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office. In that capacity she has conducted forensic interviews in child abuse cases and served as an advocate for victims of various criminal offenses. She also coordinated many of the Sheriff’s Office’s community outreach programs and chairs the Lumpkin County Child Abuse Protocol Committee and Lumpkin County’s Multidisciplinary Team, which coordinates interagency responses to child abuse cases. Cheyenne serves as the board secretary for Lumpkin County Family Connection and member of the Lumpkin County Division of Family and Children Services Board and has served as the secretary of the Lumpkin County Domestic Violence Task Force. She is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Lumpkin County. Cheyenne was a founding board member and the first board president of South Enotah Child Advocacy Center.
Rebekah Poponi, Family Advocate
Rebekah is a graduate of the University of North Georgia with a degree in Criminal Justice. She comes to us with experience working as the Victim Advocate within the Hall County District Attorney’s Office where she assisted families through the criminal justice system as well as identifying local resources to refer said families too. Further, she has been a part of multiple task forces within Hall County and attended multiple trainings to further her knowledge of best practices in assisting crime victims. Ms. Poponi stated that as resident of Dahlonega she has a desire to serve the community in which she lives.
Patricia Jarvis, Family Advocate
Patricia began her career at the Burke County Department of Family and Children Services (DFACS) in 1975. During her time with DFACS, she worked in the Eligibility Unit (Food Stamps and TANF) as well as the Social Services Unit (Child Protective Services, Adult Protective Services, Foster Care and Adoption). After being employed there for 25 years, Patricia re-located to Emanuel County where she initially served as the Social Services Supervisor before being given the task of supervising Candler County. Additionally, she served as Interim Director for Emanuel and Candler Counties for a period of 18 months prior to her retirement. During her time with DFACS, Patricia served on many boards and was involved with the Multi-Disciplinary Team meetings with The Sunshine House Child Advocacy Center in Emanuel County. Upon retirement, Patricia continued to serve in various organizations such as the Sheriff’s Youth Homes, CASA, and currently with the Enotah Juvenile Family Therapy Program. Her and her husband, David, moved to Lumpkin County in 2015 and have three children and eight grandchildren.
Lisa Mallory, Contract Forensic Interviewer
Lisa earned her BA in Psychology from The University of Michigan in 1988 and her MSW in Clinical Social Work from Loyola University Chicago in 1990. She has been a forensic interviewer for 15 years in 6 different states, and has conducted close to 1000 interviews of children, adolescents and vulnerable adults. Prior to becoming a forensic interviewer, she was a child and family therapist specializing in sexual abuse. Lisa and her husband, Doug, have lived all over the country and currently reside in Flowery Branch, GA. They are the parents of three grown daughters and three dogs.
Tori Owens, Contract Forensic Interviewer
Tori has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Systems Analysis from Miami University (Oxford, OH), a Master of Divinity in Church History and Theology from the Nazarene Theological Seminary, and a Master of Arts in Community Counseling from Argosy University in Atlanta. For the past fourteen years in her work with NOA (No One Alone), a domestic violence shelter serving Lumpkin and Dawson counties, Tori has served in various roles: children’s and shelter advocate, shelter manager, and counselor. Currently, she is the Director of Counseling and Victim Advocacy overseeing shelter operations and NOA’s new Opportunity Centers located in Dahlonega and Dawsonville. Tori is a licensed associate professional counselor with the state of GA, as well as, a National Certified Counselor (NCC). She works independently as a neutral/mediator (GA) and trained parent coordinator assisting parents as they navigate divorce and custody transitions. In her free time, Tori enjoys exploring the outdoors with her partner and daughter whether traveling, hiking, kayaking or birdwatching.
Marlyn Darragh RN SANE-P, Contract Pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner
Marlyn Darragh is a wife, mother of three adult children and grandmother to four. She is a registered nurse with 30 plus years of experience in various areas of nursing. Having worked almost a decade caring for the under served population in Gainesville, she became aware of how much she loved helping those who were in need who had no where to go for help. Since this was where her heart was, she jumped at a chance to take the training to become certified as a pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner. Her training was completed 2 years ago and she has begun to work with different counties in need of her services!