Meet the Board | Sleep Tight Kids Blog

Meet the Board

Sleep Tight Kids wouldn’t be able to provide the services we do without the support of our board, who dedicate their time and resources to making the lives of displaced children feel warmer and safer. This month we’re getting to know these dedicated individuals on the blog.


Kristine Freeman

KRISTINE FREEMAN (vice president)

What led you to Sleep Tight Kids?
My parents instilled in me a strong work ethic. My father was a school principal and my mom was a nurse. My husband and I have tried to teach our girls and lead by example through hard work and volunteering. Our daughter Katie attended a small university that required service hours. She was a few hours short, and we contacted Jill. When my girls were young they collected trial size toiletries and made up bags for Western Carolina Rescue Mission, so when Jill explained how STK helped in a similar way, but with a focus on children, we knew it was something we could help with.

Describe your most uplifting moment working with Sleep Tight Kids.
I will never forget when we brought toys and pajamas to a battered women’s shelter last year. One young mother began tearing up and hugging us when she learned that each child could pick out their own brand-new stuffed animal…and that the donations were coming from complete strangers. You could see in her eyes that she could not comprehend the love we showed to her and her child without asking for anything in return.

What was your favorite toy as a child?
I had a stuffed Gingerbread man, and I never went to bed without that doll and a kiss and snuggle from my mom. She also read to me every night before bed. My father grew up very poor, and he worked hard to break the cycle of poverty.

How do you spend your time when you’re not working with Sleep Tight Kids?
My family and I really enjoy traveling and meeting people from all around the world—South Africa, Peru, Jamaica, the Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas in the past two years. I also enjoy cycling, gardening, caring for my aging father, and photography.


Avery JonesAVERY JONES (treasurer)

What led you to Sleep Tight Kids?
Jill is a long-time friend of mine, so when she asked me to help, I simply said yes. I have a background in fundraising and bookkeeping so it was a natural fit to serve as the treasurer.

Can you describe your most uplifting moment working with Sleep Tight Kids?
Knowing we are helping young children!

What was your favorite toy as a child?
Huge stuffed teddy bear.

What (or who or where) gave you the most comfort when you were young?
My family.

How do you spend your time when you’re not working with Sleep Tight Kids?
Spending time with my family, volunteering at my boys’ school, reading, cooking, cycling/hiking. I enjoy the outdoors!


Wendy KnowlesWENDY KNOWLES (secretary)

What led you to Sleep Tight Kids?
I was introduced to Jill by a mutual friend. She felt my background in marketing would be helpful.

Describe your most uplifting moment working with Sleep Tight Kids.
We had a young woman speak at last year’s fundraising event. Natasha painted a clear picture of why our organization is so desperately needed. STK’s efforts gave Natasha hope and a sense of people caring for her. This, in turn, gave her the strength to tackle the many challenges she faced. Her story made it very clear why we must do more for individuals and families in similar circumstances.  ​

What was your favorite toy as a child?
I had a stuffed animal by the name of “Alfie.” I’ll never forget going off to summer camp one year and forgetting Alfie. I was so upset. My older brother packed up my stuffed toy and shipped it to me. I’ll never forget this gesture, and how comforting it was to have Alfie with me.  ​

What (or who or where) gave you the most comfort when you were young?
My mother. I lost her when I was 19, and I greatly sympathize with families who are separated and children who need additional comfort to get through difficult times.

How do you spend your time when you’re not working with Sleep Tight Kids?
I have a wedding planning business that keeps me very busy. I enjoy hiking, trying new restaurants in Asheville, frequenting coffee shops, and visiting my daughter in California as often as possible.  ​


Amanda BowenAMANDA BOWEN

What led you to Sleep Tight Kids?
A few years ago I posted a recommendation on Facebook that I was looking for a local nonprofit to donate to and a friend shared Sleep Tight Kids with me. I instantly fell in love.

Do you have a specific connection to the work?
My son Dylan had a strong connection to his blanket at an extremely early age (two months old). The way he loved and snuggled with his blanket was undeniable and I thought, “Wow! What if I could help provide that kind of comfort to another child?”

Describe your most uplifting moment working with Sleep Tight Kids.
I’m not sure if I have just one specific moment! I love what we accomplish each day, each month, each delivery to these children. It’s uplifting and inspiring, to say the least. If our efforts can help these kids have sweet dreams when they lay their heads down in times of uncertainty, confusion and fear, then we have fulfilled our mission.

What was your favorite toy as a child?
It was a stuffed doll that had my name on her shirt and kind of looked like me. I took it everywhere. One time, I left it in a restroom while my family and I were traveling on a long trip! I was devastated and began crying. My mother turned around to go all the way back to get it. We found her and all was right with the world.


Kim BooseKIM BOOSE

What led you to Sleep Tight Kids?
Jill was client of mine for personal training, and she was also my daughter’s wedding photographer. She shared with me what Sleep Tight Kids does and her dream and her vision and how much work she put into it for unselfish reasons. I wanted to be a part of that, somehow, in some way.

Describe your most uplifting moment working with Sleep Tight Kids.
I will never forget when Circles of Hope reached out. They had a bunch of kids coming in, but had no supplies. Jill asked for toothbrushes, wipes, just basic necessities. My kids have so much. We take that for granted when so many had nothing. That’s when the reality really hit me. I thought, “I have to just go physically do this myself.” It’s scary that there are children in our own community that are in this situation.

What was your favorite toy as a child?
I collected stuffed hippopotamuses. I loved this one big purple fat snuggly hippopotamus. The hippopotamuses were a symbol that made me feel special, made me feel comforted.

How do you spend your time when you’re not working with Sleep Tight Kids?
I have my children who are grown, and three grandchildren. I run the group fitness at Asheville Racquet Club. I work out a lot. I’m very into the physical side of bringing people happiness and making people smile.


Missy CulverMISSY CULVER

What led you to Sleep Tight Kids?
Jill told me about her dream for STK. I was so inspired by the idea and her passion for it. I had two very young children and it struck me as something I wanted to be a part of. The thought of any child going through such traumatic experiences broke my heart.

Describe your most uplifting moment working with Sleep Tight Kids.
Last fall we held a fundraiser at Bold Rock Cider. Jill asked if I could pick up a guest of honor at Western Carolina Rescue Mission. This mother of two had an incredible story, and I was lucky enough to have that time in the car with her and my children. It was eye opening to the reality of the needs out there, and the impact that STK is having, not just on the children, but on the parents as well. The impact hearing that story firsthand for my children was remarkable.

What was your favorite toy as a child?
This will sound ridiculous, but keep in mind I had two older brothers: Stretch Armstrong was SO cool! I did have a favorite teddy bear that I wore down to rags, but the real comfort came from my amazing mom.

How do you spend your time when you’re not working with Sleep Tight Kids?
I work in accounting, helping small local businesses with bookkeeping, payroll, and taxes. But for fun I’m either playing with my two girls, playing or listening to music, or hiking or paddle boarding.


Leanne JohnsonLEANNE JOHNSON

What led you to Sleep Tight Kids?
When I first met
Jill, she was a teacher at Mills River Elementary, the school my children attended. Being involved at school, I have seen how children can be left in a tough spot and displaced with nothing but the clothes on their back. When Jill started Sleep Tight Kids, I wanted to help.

Can you describe your most uplifting moment working with Sleep Tight Kids?
While visiting a rescue facility, we met a baby boy whose mother was pregnant while she was incarcerated and had to finish her sentence after giving birth. He was addicted to drugs when he was born and had a very tough time detoxing. This was a firsthand experience how children can end up in a situation, mother or no mother, where they have nothing. Seeing the elated expression on the employee’s face when Jill presented pajamas, blankets, and stuffed animals to help with that little fellow, as well as the other children in the facility, was so touching.

What was your favorite toy as a child?
My favorite toys were my stuffed animals “Little Bear” and “Monkey.” The bear sucked his thumb. The monkey was nothing fancy, but I loved him. Remembering how those simple stuffed animals gave me comfort and happiness makes me smile right now. Simple things can mean so much to a child.

What (or who or where) gave you the most comfort when you were young?
My mom was always there, raising me to be a strong, Christian girl and always supporting me in anything I did. Her words of wisdom, strength in her character, and loving arms have always been my comfort.

How do you spend your time when you’re not working with Sleep Tight Kids?
I am a wife, first and foremost. Then I am a mother to my two children, Isaac (12) and Ellory (10). It’s hard to keep it in this order, but I believe God wants it that way. I try to spend time focusing on my marriage as best as possible and being supportive to my husband, as well as keeping our house intact. My family is my life. However, I do own and operate Paper Solutions Inc., which distributes paper rolls, ink ribbons, and more.


Scott Schwarzkopf

SCOTT SCHWARZKOPF

What led you to Sleep Tight Kids?
Supporting my wife, Jill, was the big reason. I belong to the Kiwanis Club of Asheville, and one of our missions is bettering lives of children here. Obviously that works perfectly with Sleep Tight Kids.

Describe your most uplifting moment working with Sleep Tight Kids.
For a lot of events, I don’t go; they don’t want men at the battered woman’s shelter. But seeing the images captured has been amazing. There’s one picture of a kid with a single tear coming down his cheek. I did go a pajama party we had at Steadfast House. I remember a little girl who was so shy. She came out of her shell when we all showed up in pajamas, brought cake, and had nice little party.

What was your favorite toy as a child?
The Atari 2600. It still holds a soft spot in my heart.

What (or who or where) gave you the most comfort when you were young?
It was going to grandma’s house for the Christmas holidays. Whether it was the holidays or her house, it always smelled like chocolate pudding.

How do you spend your time when you’re not working with Sleep Tight Kids?
My job is fundraising for universities. Otherwise, my kids’ activities, dance lessons, swimming lessons, horseback lessons, guitar lessons. I love spending time with them and doing things they like.


Carrie TurnerCARRIE TURNER

What are some specific connections you have to the work of Sleep Tight Kids?
I have two young children who have both been very attached to bedtime comfort items. My daughter (Dora, nine) had a hand-knit baby blanket that she literally loved to extinction. My son (Oscar, five) sleeps every night with his teddy bear, “Foxy.” I can only imagine how devastating it would be for them if these items were lost in an emergency situation. To help a child in a scary and difficult time with something so basic and fulfilling as a teddy bear or warm PJs is such a great thing.

Describe your most uplifting moment working with Sleep Tight Kids.
It’s been inspiring to me to see children (my own and others) get involved in the cause. I think if we can inspire empathy in our children, they might become the generation that has the power to change the world for the better.

What was your favorite toy as a child?
I always enjoyed toys that had a creative element to them—Etch-a-Sketch, Spirograph, Tinker Toys. We had a set of wooden blocks with holes/tracks that you could connect and send marbles through. I still play with that at my dad’s house! And I had a  Little People hospital, which I really loved.

What (or who or where) gave you the most comfort when you were young?
I have always been an animal lover, so there were always pets to be friends, companions, protectors, and comforters. I grew up in a rural area so I spent a lot of time exploring in the woods with our dogs and cats.

How do you spend your time when you’re not working with Sleep Tight Kids?
My husband Brian and I live in West Asheville with our kids and several pets. We work together as self-employed artists: Brian is a musician and I’m a freelance photographer. I love cooking, biking, yoga, and hiking with the dogs, and I’m a big Star Wars nerd/fan, so you can always find a Star Wars novel on my bedside table.

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