The Autauga/Western Elmore Arc is a membership organization open to all persons who wish to advocate for and support persons with intellectual disabilities. Our organization operates four programs in the River Region: The Louise M. Smith Developmental Center, Supported Employment, Doris Jean Grant Residential Program and the Early Infant Education Intervention Opportunities Program (E.I.E.I.O.).
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AWE Arc is a member chapter of the Arc of Alabama and Arc of the U.S. Organized in 1984, the AWE Arc is a non-profit , Board administered United Way member agency supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Autauga and Western Elmore Counties. The Arc Chapters in Alabama are the largest service providers to persons with intellectual disabilities in the state.
We are the premier provider of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in our service area.
To educate, train, support, and advocate for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities to enable them to reach their maximum potential as participating members of society.
The Arc of Alabama, Chapter Member
The Arc of the United States, Affiliated Chapter Member
Alabama Department of Mental Health
Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services
River Region United Way
Prattville Chamber of Commerce
Autauga County School System
Elmore County School System
Jess Butrica, Executive Director
Jess began working at the Smith Center in January of 2007. She has been the Director over the agency for 6 years. Her educational background is a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Sociology and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. Jess has a 9 year old daughter, three dogs and a cat. In her free time she enjoys traveling, kayaking, sports (Roll Tide) and spending time with family. She has an extra strong passion for disabilities advocacy and strives to continue to improve services in this area. Jess looks forward to being part of positive change in the evolving services and supports within the Department of Mental Health in the state of Alabama.
Keela Smith, Program Manager
Keela began working at the Smith Center in November of 2015. She holds a Masters of Art in Mental Health Counseling from Argosy University (Tampa, FL) and Bachelors of Art in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Troy University (Troy, AL). She is a member of Chi Sigma Iota honor society for professional counselors. She has over ten years of experience in the area of service to those with mental and/or intellectual disabilities. She enjoys family, church, music, bowling and fishing.
Amy Pruett, LPN/ MAS Nurse
Amy has been with the Smith Center since April of 2009. She serves primarily as the supervising nurse, but also assists with Quality Assurance issues. She is on call after hours to assist with the healthcare needs of our residential clients. She received her LPN License in 1995 and since then has worked with people who have developmental and/or intellectual disabilities. Amy has lived in the river region all her life. She is a single mom to 2 daughters and has 2 grandchildren. She enjoys being outdoors and gardening when she is not working.
Christie Dean, LPN/ MAS Nurse
Christie has been employed as the Day Hab nurse with the Smith Center since August of 2013. She grew up in Millbrook and currently resides in Titus. She has been married to her husband, Joey, for 24 years and they have three grown children, one son and two daughters and also has three grandchildren. In her spare time Christie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, kayaking and watching reality TV.
Carla Darby, Early Intervention Director
Carla began working at the Smith Center March of 2015 as a Service Coordinator with EIEIO (Early Infant Education Intervention Opportunities). She now works as EIEIO Director, alongside four Service Coordinators. Carla received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Auburn University in Early Childhood Special Education. She taught school for 27 years, retiring from the Autauga County School system May 2012. Since retirement, she worked for a private company in the educational services division under a federal grant program transforming under performing schools and school districts. She considers herself to be home again working with children with developmental delays and their families. Carla has been married for over thirty years to her husband, Andrew, and they have three sons and three rescue dogs. Carla loves everything Auburn, gardening, beach, and mostly spending time with her family.
LaQuayna Henley, Early Intervention Service Coordinator
Laquayna grew up in Montgomery, AL. She graduated from Troy University in May of 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Sociology and with her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Troy University July 2017. Laquayna and her husband Robert have one son name Robert Jr. Laquayna enjoys spending time with family, friends, and love watching sports.
Jamie Mims, Early Intervention Service Coordinator
Jamie Started with Early Intervention (E.I.E.I.O) in January of 2015. She graduated from Troy University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Human Services focusing in Vocational Rehabilitation. Jamie is Married to Mr. Dewayne Mims and lives in Wetumpka . She has a blended family with six children Mary Elizabeth, Laura John and Maddie Emerson, and Parker, Holly and Anna Mims. She enjoys spending time with her family, going to the lake and Alabama football.
Cassandra George, Early Intervention Service Coordinator
Cassandra started with Early Intervention in November of 2015 as a Service Coordinator and Special Instructor with E.I.E.I.O. She grew up in Prattville, Alabama. She currently resides in Montgomery. She graduated from Troy University December 2013 with her Bachelors of Science in Psychology. Cassandra graduated from Amridge University with her Masters of Science in Human Services in April 2017. She has a pit bull named Jade and a miniature dachshund named Layla.. In her free time, she likes to go to the lake, fish, spend time with friends, and read.
Angela Weldon, Early Intervention Service Coordinator
Angela started with E.I.E.I.O. in July of 2017. She has worked in Early Intervention for 15 years as a service coordinator and special instructor. She has a bachelor’s degree in speech language pathology and audiology. She has been married to Charlie Weldon for 32 years and has one son, who is 28 years old, and one fur baby, named big daddy. In her free time, Angela enjoys reading, gardening, and cooking for others.
Sherry Worthington, Accounting/ Business Office Manager
Sherry has served as the Accountant for the Smith Center for ten years. She brings 16 years of Non-Profit accounting experience from her prior position with The City of St. Jude. She has two children and six grandchildren. She enjoys participating in her church activities, reading and spending time with family and friends .
Georgia Shearon, Administrative Assistant/HR
Georgia began working at the Smith Center in August of 1999 as the receptionist/secretary and now works as the Administrative Assistant, HR Coordinator, and does new employee orientation training, CPI, and CPR/FA training. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology in 2009. She has been married to her husband, Bob, for 46 years and they have 3 children, 12 awesome grandchildren, and 1 precious great-grand daughter. Bob and Georgia’s oldest daughter and her husband have adopted 3 children. They have 3 children with Down Syndrome; 2 of them were adopted from China. Bob and Georgia’s son has been attending the Smith Center since 1994. She enjoys participating in the Women’s Ministry at her Church, attending activities the grandchildren are involved in, sewing, crocheting, and reading in her “spare” time.
Gail Reeves, Accounting Assistant
Gail is the Accounting Assistant at AWE/Arc. She has the responsibility of doing residential client billing, residential accounts payable, employee payroll, and other duties assigned by her supervisor. She has served as the Accounting Assistant for AWE/Arc for 9 years and has over 27 years of experience working in the Accounting field. She has severed as Accounts Payable Clerk to Elmore County Commission, CADTF, and the 5 County Districts as well as Accounts Payable/Payroll Clerk to Wiregrass Hospice Montgomery, and Payroll Clerk/Accounts Payable and Office Manger to Resurrection Life Center. She has been married to her husband Pastor Michael O. Reeves Sr. for 24 years and they have 4 children and 3 grandchildren. Gail enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She also enjoys working at the church and doing volunteer work/projects with her children.
Brandi Wallen- Peterson, Job Developer
Brandi has been working at the Smith Center for 3 years and has been in the field for over 6 years. She started out as lead instructor and worked her way up to Pre -Voc instructor. She is currently a Job Developer. She is married and has 2 Children: A 28-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter and 3 grandbabies: 2 boys 4 years old and a girl 2 years old. She loves to travel and see new places, loves art, reading and spending time with her family.
Kearra Brown, Residential Coordinator
Kearra started working with Autauga Western Elmore Arc in 2015. She started has a one on one personnel. Shortly thereafter she became a lead instructor and then moved her way to be the agency Appointment Coordinator. She spent two years as the Residential Coordinator and now holds the role as the Residential QDDP/Department Head. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Liberty University.. Kearra aspires to be a behavior analyst with the ambition in getting her PHD in the future. She is dedicated in creating a life of experience for the people that we support.
Rachael Proctor, Transportation Supervisor/ Activities Coordinator
Rachael has been a part of the Smith Center family for over a year. She has worked with those with intellectual disabilities for almost 4 years. Her passion comes from helping her parents care for her brother who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Rachael’s brother, Ben, was her pride and joy until his passing in October of 2012. For Rachael, working in this field is her way of keeping his memory alive. In her spare time, Rachael enjoys watching movies, kayaking, spending time outdoors, building things, and painting. She is a member of a few Jeep clubs around the area, and an administrator of two of them. Rachael has three dogs that she adores- Jack, Little Boy, and Jemma. She is enrolled at Troy University and is pursuing her Bachelor’s in Psychology with a minor is Sociology. She wants to help others resolve complex emotional issues and develop solutions for real-world problems. Having experience in the field gives Rachael a deep appreciation and helps seek to improve the quality of life for the people she supports.
Donna Williams, Receptionist
Donna began working at The Smith Center in February, 2019. She and her husband, Jeff have been married 23 yrs. They have 2 children. Caleb is currently attending Auburn University and Kenton is currently attending Auburn University in Montgomery. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends and quilting. She’s a member of Glynwood Baptist Church.
Annette Holliday, Bus Driver
Annette has been with the Smith Center for 34 years. She has 3 children, 1 son and 2 daughters. She also has 3 grandchildren. In her spare time she likes to shop, play games and word search puzzles (which are her favorite.)
Sonia Duncan, QDDP
Sonia began working at the Smith Center in August 2019 and has 8 years’ experience in the field. Her passion comes from growing up with her uncle diagnosed with Down Syndrome and helping care for him. Sonia has a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Auburn University Montgomery. She has a 9 year old son, Beckham, and an English Bulldog, Sophie. In her spare time, Sonia enjoys being outside, taking Zumba classes, attending sporting events and spending time with friends and family.
Debbie Johns, Direct Support Professional
Debbie went to Faulkner University and studied psychology. She worked as a sub in the school system and then worked at the high school in the special education classroom for several years. Debbie began working at the Smith Center five years ago. She works with an individual as his one-on-one support staff and thoroughly enjoys it.
ShaRikka Cowart, Appointment Coordinator
ShaRikka began working at the Smith Center in August of 2017. She started as a Residential DSP before being offered a position as the Appointment Coordinator in August of 2018. While working here she has obtained two outside degrees one as a Clinically Certified Medical Assistant and a Certified Phlebotomy Technician. ShaRikka has always had a passion for the healthcare field and will continue to further her education in this area.
Angelique Evans, Pre-Vocational Instructor
Angelique has been employed at the Smith Center since October of 2013. She has worked in both the Pre-vocational and Day Hab programs as a Lead Instructor and as a Job coach. She has three children and enjoys reading, sci-fi shows, horseback riding, and American Sign Language.
Bonita Shelton, Direct Support Professional
Bonita has been an employee of the Smith Center for 4 years. She finds her job very rewarding and learns more from the people she serves every day. Per Bonita, "Getting to know the people we serve let's me know that you can do anything, because every day they push past what other’s would call limitations." Bonita is a mother of three; two girls and a boy, and a grandmother of three; two girls and a boy.
Kenyatta Johnson, Bus Driver
Kenyatta started working at the Smith Center on Sept. 24, 2019, in the transportation department. She’s 28 years old and has 3 children; one daughter and two sons.
Sheryl Cudjoe, Bus Driver
Sheryl has been employed with the Smith Center since 2014. She became a certified CNA in 2017, through a program provided by Prattville’s Chamber of Commerce through Trenholm Community College. Her employment flexibility allows her to do what she enjoys, "unity in providing quality care for the individuals we serve." She is also a mother of 2 set of fraternal twins (3 boys and 1 girl). A grandmother of 5 (4 girls and 1 boy) and a great-grandmother of 1 boy. She enjoys music (especially, gospel) and spending time with family and friends.
Jocelynne Bruce, Direct Support Professional/ QDDP in Training
Jocelynne began working for the Smith Center in 2005 as a Residential DSP. She is now a Center Lead Instructor. She has an Associate’s Degree in Radio & TV Broadcasting and has recently earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Ashford University. Jocelynne has a 15 year-old son. She enjoys watching Hallmark & Lifetime movies, playing air hockey and food. She is dedicated to the individuals she supports, helping them become more independent and confident in their own abilities. She encourages all in her area to try new things.
Jawuana Jackson, Bus Driver
Larella Taylor, Direct Support Professional