Meet the Gifted and Dedicated Staff of Georgia Cares:
Heather Stockdale, CEO & Co-Founder
Heather Stockdale is the CEO of Georgia Cares, the statewide victim service agency for youth who have experienced sex trafficking and exploitation in Georgia. In her role as CEO, she is responsible for the overall development and implementation of the organization’s mission and strategic priorities. Her professional experience and training within the Trafficking and Youth Development fields serve her vision to pursue strategies that support holistic health and growth of youth while also building the State’s capacity to support youth, families, and communities in the fight against Human Trafficking.
Ms. Stockdale’s passion for child advocacy, youth development and government policy began during her time working under the Office of the Child Advocate. Her aspirations and dedication to these areas led her to a career at the Governor’s Office for Children and Families (GOCF). At GOCF, she was named the Director of the Statewide Task Force on Commercial Sexual Exploitation, led the State’s Trafficking initiatives, and served as the Division Administrator of the Youth Development Division. During her tenure for State Government, Ms. Stockdale was a founding member of Georgia Care Connection Office Inc., where she served on the Board of Directors. Ms. Stockdale was then nominated and appointed by the Board to serve as the Executive Director of Georgia Cares in December 2013.
Ms. Stockdale has been instrumental in the State’s anti-trafficking initiatives since 2009, working with federal partners, other States, non-governmental organizations, law enforcement, prosecutors, medical providers, and youth serving agencies to forge multi- disciplinary partnerships. Ms. Stockdale thrives on finding and refining efficiency, crafting innovative models, creating and implementing public policy, improving the effectiveness of systems, and cultivating access to services in the fight to eradicate child sex trafficking.
In her role at Georgia Cares, a passion for child advocacy, policy, social justice, and innovative solutions are joined in the fight to end modern day slavery in the form of child sex trafficking. Ms. Stockdale serves on several advisory boards and groups for trafficking and youth related issues, is a member of the Junior League of Atlanta, and is a proud graduate of the University of Georgia.
Sally Chelliah, Victim Support Program Director
Sally Chelliah, LMSW, is the Victim Support Program Director at Georgia Cares. In this role, she directs the Victim Support Program and leads the Care Coordination Staff. The Care Coordination team works to implement all direct programming for youth who have experienced victimization through Commercial Sexual Exploitation and/or Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking.
Previously, Sally was employed by Ahimsa House, where she assisted victims of domestic and sexual violence in escaping abusive homes and coordinated temporary care for their pets to ensure that both animals and humans reach safety. Here, Sally gained experience in case management, managing a 24-hour crisis hotline, and coordinating care and advocacy for humans and animals alike. Sally oversaw the statewide direct services program and led the team in assisting a case load of up to 25 humans and 60 pets simultaneously. In this role, Sally developed her program management and leadership skills while serving as a Georgia Cares youth mentor in her spare time.
Sally earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014 after beginning her career as a communications professional at Edelman Public Relations in Washington, D.C. For the past two years, Sally has enjoyed tackling the practical and clinical challenges present in this emerging area of child welfare, and she looks forward to continued professional growth with Georgia Cares. She continues to pursue her goal of empowering individuals and families and combating violence in our community.
to read about the awesome staff who serve on the Victim Support Program team!
Sara Riesing, Outreach Coordinator
Sara Riesing is the Outreach Coordinator at Georgia Cares. In this role, she supports the impact of Georgia Cares by engaging communities and volunteers statewide in outreach, awareness, and trainings on the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) and how to help provide treatment care and services for victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) in Georgia. Ms. Riesing manages marketing and communication efforts and coordinates events and fundraising, including the annual Color Me Free 5K Color Run for Georgia Cares.
Prior to Georgia Cares, Ms. Riesing volunteered with a partner organization where she participated in fundraising efforts and worked with adult victims of sex trafficking in Atlanta. She previously worked for the City of Kennesaw as an Events Coordinator where she hosted several events for the City’s museum, including the most successful event in its 44 year history. She has also worked for a top Atlanta radio station, 104.7 The Fish, where she served as an integral part of the promotions team. The most notable event served in her role being Celebrate Freedom- the largest one-day, free, outdoor Christian music festival in the United States. Ms. Riesing graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications with a focus in Public Relations and a Minor in Business Law.
At Georgia Cares, Ms. Riesing is able to combine her communications background and her passion to see Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) eradicated from our state by engaging the community through volunteer opportunities, fundraising events, and education.
to read about the awesome staff who serve on the Outreach Program team!
Whitney Blackwell, Emergency Response Program Director
Whitney Blackwell, LMSW, is the Emergency Response Program Director at Georgia Cares. In this role, she manages the following phases of the Case Management System: Referral, Screening/Crisis, Intake, and Assessment. These two teams are on the front lines working to ensure that Georgia Cares provides quality and timely responses to partners and community members who suspect that a child is a Victim of Commercial Sexual Exploitation.
Previously, Mrs. Blackwell was employed by Georgia Baptist Children's Homes, where she was first exposed to the CSEC/DMST population. During her time there, she learned about the needs of the CSEC/DMST population and found a fostered a passion for serving adolescent youth. Mrs. Blackwell earned her Bachelor of Criminology from the University of West GA, and her Masters in Social Work from Clark Atlanta University. At Georgia Cares, Mrs. Blackwell is a cheerleader, advocate, team player, and trainer in the pursuit of "ensuring that child sex trafficking victims receive quality care and services in the State of Georgia.”
to read about the awesome staff who serve on the Emergency Response Program team!
Kaylie Callahan, Administrative Assistant
Kaylie Callahan is the Administrative Assistant at Georgia Cares. In this role, she performs specialized clerical duties within the office such as maintaining records, organizing the office, and serving as a point of contact for the community.
Kaylie's interest in anti-trafficking efforts and child advocacy started four years ago, and prompted her to pursue a Bachelor of Human Services degree with a focus on Nonprofit Administration. During her senior year, Kaylie served as an Outreach Intern at Georgia Cares, where she collaborated with staff on the strategic development of several campaigns and events. She enjoyed this experience and it encouraged her to further develop a marriage between her education and her personal passion of helping others. In her current role at Georgia Cares, she does just that- helping external community members, helping staff, and ensuring the agency runs smoothly on a day to day basis. Kaylie is enjoying her new role as Administrative Assistant and looks forward to learning more about how nonprofits operate, growing in her professional capacity, and advocating for victims.