For more information, contact:
Kathryn Norton - Development Officer

Download Membership Form
Volunteer Opportunities

Who We Are
The Guardians are a group of young professionals whose goal is to support Easterseals Arkansas in its mission to help children and adults with disabilities achieve independence. The Guardians accomplish this through volunteering, educating members to be advocates within the community for Easterseals and developing leaders to serve on the Easterseals Arkansas Board of Directors.

What We Do
The Guardians have two parts – the Board and the Membership Group.

The Membership Group provides young professionals with the opportunity to learn about Easterseals and be involved without a large time commitment. Members of The Guardians are asked to select at least one or more commitments from a list of volunteer and financial giving opportunities. For example, you can volunteer at an event (Arkansan of the Year, The Fashion Event, or Art & Soul), sponsor a child or adult at Christmas, volunteer in Easterseals' programs or organize a donation drive. The Membership Group also meets twice a year at social gatherings hosted by The Guardians Board, which will give members a chance to learn more about specific programs and needs at Easterseals.

Become a Member
To become a member of this exciting and dynamic group, fill out a Membership Form and return it to Kathryn Norton, Development Officer at Easterseals.

The Guardians Board

Chloe-SmithChloé Smith – Vice-Chair
Chloé Smith was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. She became involved with Easterseals Arkansas at the ripe age of three, when her mom began working for the organization and Chloé eagerly followed along. From participating with friends in Rollin’ on the River to volunteering at nearly every program Easterseals Arkansas has operated, to having one of her first jobs at Easterseals Arkansas Children’s Rehabilitation Center, this organization has always held a special place in Chloé’s heart. After earning two degrees and accomplishing a lifelong dream of being a professional dancer for an international entertainment company, Chloé returned to Arkansas to pursue new endeavors and spend more time with her family. Chloé serves as the Director of Admissions, Communications, and Events at Arkansas School for the Deaf. Ever eager to continue supporting Easterseals Arkansas, Chloé joined the Guardians in 2022 and currently serves as the Service Project Chair. In the in-between moments, Chloé loves trying local restaurants with friends, running around with her nephews and family, and reading as many books as she can get her hands on.

Brittany Keil – Service Chair
Brittany Keil is a writer, and researcher with SchoolCEO, a magazine dedicated to helping school leaders take control of how their communities think and feel about their districts. Prior to working as a writer full-time, Brittany taught English and Special Education for eight years in Arkansas and in Washington, D.C. Brittany has worked in educational advocacy for her entire career and is passionate about equity and fighting for communities in which all families can thrive. Brittany is an alumna of Johns Hopkins University, the University of Central Arkansas, and is a former Fulbright Scholar. In her spare time, Brittany enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, and showing her toddler, Rosemary, just how wonderful our world can be.

Katrinka Shields USEKatrinka Shields
Katrinka Shields went to the University of Central Arkansas and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration. She has spent her career in the Human Resources field in different industries including telecommunications, engineering, and the medical field and is currently the Director of Human Resources at the EdTEch start-up, Apptegy. She also currently serves on the Central Arkansas Human Resources Association board as the Vice President of Communications. Outside of work and volunteering, she enjoys traveling, spending time with her friends, family, and Goldendoodle, Oliver, and frequenting any restaurant with good queso.

jake keetJake Keet 
Jake Keet was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. He graduated from Florida State University. In 2008, Jake brought Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe to Arkansas with his brother, Tommy Keet, and father, Jim Keet. Over the past ten years they have opened seven locations in Arkansas along with three in Oklahoma. In the meantime, they opened a construction management company with Luke O’Gary, called KO Construction (Keet O’Gary Construction.) This last year they partnered with Louis Petit to open Petit and Keet Neighborhood Bar and Grill. Jake is blessed to be married to Stephanie Keet since 2009 and have two wonderful sons, Holden and Dashiell.

Juli WaitsJuli Waits
Juli Waits was born in Paragould, Arkansas, but has called Little Rock her home since 2009, and began her dream job as a hairstylist. She currently works behind the chair at Red Beauty Lounge in The Heights. In 2016, she became an ASK Educator for Schwarzkopf Professional. Through this opportunity, she gets to travel and teach new skills and techniques to Hairstylists and inspire them with new trends in hair color and cutting. She became involved with Easterseals Arkansas in 2014, when she was asked to do hair and makeup for the Easterseals Fashion Event. In her spare time, she can be found cooking, remodeling her home, and searching for the best charcuterie board in town.

SaraCate MoerySaraCate Moery
SaraCate Moery is an attorney with Hilburn & Harper, Ltd., where she primarily practices family law, estate planning, and probate administration. She earned her B.A. from the University of Arkansas in 2012. SaraCate obtained her law degree from the UALR Bowen School of Law and passed the Bar in 2015. Outside of work, SaraCate enjoys visiting Greers Ferry Lake, traveling, and playing tennis. She is also actively involved with Easterseals Arkansas, Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the Pulaski County and Arkansas Bar Associations. SaraCate and her husband Robert live in Little Rock with their daughter, Mary Trent, and their two dogs, Carl and Ernie.

JC KeetonJC Keeton
JC Keeton serves as SVP, Controller for Simmons Bank in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Arkansas, a Master’s of Accountancy from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and is CPA. In addition to the Guardians, JC is involved with The Hat Club of Little Rock and the University of Arkansas Little Rock School of Business. 

Jacob Spears
Jacob Spears
As Vice President of Business Development, Jacob Spears manages the advancement of Baldwin & Shell Construction Company’s Division of Construction Services. A Little Rock native, Jacob graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Veterinary Medicine. Upon graduation, the direction of his career shifted when he was offered a seat in an EIT Program in Houston, TX with Schlumberger. Jacob then spent six years in the oil and gas industry, later joining the construction industry in 2015. His motivation to serve the mission of Easterseals is rooted in his relationship with his aunt who lived with a disability. Jacob was appointed to the Guardians Board in 2019 and has been supporting Easterseals since moving back to Little Rock in 2017. Jacob also serves on the Catholic High Young Alumni Board and is a member of the Little Rock Hat Club. He and his wife, Lindsey, live in Ferndale with their two children, Sutton and Rowan.

Amy Byford
Amy ByfordAmy Byford is a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones helping individuals plan and protect their financial goals. She has been with the firm for over 6 years and works with clients from all walks of life. Amy and her husband Rob have lived in Little Rock for over 10 years and have two boys, 8-year-old Banks and 5-month-old Bakers. Being involved in the community is extremely important to Amy. She has been involved with Rotary Int'l for the past 4 years and Easterseals for the past 7 years. Amy has served on the Fashion Event committee since 2013 and served as co-chair in 2018 and chair in 2019. She has also coordinated a canned food drive along with her clients for the past 3 years for the students at Easterseals Center for Training & Wellness. Amy loves all that the community of Little Rock has to offer including biking, fishing, and walking the beautiful trails of the River Valley.

Chase CainChase Cain
Chase Cain is a Little Rock native and graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 2017 with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. He serves as a Clinical Pharmacist with Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield and an Advisor for PatchRx. Prior to working at Arkansas Blue Cross, Chase worked for Walgreens as a Project Manager through the corporate headquarters in Deerfield, IL. In his spare time, Chase enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and supporting Razorback sports.

Arpan AgrawalArpan Agrawal
Arpan Agrawal is a Delivery Leader for New Business Innovation at Deloitte. He is responsible for the delivery of CortexAI, which is the Deloitte AI Platform for AI, analytics, and data solutions. In addition to his work at Deloitte, Arpan started a local real estate investment group, 3A Real Estate Investments. He graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Computer Science Computer Engineering degree and has 15 years of experience across technology, sales, and consulting. In his spare time, Arpan likes to travel and enjoys reading, fitness, and spending time with his family. Arpan, his wife, Alicia, and daughter, Madelyn, volunteer with and are passionate about various nonprofit organizations throughout the area, including Easterseals Arkansas, Our House, Mended Little Hearts, Maumelle Friends of the Animals, Real Good Dog Rescue, and the Angel Tree Program for the Salvation Army. They have fostered and rescued three dogs, who are now officially part of the Agrawal family – Zoey, Louie, and Coco.

Dalaney Thomas
Dalaney is a Senior Account Manager at CJRW where she manages the Arkansas Tourism and Oaklawn strategic marketing and advertising plans. Dalaney’s passion for organizations that support and promote opportunities for individuals with disabilities began in high school when she was a regular volunteer with the Community Based Instruction program and competed as a teammate on Unified teams at Special Olympics games in Arkansas. Dalaney was recently named as the youngest member on CJRW’s Board of Directors and has achieved other accomplishments such as being named to the Arkansas Business 20 in their 20s list (2019) and Arkansas Money and Politics Top 100 Professionals (2022). Dalaney is a 2015 graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and lives in Little Rock with her husband Robert and the most spoiled lab named Arrow.

nate-abby-talley-USENate and Abby Talley
Nate is an audit partner and CPA at Erwin & Company, a public accounting firm based in Little Rock. After growing up in Little Rock, he attended and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, with an emphasis in accounting. Soon after, he obtained his Master's in Accountancy from the University of Arkansas. Abby also grew up in Little Rock and graduated from University of South Carolina, Columbia in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Hospitality Management. Upon graduating, she moved to Chicago to pursue a career in baking and pastry while attending The Illinois Institute of Art's culinary program. After a few long, cold winters, she decided to move home to Little Rock where she went back to school and acquired her CPA. After several years in public accounting where she specialized in audits of nonprofits, governmental entities, and employee benefit plans, she took a position as Accounting and Finance Manager at Travel Nurse Across America, where she currently works. After returning to Little Rock, Nate convinced his high school sweetheart, Abby, to marry him. They have two beautiful children, Collins and Andersen. Collins began attending Easterseals in May 2022 after a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, which encouraged them to get more involved with the school and its outreach. Nate & Abby also attend Christ Community Church in Little Rock where they are involved in the early childcare program.