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goal # of Howard County adults we've trained.

About Us

What We Do

Let's say this in the simplest, most straight-forward manner possible: child sexual abuse is a horrible, shockingly-prevalent problem and we're doing everything we can to:

  1. Prevent it
  2. Help responsible adults recognize it
  3. Help victims survive it and live an empowered life

We do this by offering prevention training to adults, children, and groups, such as police officers, teachers, nurses, and other responsible people who can make a difference.

Who We Are

We are a group of dedicated volunteers who are always looking for more help. If you can help in any way, please contact us right away.


Shari Hammond, Co-Founder and President

With 10 years of business experience behind her, Shari has chosen to lead from her heart and put an end to childhood sexual abuse. As a facilitator, Shari is training adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to this horrific epidemic. Shari's commitment and passion is undeniable when it comes to this mission. "I was a victim of sexual abuse by my step-father from the ages of 11 to 14. During those years, this topic was never discussed and it was common place to sweep this under the rug. I was suffering so much and started to believe this would never end, then finally someone helped me, and they took him away."

"As with many young survivors, I married young, had a child at 18, and began my family as I always hoped mine would be. As I grew older and started my healing work, my husband and I parted as friends and I began to really live from a much brighter, and more peaceful place. I owned and operated my own business, got remarried and had two more children. On May 17th 2008, my daughter shared with me that she had been sexually abused by her Dad from the ages of 8 to 13. This would happen during visits every other weekend and once during the week. As I laid there in utter shock and in the most excruciating emotional pain I have ever felt, I knew what needed to be done. I called the police and justice was served. By the courts anyway. My daughter and I started the healing process, together, again. I told my daughter, and the universe, that I WILL do something about this before I leave this earth. I promise. Through my partnership with Darkness to Light and the help of my dear friends and family, Shari's Promise was born and my mission has just begun. I invite you to join me in ending childhood sexual abuse. Let's change the world together."

Karen Pitsley, Co-founder and Vice-President

Karen Pitsley, AIA is the president and owner of Transforming Architecture LLC, the first and only franchise opportunity for registered architects. Karen started Transforming Architecture in 2009, which is based on her successful Architectural firm, Residential Reflections ARCHITECTS. Karen believes everyone deserves access to good design. She plans to transform the public perception that hiring an architect is too expensive, and to make architects more accessible. She has over fifteen years experience helping clients design their dream homes, whether it be a new custom home or a renovation and addition to their existing house. Karen is very good at listening to her client's desires as well as assessing their needs.

Karen is the immediate Pas President of the Business Women's Network of Howard County, and has been involved for the past two years with the Highland Day Steering Committee. She the winner of The Daily Record's 2011 Innovator of the Year, was name of one Maryland's Top 100 Women, and is a founder for the Coalition for Aging in Place Maryland. Her architectural works have been published in several magazines including Builder/Architect Magazine, Business Monthly and Corridor Magazine. She speaks nationally to Architects about business and marketing.

Karen brings her business sense and passion for eliminating childhood sexual abuse to Shari's Promise. She was a victim from the ages of two to six at the hands of her grandfather. "If you're in a room with more than eight people, chances are good that one-quarter of them are victims," says Karen. "We have the power to save children from this horrific epidemic and start the healing for those already affected. Every adult we train has the power to protect ten children. Please help us protect our future."

Linda Perline, Secretary

As a physician assistant, with 24 years of medical experience, Linda brings to our board a clinician's point to view. Genuine, kind and insightful, she is honored to be part of Shari's promise. Promise is what this organization is all about. The promise that adults will listen when our children speak, fight when a child has been violated and work to end child sexual abuse.

Until meeting Shari and joining this amazing group, Linda innocently believed that abuse was rare and limited to certain socio-economic groups. Sadly, she was wrong on both counts. Learning that 1 in 4 girls will be molested in her lifetime, was a call to arms!

Linda is also a small business owner, wife, mother, breast cancer survivor and avid traveler.

Doralee Billings, Treasurer

Doralee Billings started Small Office Solutions in 2000, working part-time. Within three years, the company had grown to a full-time business providing accounting and administrative services to small and medium-sized companies. Her company helps small businesses and entrepreneurs manage their accounting and administration. Doralee is a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor and during the past ten years has worked with more than 65 companies and provided specialized bookkeeping tools to 125 individuals. She is available for QuickBooks one-on-one training, system evaluation to make sure you are getting the most out of your QuickBooks software, and all bookkeeping services. Her services include payroll, day-to-day maintenance, monthly review and reconciliation and are tailored to your specific needs.

In addition to running Small Office Solutions, she has pursued her passion for advancing and supporting women in business. She has served on the board of directors of the Business Women's Network (BWN) of Howard County for the past five years last year completed a two-year term as the organization's president. The BWN not only supports women in business, but is also an active supporter of the community at large. It supports Success In Style, the Domestic Violence Center and awards LifeLong Learning Scholarships to deserving women around the county. Doralee is the recipient of the 2008 Committee for Business and Economic Diversity (CBED) award, was named as BWN's 2010 Woman of Distinction award and one of Maryland's 2010 Top 100 Minority Business Enterprises by The Center for Business Inclusion & Diversity Inc.

Marian Berman, Communications Co-Chair

Armed with a degree in English and the cockiness of a twenty-two year old, Marian Berman bought an art gallery that she found for sale in the classifieds and thus began a thirty-nine year love affair with both her profession and the community.

Having been raised in a culture of community service and philanthropy, she included the donation of the equivalent of ten percent of her gross profits to the community as part of her business plan. But that didn't feel like enough. So, in 2001, she joined the board of Historic Ellicott City. The next year, she left that board and served on the board of Success in Style, an organization that provides work attire and counseling to disadvantaged men and women in the community. In 2008, she was elected chair of the board. She also volunteers in their closet.

Because of her lifelong love of children, she became a board member of Bright Minds Foundation to help further their mission to bring equity, lifelong learning, and education innovation to the Howard County public school system.

Then, when she met Shari Hammond and Karen Pitsley and learned the horrific statistics of child sexual abuse, she felt she had no choice but to join that board and work with them to obliterate that heinous mistreatment of children.

Marian is considered a leading industry expert and she has been a contributor to Art World News and Better Homes and Gardens. She guest lectures at Howard community college and Johns Hopkins University. Her gallery, Gallery 44, won Best of Howard County ten times and she is a graduate of Leadership Howard County. Marian is married with two daughters and two grandchildren.

Duane Carey, Communications Co-Chair

Duane is the owner of IMPACT Marketing & Public Relations, a 21-year old strategic communications company. He is the Chair of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce, serves on the board of the Howard County General Hospital Foundation, and is involved in many other community projects. He and his associates have won a multitude of marketing, public relations, and graphic design awards.

Duane's family has experienced the devastating effects of child sex abuse. Unable to make the damage or pain go away for his loved ones, he felt like a helpless bystander, so he jumped at the chance to help prevent and bring awareness to this horrible epidemic. Helping his friend Shari was a great way to feel like he could contribute positively to the cause.

He is an avid football fan who also enjoys food, wine, playing guitar, and singing. He also claims to have the three greatest kids in the whole world.