FOUNDER/CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Lydia has been training dogs professionally for about five years, and training service dogs for three of those years. She’s always been passionate about women’s issues and mental health, and upon starting her dog training journey, she realized that service dogs for PTSD could be much more widely utilized than they were already. As she learned more about path of recovery from sex trafficking and domestic abuse, she decided that service dogs could help survivors heal much more efficiently. She learned how to train service dogs for veterans with PTSD, always with the intention to adapt it for the survivors of abuse since there was currently no organization that had already done so. In addition to her passion for helping survivors of trauma heal, she works with victims of abuse currently in crisis as a Victim Advocate. Through years of studying not only dog training, but also the neurobiology of trauma, adverse trauma reactions such as PTSD, the dynamics of abuse, the dynamics of trafficking, and a plethora of recovery techniques, she founded the Freedom K9 Project as a way to bring all of those things together.
An author and graduate from Kennesaw State University with a BA in English & Professional Communications, McKenna Hight is herself an abuse survivor with years of experience as a writer for others who have suffered trauma. Her fire and passion to help others overcome their demons fuels her desire to see the Freedom K9 Project help as many survivors as possible.
Cody Claborn, though this is his first time on the Board of a nonprofit organization, has almost 2 years of experience working with nonprofits as a Software Engineer at a donor tracking software company. His level head a calm demeanor give him an edge when making critical decisions, and his organizational and technological skills give the Freedom K9 Project that same edge in regards to fundraising and the latest advances in nonprofit technology. In his free time Cody enjoys designing video games, composing music, experimenting in 3D printing, and petting all the dogs he and cats that he can get his hand on.
Lacey Smothers graduated from IUPUI with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Sociology in 2016. Since then she has worked as a Client Success Manager, where she does trainings, coordinates events, and handles the day-to-day affairs of the office as the self-appointed "Office Queen." No matter where she is, Lacey's true passion is to help people. Her fun spirit and honesty uplift the Freedom K9 Project's team as a whole as her generosity and drive makes helping survivors first and foremost as the organization propels forward.