Our Staff

Karen Cowan, MSW, LCAS-A

Karen has worked in numerous jobs in her career, giving her a strong background for her role as head of the agency. She was a tech in the Emergency Room at Mission Hospital, a CNA III at Thomas Rehabilitation Hospital, the first African American to work in the County Commissioners Office, and then for County Manager Steve Metcalf who later became a North Carolina State Senator. Karen left the County Manager’s office to take a position at Buncombe County Social Services; she then transferred to the Baby Love Program at the Buncombe County Health Department. She performed duties from clerical to Medicaid transportation, to Maternal and Child Outreach before leaving to take a position at Blue Ridge Mental Health as a Clinical Case Manager. Karen left Blue Ridge Center to become a small business owner and opened up a group home for adolescent boys, later to add foster care and now outpatient therapy. She was also a foster parent for 14 years and is a still currently licensed foster parent.

Karen received an associate degree from AB Tech in Law Enforcement Technology, double majors at Mars Hill College in social work and criminal justice and obtained her Master’s in Social Work at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist Associate. In addition to being the owner/president of the Brandi Nichole Family Enrichment Center, she is also the Clinical Director.

Karen’s Motto:

“One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others.” – Lewis Carroll

photo (2)Jewel Richardson, BA
Licensing Social Worker, Certified MAPP/GPS

Jewel Richardson has been an employee at Brandi Nichole Family Enrichment Center for six years as a Foster Care Specialist and Licensing Social Worker. She is a certified MAPP/GPS (Model Approaches to Partnership in Parenting/Group Preparation and Selection Program) instructor and enjoys teaching new and seasoned foster parents. Jewel graduated from Mars Hill University with a BA in Psychology in 2001. She desires to assist families in being reunited and children returned home to their families and their communities.
Jewel’s Motto:

“My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” – Proverbs 1:10

LaRisha Littlejohn, BA
Foster Care Specialist

LaRisha received her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Mars Hill University in December 2004. Before joining the Brandi Nichole Family Enrichment Center family in 2012, she worked for six years at the University of North Carolina Asheville as a Community Director. LaRisha enjoys the outdoors and spending time with her family. She is a native of WNC and is a mother to a beautiful young girl.>

LaRisha’s Motto:

 “Three things will last forever– faith, hope, and love– and the greatest of these is love”. – 1 Corinthians 13:13


Dayna Guido, MSW, LCSW, ACSW
Clinical Supervisor

Dayna is a Clinical Social Worker with over 33 years of working with individuals, families, and groups. She has been involved in fostering by providing therapy to children and adolescents in foster care; recruiting, licensing, training and supervising foster parents; and clinically supervising foster care staff. Sharing a passion for helping others is an interest Dayna shares with her husband and has truly become her way of life.

Dayna’s Motto:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein