Executive Director Bio:
Our Executive Director is Ann Walker-Smith. She has been with ACTO since 2010. She previously operated a child care center for fourteen years, and then worked as a caregiver with Home Instead. Mrs. Smith has been a caregiver her entire professional life.
Walker-Smith has instituted significant changes during her tenure. She first established regular meals of breakfast and lunch for her clients. Second Harvest contributes provisions for these meals, but Ann and her husband Patrick also keep a garden to help provide fresh vegetables for the ACTO clients. They also have chickens – so the eggs are fresh too!
Another goal was to provide ACTO with a permanent home, although ACTO has been gratefully supported by area churches for twenty-two years. In 2017, ACTO gained a permanent residence at 1207 Williams Street in Valdosta. We are right across from Bazemore-Hyder Stadium here in Valdosta.
Mrs. Smith's goal is to increase care from a three day to a four day program - so that ACTO can provide client services Monday through Thursday each week.
Finally, Walker-Smith is tireless in her fundraising efforts in order to keep ACTO consistently subsidized. The popular Elvis Event, bowling tournament, craft shows and other community events support ACTO and its mission.
Mrs. Smith says, “I won’t get rich but I am always enriched.” Providing respite to caregivers is only part of her mission here at ACTO: “We are the last chapter in the book of our clients. There will not be a chance to re-read this book. That’s what makes this place so rewarding, that’s my blessing.”
Kim Darling Parker