Small Steps in Speech is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. We as an organization, feel passionately in our mission in helping children with communicative disorders be able to take the steps needed to be better communicators. Our board plays an important legal, leadership, fundraising, and ideological role in making our non-profit a success. We would like for the public to get to know a little bit about us and who we are so you can feel connected with us and our mission.


Amanda Charney-Berardi, MA, CCC-SLP
Founder, Director

Amanda started this foundation in memory of her fiancee’ Marc Small just days after he passed serving our nation in Afghanistan. Marc wanted her to start her own private practice once they were married. He came up with the name, “Small Steps in Speech” to represent her last name along with the steps it takes a child with a disability to overcome obstacles. This foundation has brought her hope and allows her to do something positive in Marc’s memory. Reading the hundreds of parent and therapist testimonies of how this organization has improved the life of not only a child but their family gives Amanda a peace that passes understanding since Marc’s passing.

Amanda received her undergraduate degree from Richard Stockton University in Speech and Language Pathology and Audiology and went on to earn her Masters Degree in Communicative Disorders from West Chester University. Her professional career began in a private school for children with Autism. After several years she has since worked in a variety of settings assisting children and adults improve their speech and language.

Amanda has received various awards over the years since the start of SSIS. Teacher of The Year, Winner of the Eagle Rare Life for Courage, The Richard Stockton College Professional Achievement Award, along with publishing various articles within the military and speech and language realm. Amanda stays close with ties to the military along with staying refreshed in her field of Speech Language Pathology. Amanda is eager to see what the future holds for this foundation as she knows it will continue to take small steps while making large gains in the lives of so many.


Mary MacFarland

Mary oversees the financial and administrative matters of the foundation.  Her business experience included Operations Manager for the John James Audubon Society, ownership and operation of a wholesale printing company; and financial management for a software business. In addition, Mary has served the community as a volunteer for the past thirty years in school, athletic, community-based and religious organizations.  Currently she is volunteering for an organization that helps survivors of human trafficking, along with being a member of the Gold Star Mother’s of America.  Mary has volunteered her time honoring the memory of Marc with the Travis Manion Foundation.

Mary is the mother/stepmother of 5 children, including Marc Small who originated the concept for this foundation.  Marc suggested the name “Small Steps in Speech” for Amanda’s work before leaving for active duty in Afghanistan in early 2009.  She has 8 grandchildren that she loves spending time with.

Her charitable work is now devoted to activities that benefit children in Marc’s name; including this foundation, the annual “On Your Marc” 5K run, and the annual Marc J. Small Memorial Soccer Tournament. She enjoys running, biking, kayaking, traveling and spending time with her family and friends.

“The loss of my son has been devastating to me and my family, but this foundation, which is dedicated to Marc’s love of helping children, will keep his memory alive.”


Kim Gray
Kim Gray

Kim joined the Board of directors in January of 2012. She brings with her thirteen years of experience as an accounting professional specializing in financial analysis, establishing accounting functions and systems and best practices. Kim is an active member of her community and is the Tournament Director for the Marc J. Small Memorial Soccer Tournament, as well as coach for youth softball and basketball teams, Treasurer for the Methacton School District Home & School Association and a long time Meals on Wheels volunteer. She received her M.B.A. in Finance from St. Joseph’s University and a B.A. in Accounting from Immaculata University.

As Small Steps in Speech has experienced tremendous growth, we are particularly happy to have Kim join us as Treasurer of the Board of Directors. Her knowledge and skills will help guide the organization through continued growth. Kim has demonstrated a commitment to honoring the memory of Marc Small through the establishment of the Marc J Small Memorial Soccer Tournament and her work with Small Steps in Speech.


Wendy Christie

Wendy joined the SSIS Board in December 2010 and is a member of the Fundraising and Board Development Committees and previously served as Vice President of the Board.  She brings over thirty years of non-profit experience to this board, including the development and execution of a variety of successful fundraising campaigns. She has served as a board member at Lower Providence Community Library, Upper Merion Cultural Center, and Victims Service Center, Norristown.  In addition she was a founding member of two thriving community organizations, Friends of the Library of Lower Providence Community Library and Methacton School District’s Post Prom event. Wendy has a particular interest in and experience with developing processes within the board to promote organizational strength and growth.

Wendy is a Development Officer of the National Audubon Society. Wendy holds a B.A. in Art History from Dickinson College and an M.F.A. in Museology from Syracuse University. 

Allison Wallenhurst

Allison joined the Board of Directors in January of 2012. With over twenty four years experience in an elementary school setting as a teacher and counselor, Allison has a keen understanding of the problem-solving process between various professionals, agencies, parents and children. Allison’s strengths include developing positive relationships and communication. Allison has been employed as an elementary school counselor in a South Jersey elementary school for the past eighteen years. She holds a M.Ed in Elementary School Counseling from West Chester University and a B.A. in Elementary Education from Bloomsburg University.

As a member of the Service Committee, Allison assists in the analysis of applications for Small Steps in Speech. Outside of work and the foundation, Allison enjoys spending time with her two children and husband. She is eager to continue assisting children through Small Steps in Speech.


Tia joined the Board of Directors in June of 2016. She is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).  Tia began working with students with developmental disabilities and autism in 2008. She has been employed as a School Psychologist and BCBA on the Child Study Team in a South Jersey school district since 2012, where she is responsible for identifying and assessing students from preschool – 12th grade with a variety of educational, social/emotional, and behavioral needs. She holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Clinical Psychology and Child Development from Tufts University, as well as an Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology and an advanced graduate studies degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Rowan University.