Carolina Youth Development Center Announces Three New Board Members

NOTE: As of Feb. 29, 2024, Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC) has rebranded to Landmarks for Families. Our nonprofit, community programs and residential services remain committed to cultivating thriving youth and families in this new chapter.



November 8, 2018
Contact: Beverly Hardin, Carolina Youth Development Center
Phone: (843) 266-5222

Carolina Youth Development Center Announces Three New Board Members

New board members energize Carolina Youth Development Center’s strategic vision

(North Charleston, SC) Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC) announces the appointment of three new members to the Board of Directors, effective October 1, 2018. 

Joining the Board of Directors are Bess Allen, Merrill Fei and Eric Watson. “All three of our new Board members embody a true spirit of community and bring talent, expertise and energy to the table. We are so fortunate to have them on our team as we continue to serve families and children across the region,” Beverly Hardin, Executive Director.

Ms. Bess Allen is a long-time CYDC supporter and volunteer. She holds a J.D. from the University of South Carolina and boasts a decorated career in policy, law, and advocacy, bringing a passion for youth that spans continents. Bess’ most recent endeavors have focused on the Carolinas, first in Charlotte, NC and now in Charleston where she and her husband Lee are raising their young family and actively impacting their community through philanthropy and leadership. Bess is also a member of Trident United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, the Ellevate Network and Spoleto Scene.

Ms. Merrill Fei holds a BS in Business Management and Marketing from Auburn University and is a long time community leader in the greater Charleston area which she’s called home for 17 years. Merrill’s past endeavors include project management and consulting, as well as several volunteer roles in the community. She currently owns the real estate investing and management group Eildon Group LLC, is on the steering committee for Women United at Trident United Way, and sits on the Advisory Board for Lowcountry Street Grocery. She has already brought dynamic programmatic opportunities to the CYDC campus including nutrition and entrepreneurship opportunities for the residential youth. 

Chief Deputy Eric Watson is a Charleston native and is currently the chief deputy of operations for the Charleston County Sherriff’s Office. Chief Watson’s career spans decades in law enforcement and the military. He hold a BS in Criminal Justice Administration and received several honors as a graduate of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, the FBI National Academy, and the Riley Institute at Furman 


University. Chief Watson is a member of the Charleston County Diversity Committee, Trident Technical College Criminal Justice Advisory Board and a certified peer coach. When Chief Watson is not working he is a sports fan who enjoys spending time in the gym, with his son and with friends. In his new role with CYDC he hopes to add value through mentorship and positive encouragement of all of the youth in CYDC’s programs, using his platform as a career public servant to bring further awareness to the community of organizations like CYDC.

CYDC, originally known as the Charleston Orphan House, has cared for the children of South Carolina since 1790. CYDC is passionate about kids and families and committed to its historical legacy of leading the way for youth in foster care. CYDC’s holistic approach to supporting children, young adults and families set the organization apart; as does the desire to be at the cutting edge of what the community needs.


For more information about the Board of Directors or the work of Carolina Youth Development Center, please contact Kate Buckholz at

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