About Us


It’s Our Little Secret (IOLS) is a non-profit organization comprised of volunteers dedicated to providing a voice to emotionally, physically, and sexually abused children and teens through advocacy, creative expression and various programs. It is IOLS’ mission to promote a healthy recovery for the abused children and youth, and to stop the destructive future behavioral patterns of the abused towards their own and other children.

It’s Our Little Secret’s goal is to make a difference in the lives of the children and youth through our various programs and services. It is our goal that the youth that we serve will learn to love themselves and enjoy life, learn to LIVE and not just survive.

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Non-Profit Status                                                

It’s Our Little Secret is organized as a nonprofit corporation, and operates under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is, therefore, exempt from federal and state income taxes, except as to unrelated business income.

Contributions to It’s Our Little Secret are deductible under section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code. It’s Our Little Secret Inc. Federal Taxpayer I.D. Number is 27-1091802. *990N Submitted for 2009 to 2015

Board of Directors

Kristie Sams, Executive Director

My dedication and passion for IOLS comes not only from my own experiences with abuse but from an innate and moral duty to be a voice for children, teens and adults who have suffered abuse at the hand of someone else.  I have a degree in Finance from DePaul University and own a Full-Service Event Planning Firm.  I believe entrepreneurship and philanthropy go hand and hand and I am very proud to have co-founded IOLS in 2009.

Maebelle Obispo, Executive Director

I have learned how to live not just survive the abuses I endured. I don’t allow it to dictate my life and took control instead of victimizing myself.  For me, it was a couple sentences that my DCFS worker told me, you will one day turn 18 and you will have the choice never to be like your parents. You have the choice. And you can be better. From that point on, after I turned 18, I lived. And as Kristie will attest, we both want to show children and youths that have experienced that same trauma that they do not have to perpetuate the cycle. They too have choices and we believe in them. Just as my DCFS worker believed in me.

Kerri Barber, Executive Director

I am an expert with digital communications and executive coaching with over 15 years of corporate experience working with people from across the globe. I have written for business management magazines and conducted leadership training for varied audiences eager to excel.   I also have a background in graphic design and fine art, creating custom digital and print art to full free-hand murals to suit any style. All this pales in comparison to using these skills to help improve the life of one child. I believe our gifts are nothing if we do not strive to create something that lasts separate and greater than our ego. For me, it is the desire to help give someone hope.

Kara Ash, Executive Director

Kara got her degree in Elementary Education from Southern Illinois University.  She currently works as a computer technician/ trainer for St. Charles school district.  She and her husband, Pat, own a photography business.  She has two children who she admires and adores.  She really wants to make a difference in the lives of children and that has always motivated her.


Erika Martinez, Executive Director

Erika is currently a student at Mchenry County College in Crystal Lake.  Erika really wanted to get more involved with my community, and decided to look into local organizations. “My first day volunteering for IOLS was so inspiring I loved everything that they stand for and what they want to accomplish.  Knowing that beginning a part of IOLS can make a difference is the reason why I keep coming back I want to be able to make a difference.”

Brenda Slavik, Executive Director – Bio to follow.

Danielle Davis-Foster, Executive Director – Bio to follow.

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Program Staff

Kelly Hilton, MA,NCC (Support Group Liaison)                                                

Kelly has a master’s degree in counseling from the University of North Carolina. Kelly has worked as a school counselor at Marian Central Catholic High Scholl for the past three years. Prior to working as a guidance counselor, Kelly was employed at KinderMourn, a non-profit agency in Charlotte, North Carolina. As the children’s program director, Kelly conducted individual counseling sessions and lead structured support groups for grieving children/youth who had experienced the death of a close loved one. Throughout her career, Kelly has worked with children ages 4-18 with a focus on positive decision-making skills.

Aaron Mays, BA (Uh-Uh Play for IOLS)                                                           

Aaron Mays is an up-and-coming Chicago playwright. While attending Northwestern University, Aaron found a passion for theater where three of his plays were produced, two of which he directed. In 2007, he was commissioned to write a new play for Northwestern University’s African American Theater Ensemble, titled “The Street Corner.” Recently, his work has been performed by AstonRep Theater and Dramatist Personae.

Nina Apciauri (Illustrator for You Can Be A Hero Book)

We are currently seeking a Clinician for a Physcho-educational Support Group for Adult Survivors, please contact Kristie Sams-Faulkner at 773.450.9455 if interested.

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