Jennifer Kaplan, PhD, LICSW, Fellow in Thanatology – Founding Director
Jenny was awarded the second annual Excellence in Service Award at the 2018 Symposium for the National Alliance for Grieving Children. She is the Founding Director of Jeff’s Place Children’s Bereavement Center, Inc., serving all of MetroWest, FRIENDS WAY in Rhode Island, and Founding Clinical Director Experience Camps, week long overnight camps for grieving boys and girls in California, Georgia, Maine and New York. Jennifer has worked extensively with bereaved children, teens and families in various settings over the past 25 years providing counseling, professional training and education, and crisis response. Jennifer’s publications include: You Are Not Alone: Young Adults Coping With Death, book chapters, and peer-revised journal articles. She is a graduate of Simmons College School of Social Work in Boston, where she has taught as an adjunct faculty member. Jennifer’s dissertation was testing the psychometric properties of the Inventory of Youth Adaptation to Loss (IYAL), an outcome instrument she developed through the support and collaboration of many children’s bereavement programs around the country and Canada.
Elyse Hyman – Director of Development
Elyse Hyman joined the Jeff’s Place team in October, 2021. Elyse comes with over 30 years of non profit experience serving in numerous roles. She was the Executive Director of a synagogue in Newton for a number of years, a major gifts officer at Jewish Big Brother Big Sister and most recently was the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire. Elyse is the new Director of Development and will be helping Jeff’s Place continue to raise the funds needed as the agency continues to grow.
Melissa Kennedy Panto, LMHC, ATR, CT – Clinical Director
Melissa received her master’s degree at Lesley University and is a licensed mental health counselor and registered art therapist. She coordinates and implements all programming activities at Jeff’s Place, including volunteer facilitator trainings and supervision of clinical internships. She has spent her professional career working with children, teens and adults, both individually and in groups, who have experienced trauma. She uses art as a healing tool for others to explore, express, and empower.
Cameron Burke, MA – Program Coordinator
Cameron earned his Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University. In his role, he assists the Clinical Director in planning, managing, and supervising all clinical aspects of Jeff’s Place, he also oversees program intakes as an initial touch point for new families. Prior to Jeff’s Place he worked with children, adults with developmental disabilities, and elders with various dementias. Cameron uses music, play, movement, poetry, and visual art to augment his work.
Jenny Silverberg, MA – Clinician
Jenny holds a Master’s Degree from Lesley University in Expressive Arts Therapy with a specialization in Dance/Movement Therapy. With a history of working in a trauma based program, Jenny is experienced in individual and group therapy, trauma informed yoga, and integrating mindfulness into everyday life. She has used these modalities with children, teens, adults and elders. She believes that we already have everything we need inside of us to heal, and utilizes the wisdom of the body and nonverbal communication to empower from within.
Robby Auld – Clinical Intern
Robby is a graduate student at Lesley University currently in their final year of pursuing an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy. Their previous internships involved working with older adults at a Council on Aging and working with adolescents at a creative writing center. As a writer, musician, and dancer in their own creative practice, Robby believes deeply in the potential for meaning-making and healing within all art forms. Robby is thrilled to be joining the team at Jeff’s Place and looks forward to all this year will bring!
Sophie McConkie – Clinical Intern
Sophie is in her second year of graduate work towards a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy at Lesley University. After receiving her BFA in theatre, she worked in a variety of settings – including teaching elementary-aged art classes, facilitating art with movement and music sessions for toddlers and managing a youth theatre program. Describing herself as a jack of all trades, Sophie has experience with and curiosity towards theatre, music, movement, visual art, poetry and storytelling. Her personal experiences at the intersection of art making and mental health brought her to her current studies and she hopes to continue to explore how expressive and creative play can facilitate healing. Sophie is honored to join the community at Jeff’s Place and looks forward to the year ahead!
To connect with any of our team directly, please contact us here.