Joy Oesterly has been serving as the Executive Director of Missouri KidsFirst since September 2011. Joy directs all activities of the statewide organization providing support and guidance to multiple programs including the Missouri Network of Child Advocacy Centers, Prevent Child Abuse Missouri. Joy is responsible for directing and coordinating all administrative activities of the organization including, budget, fundraising and grant writing, legislative advocacy, training public awareness and development.
Joy Oesterly joined Missouri KidsFirst in April 2007 as the Prevention Director. Joy was responsible for community-based education. In addition, Joy was responsible for coordinating and promoting all aspects of Prevent Child Abuse Missouri including the Pinwheels for Prevention® campaign, and was responsible for increasing public awareness about child abuse and its prevention through community engagement and use of reframing research. Joy became the Interim Executive Director in March 2011.
Prior to joining Missouri KidsFirst, Joy worked in the injury and violence prevention field for over seven years. Joy worked to integrate injury and violence prevention into adolescent health, women’s health, and school health services as the Injury and Violence Prevention Program Director and Program Director over the School Health Services and Adolescent Health Programs. Joy conducted systems and operations analysis and program evaluation for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. In earlier jobs, Joy worked as an internal auditor for the Missouri Department of Mental Health; Assistant Center Director of Administration for the Missouri Department of Mental Health, Albany Regional Center in Albany, MO; and an auditor for the Missouri State Auditor’s Office. Joy has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, Missouri.
Emily van Schenkhof
Emily van Schenkhof, MPH has been the Deputy Director of Missouri KidsFirst since October 2011. In this position, Emily directs Missouri KidsFirst’s public policy efforts and lobbies for laws and policies that address and prevent child abuse. Before joining Missouri KidsFirst, Emily was the policy specialist for the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. Emily graduated with her Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and has undergraduate degrees in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Missouri. Emily lives in Fulton, MO with her husband, two daughters, dog and two kittens.
Executive Office Administrator
Donna retired from Embarq Telephone Company after 30 years before joining Missouri KidsFirst in January 2009. Donna resides in rural Moniteau County with her husband. Her favorite past time are her 3 daughters, son -in -laws and 3 grandchildren, camping, gardening, reading and the simple life.
SAFE-CARE Program Manager
Jeni Sommerfeld-Sager joined Missouri KidsFirst as a program development specialist in 2016, and now manages the SAFE-CARE program, Missouri’s medical response to child abuse. Her passion for child advocacy and protection stems from her belief that power and privilege come with a responsibility to care for those who are vulnerable. She has a BS in biology, and previously worked as a research technician in a lab studying the biological effects of environmental contaminants. Jeni enjoys good food, being active, spending time in nature, and good conversation (especially about politics and religion). She lives in Columbia with her husband, an artist and gallery owner, and her three energetic sons.
Sara Lee, M.S.
Sara has 17 years of experience in direct service advocacy and support to parents and children in crisis. She began her advocacy work in as a children’s counselor in a domestic violence shelter. She has worked with children and adolescents in residential and day treatment programs as well as providing behavioral support to children and parents as a part of home-based therapy.
She earned her Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling in 2009 and began her work with First Witness Child Advocacy Center in Duluth, MN. As the Family Services Coordinator, Sara created a comprehensive advocacy program to inform, support and give voice to children and their non-offending caregivers during the course of investigation and beyond. She provided community education regarding child sexual victimization, appropriate sexual development and child safety. Sara collaborated with the advocacy team at First Witness to develop and facilitate an advocacy training for advocates working in CACs. Sara provides support to advocates and professionals in the CAC movement across the state of Missouri.
Nate works in both development and communications for Missouri KidsFirst. Prior to Missouri KidsFirst, he worked for the Missouri Department of Insurance and taught Literature and Composition at the University of Missouri while pursuing his PhD. While he is a recovering academic, he still writes literature reviews in his spare time. Right now, his passion is economic studies of early childhood development and education with an emphasis on parental investment. He and his wife Rebecca have three kids, ages six, three, and one. He is an avid but extremely slow runner and most enjoys running with his 6-year-old son. At night when the house is quiet, he enjoys listening to Thelonious Monk records.