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.
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.
Director of Public Policy
Jessica Seitz joined Missouri KidsFirst as the Director of Public Policy in 2017 after spending more than six years in federal government relations in Washington, DC. She is responsible for providing leadership for the organization’s state and federal policy work and building and maintaining relationships with lawmakers, government agencies and advocacy partners to advance Missouri KidsFirst’s legislative agenda.
Prior to joining Missouri KidsFirst, Jessica was the Youth Development Policy Specialist for YMCA of the USA where she managed the organization’s national advocacy work on the issues of budget and appropriations, K-12 education, juvenile justice and delinquency prevention and youth violence prevention. She also served on the government relations team for the National PTA where she worked to engage and empower members in political activism. She began her policy career as a lobbyist for the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She has a BA in Politics from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.
Originally from Oklahoma, Jessica lives in St. Louis with her husband Ryan, an attorney and native Missourian. In her free time, she enjoys discussing politics with anyone that will participate and watching as much baseball as possible.