The Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre staff have extensive experience in supporting children, youth and their families through dying and death. Their backgrounds include social work, counselling, expressive art therapy, child development and child life studies.
Sarah Henderson - Executive Director
Sarah has been a counsellor with the program since 2010. Sarah holds a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology and has been working with children, youth and families facing issues of illness and loss in various hospital, mental health and community-based settings for the past 13 years. Sarah is dedicated to building the capacity of individuals and communities to better understand and respond to the unique needs of grieving children and youth.
Colleen Mousseau - Grief Counsellor
Colleen recently completed a Master of Education in Counselling Psychology through the University of Toronto. She has been working with children, teens and their families through children’s mental health and family service agencies across Southern Ontario for over 12 years. She is passionate about helping others. She works through an integrated approach of cognitive, behavioral and expressive arts therapies supporting groups and individuals, including those who have been victims of violent crimes and survivors of trauma.
Tara Noble - Grief Counsellor
Tara Noble, MSW, RSW, holds a Master of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University and has over 17 years' experience working with children and families in children’s mental health, child protection and family law agencies. Throughout her career, Tara has provided parenting assessments and counselling for children and families experiencing a variety of challenges such as relationship ruptures, loss and trauma. Through the lens of attachment and a family systems approach, Tara has sought to empower individuals to move toward healthy coping strategies and positive change. Tara brings compassion and dedication to the individuals she works with, while continuing to promote capacity within the larger community to assist children.
Lysa Toye - Grief Counsellor
Lysa is an Expressive Arts Therapist and Master's-trained Social Worker with a collaborative certificate in palliative and supportive care. She has worked in community and hospital pediatric and adult health, mental health and palliative care settings for over a decade. Lysa worked with the Centre from 2007-2010 and returned in 2012, splitting her time between the Centre and private practice. She is passionate about supporting children, youth and families living with grief and trauma to grieve, grow and give voice to their experiences through mindful creativity, art, ritual and the natural world.
Heather O’Brien - Grief Counsellor (currently on leave)
Heather graduated in 2001 and has worked in child and adolescent mental health in a number of different settings. She has worked as one of our grief counsellors since 2008. She developed a child and adolescent bereavement course for George Brown College and was awarded the Golda Fine Award in 2013 to study Dignity Therapy.
Ceilidh Eaton Russell - Researcher and Evaluator
Ceilidh graduated from the Child Life Program at McMaster University in 2001 and earned a Master of Science from the University of Guelph’s Family Relations and Human Development in 2013. She has been a counsellor with the program since its inception in 2006. She also conducts research with the Brain Tumour Program at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, exploring family interactions with seriously ill children.
Ariel Shneer - Development and Marketing Manager
Ariel joined the team in June 2016, as Development and Marketing Manager. Her passion for fundraising began while she was attending Western University, working fundraising for the school. At The Dr. Jay Children's Grief Centre, Ariel oversees the fundraising program and its strategic direction. She is responsible for developing, supporting, and ensuring the successful development of annual revenue. From soliciting and stewarding major donors, to planning and executing events, Ariel has experience in many different aspects of fundraising. Ariel also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Ben and Hilda Katz Charitable Foundation. She is excited to help make a difference in the lives of many children and their families, and is thrilled to be part of the team at The Dr. Jay Children's Grief Centre.
Becka Soyka - Intake, Volunteer, and Special Events Coordinator
Becka joined our team in early 2016. She has spent the last 20 years moving between the field of childcare and the world of medicine, working as a daycare teacher/supervisor, medical secretary, live-in nanny, ICU ward clerk, and camp counsellor. Becka also spent many years volunteering with local children’s programs and travelling the world aboard a cruise ship! Her love of children, background in medical administration and a passion for helping others makes her a welcome addition to our team.
Alice Tringham - Operations Administrator
Alice joined the team at Dr Jay Children’s Grief Centre in August 2016 as Operations Administrator. She began her career in London, England working in the Mental Health Sector with young adults. After immigrating to Toronto, Alice branched out into administration in educational settings with children and young adults, including the University of Toronto and Upper Canada College. Alice is responsible for all the operational aspects of running a thriving organization, creating streamlined processes and systems and ensuring that the Centre runs smoothly each and every day.