LUBBOCK, TX, December 1, 2023- With nominations coming from across the nation and following an election by the membership of the organization, the National Alliance for Children’s Grief (NACG) are pleased to announce that its membership and Board of Directors have elected Kevin Carter, Lindsey Whissel Fenton, Cathy Fox, Annette R. March-Grier, Debbie Meyer, and Leila W. Salisbury, as members of the Board of Directors for the National Alliance for Children’s Grief. Their three-year term of service begins on January 1, 2024. The National Alliance for Children’s Grief is honored to have Kevin, Lindsey, Cathy, Annette, Debbie, and Leila join our mission of serving bereaved children and their families and helping ensure that no child grieves alone
Kevin Carter, MSW, LCSW
For the past 40 years, Kevin has spent his career working in several formal and informal capacities focused on helping families heal after facing a traumatic event in life. Kevin has worked in a range of human service and academic institutions across the country and is a highly respected and nationally known clinician, administrator, and educator. This long-spanning career in service, combined with his natural lived experience in service, has allowed Kevin to develop a perspective that very few practitioners can obtain.
Kevin has a strong belief that his approach to accomplishing his established goals starts with examining the impact of childhood loss and grief experiences from the lens of his psychosocial development as an African American male growing up in the South and as a social work practitioner. Kevin believes that despite growth in understanding African American grief, there is a need for developing approaches to education and intervention that inspire hope and courage to make a change. He further believes that the emphasis on perceived pathology and the problem-focused approach has led social workers to shy away from advocacy and prosocial approaches to healing in communities of color.
Kevin feels that the clinical field has had a long history of practice with African American individuals, families, and communities who are coping with grief and trauma. A foundational element of this practice is to challenge social injustice. He hopes that his approach to issues through his consulting platform will help participants to develop historical and contemporary frameworks for understanding how African American children and families cope with grief and ongoing injustices related to death, dying and living by exploring systemic and relational approaches that honor the unique cultural and historical experiences of African Americans.
Lindsey Whissel Fenton
Lindsey Whissel Fenton is an Emmy award-winning storyteller who is passionate about using media to build empathy and connection. She currently works as a senior producer and director at the PBS/NPR affiliate station WPSU, where she uses her experience as a creator, outreach strategist, fundraiser, and learning designer to develop and deliver meaningful content to local, regional, and national audiences.
For the past five years, Whissel Fenton has focused her work almost exclusively on projects related to grief awareness and mental health. She produced and directed Speaking Grief, a multiplatform initiative that works to create a more grief-aware society. The initiative received three Emmy® Nominations (Mid-Atlantic Chapter), including one for Interactive Media. Whissel Fenton continues to manage Speaking Grief’s social media presence; to date, @wpsugrief has micro-influencer status on Instagram, with more than 27,000 followers.
Whissel Fenton has presented and served as a panelist on cultivating successful educational outreach and engagement to a variety of media and education organizations, including the National Alliance for Children’s Grief (NACG), the Association for Death Education Counseling (ADEC), the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) Education Foundation, the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), American Public Television (APT), the PBS Annual Meeting, and Comic Con San Diego, among others. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Cinema and Digital Arts from Point Park University and her master’s degree in Learning, Design, and Technology from Penn State.
Whissel Fenton is a dog-mom, an avid reader, and rock climber.
Cathy Fox, MSW
Cathy Fox serves as Assistant Professor and Field Education Director for the Social Work Program at Creighton University. As an alum of the program herself, she enjoys educating and supporting students as they prepare to become future helping professionals. Prior to moving to academia, she served over eight years as the Program Director and Director of Operations at Grief’s Journey, a center for grieving families in Omaha, NE. Her expertise includes social work practice in the field of grief and loss, grounded in trauma, child development, and family systems, with a strong background in mental health, suicide, and nonprofit administration. She formerly served on the Board of Directors for NASW-NE (National Association of Social Workers); is an active member of NASW, NACG Education Committee, Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors (BPD), and Council on Social Work Education (CSWE); and regularly presents at national conferences for these organizations. As a college faculty working with rising professionals, she has a particular interest in self-care, trauma-informed classrooms, and mental health among young adults.
Annette R. March-Grier, RN., C.F.S.P.
Annette R. March-Grier, RN., C.F.S.P., is a native Baltimorean, and Vice President of a family business; March Funeral Homes located in Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia. She is a registered nurse, a mortician and the visionary of Roberta’s House Inc., a non-profit Family Grief Support Center founded in 2007, by the March family in honor of their matriarch, Julia Roberta March. Annette is the President, and has lead the way for grief education and support for grieving children and families in Baltimore for more than 38 years. A teacher, counselor, trainer and leader, with her compassionate staff, provides a safe place for children and adults to heal and recover from the death of someone close. Roberta’s House provides trauma informed care and addresses grief as a public health service through education and over 15 peer support programs. Children, adults, and families suffering the loss or death of a loved one receive support and a safe place to heal and recover. To date Roberta’s House has provided support services to
more than 10,000 children and adults and trained over 800 community volunteers that support their programs. Roberta’s House conducts grief support programs for individuals of all ages and types of death losses as well as professional workshops for the community. It is the first bereavement center to be founded by African Americans in the U.S. to address the inequities for people of color with grief and mental health resources.
In January of 2021, March-Grier fundraised and successfully completed the construction of the first bereavement center in Baltimore Maryland to serve children and families. The center is located on the same landmark that her parents operated the funeral home from 1957-1980. The 22,000 square foot facility is a state of the art bereavement center that is one of a kind in the US to provide bereavement care and counseling for the underserved and people of color.
Annette is a recipient of numerous awards and achievements. She received the National Caring Award in October, 2016 which includes her induction into the Caring Hall of Fame located in the Frederick Douglas Museum on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. In addition, she was selected by CNN, the world leader in news, as one of the top ten CNN heroes, 2014 for changing the world.
Debbie Meyer has extensive background in leading nonprofits as the present executive director for Erin’s House for Grieving Children the past 15 years and, prior to that, the leader of Children’s Hope Hospital Hospitality House. She also spent time as the marketing director for a winning Indianapolis 500 race car driver and has over 20 years’ experience as an executive in corporate marketing.
Debbie is an adjunct professor at Huntington University since 2014 teaching classes in grant writing, nonprofit management, and leadership. Most recently, she participated in the Foellinger Foundation Leadership Lab—a one-year program comprised of twelve Northeast Indiana leaders and designed to develop adaptive leadership skills.
Debbie is proud of her time as former board member and secretary on the executive committee for the National Alliance for Children’s Grief (NACG). She has also served as a board member for Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, Visiting Nurse, and Leadership Fort Wayne.
She has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Indiana Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in nonprofit administration from University of Central Florida—obtaining these while working full-time and raising a family. In April 2021, Debbie became a Certified Leadership Coach through the International Coaching Federation and Certified Coaches Alliance.
In her spare time, she loves to read, travel, cheer on Indiana University basketball and Notre Dame football with her family, and help at her church.
• Fun fact: Erin’s House and Debbie are a featured chapter in American Spirit by Taya Kyle and Jim DeFelice, 2019 – Pages 164-172
Leila W. Salisbury
Leila W. Salisbury is the executive director of The Kentucky Center for Grieving Children and Families (KCGCF), which she founded in 2020. She currently serves on the Membership Committee of the National Alliance for Children’s Grief. She is trained on the Peer Healing Curriculum as part of a pilot program with the University of Chicago Medical School; the KCGCF is one of two pilot sites in the country for this teen-led, evidence-based grief support curriculum. She has also worked as a volunteer with the McClean Fletcher Center (a children’s grief center in Jackson, MS) and raised a grieving child after her husband died when her daughter was 5. Prior to founding the KCGCF, she spent 25 years in scholarly publishing, serving as director of the University Press of Mississippi and the University Press of Kentucky. In these roles, she was also active in the Association of American University Presses, serving on its board of directors and numerous committees. She is a graduate of Davidson College (NC) and has a MA from the University of Kentucky.
About The National Alliance for Children’s Grief (NACG)
The National Alliance for Children’s Grief (NACG) is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the needs of children and teens who are grieving a death and provides education and resources for anyone who supports them. Through the collective voice of our members and partners, we educate, advocate, and raise awareness about childhood bereavement.
The NACG is a nationwide network comprised of professionals, institutions, and volunteers who promote best practices, educational programming, and critical resources to facilitate the mental, emotional, and physical health of grieving children and their families. For more information, visit: www.ChildrenGrieve.org.