Female Leaders in Childhood Bereavement: Vicki Jay
March 17, 2023
In honor of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting inspiring and passionate women who actively make a difference in the field of childhood bereavement each day. Today, we are honored to highlight Vicki Jay, CEO at National Alliance for Children’s Grief, and her thoughts on her work and the importance of supporting grieving children.
Vicki Jay is recognized for her role in children’s advocacy and her strengths in public speaking and community education.
Fueled by a passion for the field and her dedication and enthusiasm for working with children in need, Jay’s experience, credentials, and energy make her a strong leader and example to others.
Why are you passionate about the field of childhood bereavement?
Children have been at the heart of my work throughout my life, and I believe every child deserves to be supported so they can realize their potential. As a lifelong educator and non-profit leader, I have learned that supporting a child is critical to both their well-being and the adult they will become. The death of an important person can be a life-altering event for a child and divide life into before and after their person died. In my role at the National Alliance for Children’s Grief (NACG), my passion is to make sure they are not alone and that they are supported in this moment of change and in the years that follow. Each and every day, some adult somewhere has the opportunity to positively impact a child’s life and make a difference. I am all in on ensuring those with that opportunity succeed.
What do you think is the most important takeaway from your work in the field and with NACG?
I believe in the power of community and realize the difference we, as a collective, can make in the lives of children and teens as they grow into adulthood. I am honored to lead an alliance whose members work to build resources, provide education, and maintain the highest standards to ensure children have access to the resources and services they need.
The power of an alliance is knowing we are stronger together, and we need to continue to connect the work and unify the field. It is a privilege for NACG to serve as a connector in the network of bereavement professionals and be able to amplify outcomes. NACG needs to continue to support efforts to grow professionals in the field of childhood bereavement and work to retain those who are entering and working in the field. I am continually motivated, knowing that the work will never be done and that there will always be more we can do to recognize that children grieve and need our support. The good news is that I have the privilege of working with others who are passionate and committed as well.
What is your vision for future generations of grieving children?
That NO child grieves alone.
I hope that grief is not only discussed in our society but embraced. Everyone is open to conversations about grief and feels comfortable engaging with others. I hope, as adults, we can become more comfortable with our own understanding of grief, openly model healthy grief, and learn to encourage conversations about grief with our children.
So many have multiple opportunities to intersect with a child who has experienced a death. My vision is that parents are confident and feel equipped, school counselors have training and tools, coaches and program leaders are comfortable with the topic, bereavement centers are embraced for the work they do, and children know they are surrounded by a community of support and abundant resources – ensuring no child grieves alone.