Love Like Jackson was established after the death of Ivan's big brother, Jackson. Play therapy was pivotal in Ivan's life after his family was devastated by the loss of Jackson. Jackson and Ivan's mommy wanted to make therapy available to children whose lives have been turned upside down by the devastating loss of a sibling.
We provide resources to families who have experienced loss so that those families can help their children through the experience with as little lasting trauma as possible.
Resources to Grieving Families
Carrie Schmitt B.A. Psychology/Sociology
Carrie Schmitt spent her entire career in Social Services working with people with disabilities. She graduated from Maryville University with a degree in Psychology/Sociology. She brings 18 years of experience working in non-profit and enjoys helping people so much that she recently carried a surrogate child. She is a very active volunteer at her church, as a volunteer coordinator at her son’s school and helped weekly in her son’s classroom. She has been an active volunteer with St. Baldricks for 5 years raising funds and awareness for childhood cancer research.
Carrie has been married to her husband Mike for 10 years. In the most recent years, she has been working at home taking care of her 2 boys, Jackson and Ivan. Her life changed dramatically when her 7 year old son Jackson died suddenly of cancer. She made a conscious decision to ensure that her son’s legacy lived on and she spearheaded many events to involve her community in raising funds and awareness for the disease that took her son. She has blogged about her experience in hopes that sharing will help others as they grieve the loss of their child. She documents what life is like parenting her young son while grieving her other son.
She coordinated the 1st Annual Team Jackson head-shaving event in which 73 people shaved their head and raised $79,000. She has chosen to channel her grief for good and help others. She has established a 501c3 called “Love Like Jackson” in which she plans to help children whose siblings have died by funding play therapy and distributing a book written for her son but will help young children in similar situations.
Melissa Smith -MSOT, OTR/L
Melissa is a registered and licensed Occupational Therapist with a passion for helping others. She graduated with a master’s degree from Washington University School of Medicine, Program in Occupational Therapy and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from McKendree University. Melissa brings 15 years of non-profit experience with management, operations, marketing, finance, fundraising, outcomes measures, and reporting. She enjoys working with people to achieve their goals and live their best life through choice, satisfaction, and independence. She is currently the Associate Director of Care Services with the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter. When she isn’t working, Melissa is keeping up with her very active 4 and 6-year-old boys, enjoys organizing life in her planner, crafting, and watching Fixer Upper.
I'm a social worker, by both profession and temperament. In the past 30 years, I've worked in adoption, disability services, criminal justice and child protective services. It's been a journey! I'm currently the Advocacy Coordinator at the Delta Center for Independent Living, helping people with disabilities navigate the systems they need to live their best lives. I'm also a coach and course leader for Your Infinite Life Training and Coaching Company. I teach a course called Freedom To Be, which has helped me to become a better social worker, friend, partner and mother.
Much love and many thanks to my husband, Ndu, who taught me there is always room for love. Together we raised two brilliant and beautiful children, Duke and Sofi, who bring tremendous pride and joy to their families in both America and Nigeria. I am blessed beyond measure.
Alyssa graduated with a Bachelors of Social Work from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois. She has always been a social worker at heart and at a very young age she began volunteering her time at various organizations. Professionally, she has worked with non-profits for 10 years in a variety of capacities including case management, staff management, payroll, and administrative roles. She enjoys working with people and helping them to live their best lives in happy, healthy, and constructive ways. When she is not working, Alyssa loves to spend quality time with her family and friends. Her preschooler is the light of her life! She loves to experience different cultures and to be exposed to new ideas; she hopes to instill a love of learning and personal growth in her son. She is also an avid photographer and can often be found with her camera in hand.
Grant Ezell is a Volunteer Coordinator with Stray Rescue of St. Louis where he supervises volunteer training, volunteer duties at the shelter, it’s resale shop, and in the community, he also staffs animal adoption events and fundraisers. Previously, Grant worked as a Quality Assurance Manager and Specialist in the Consumer Directed Services program at Paraquad Inc, a Center for Independ Living for the disability community. Prior to that he worked as an International Flight Attendant and Flight Service Manager at Trans World Airlines and as a Flight Attendant at American Airlines. He spends his free time volunteering, working on his historical home in Benton Park, gardening, traveling the world as much as possible, kayaking and trying to be the human his 3 rescue dogs and surly cat think he is. Per Grant, “I am so honored to be a founding board member for the Love Like Jackson Foundation, Jackson had an endless well of love and kindness for others, I believe his spirit lives on, and with your help so will his compassion.”
Nancy B. McGuire-SC, EC, EMC
Nancy McGuire brings decades of community service to the Love Like Jackson Board.
Her work experience includes 35+ years as a Flight Attendant, Flight Service Manager, Director of Training, Policy and Procedures for Trans World Airlines and American Airlines. She has also worked for Legal Aid of Western Missouri and most recently spent 13 years as a Supervisor at Paraquad Center for Independent Living.
Nancy has been a member of the Junior League of Los Angeles, New York City and Kansas City Missouri. She is also a founding board member of TWA We Care and The Bi State Pet Food Pantry. (both 501c3) Nancy spent years involved in her children's school and sports activities and served on the Pattonville High School Advisory Board.
Nancy is originally from Lexington, Virginia and attended Hollins University and Virginia Military Institute. She studied in Buenos Aires and London and has lived in Newark, Los Angeles, New York, Kansas City and currently in Bridgeton, Mo.