SMILE is currently run by the extremely dedicated members of the Board of Directors and volunteer staff.
Kristen Mantlo, Ph.D. MSS (MSW)
I never thought I'd become a social worker, let alone a founder and the Executive Director of a nonprofit.
I went to James Madison University planning to become a writer, either a novelist or journalist. All that changed (along with my major a few times) when I met a social worker at the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters. She opened my eyes to the social work profession, as well as program management, and research.
While in college I came home almost weekly to visit my sister Samantha (yes, THE 'Samantha' in Samantha Makes It a Little Easier) while she was going through cancer treatment. For four years I helped serve as a caregiver and experienced first hand the many challenges a child and their family members experience during various stages of medical care, including the difficulty of funding costly medical equipment. A few days before Sam passed away, she asked me to use the money people raised for her to purchase a quality prosthetic to help children 'like her.'
After completing my Masters of Social Services (MSW) at Bryn Mawr College outside Philadelphia, PA, I returned to Hampton Roads and worked for an international non-profit while founding SMILE with a fantastic group of women. Since SMILE's founding, I have had the opportunity to complete my PhD in Health Service Research at Old Dominion University, focusing my research on young adult survivors of childhood cancer and late effects.
I absolutely love my job and am honored to be able to serve such wonderful children and their families.
A dedicated group of community-minded individuals from various professional backgrounds come together to guide SMILE in it's mission.