David Sternburg – Executive Director
David was most recently the Director of Development and Special Projects for Commonwealth Care Alliance, a 17,000 member non-profit healthcare organization assisting vulnerable populations after he spent six years fundraising and advocating on behalf of people with disabilities as the Director of External Relations with the Boston Center for Independent Living. David was also the Executive Director of Handi Kids (now called The Bridge Center), a therapeutic recreational center for challenged children after spending years as an award-winning filmmaker. David can be reached at

Melissa Kennedy Panto, LMHC, ATR, CT – Clinical Director
Melissa received her master’s degree at Lesley University and is a licensed mental health counselor and registered art therapist. She coordinates and implements all programming activities at Jeff’s Place, including volunteer facilitator trainings and supervision of clinical internships. She has spent her professional career working with children, teens and adults, both individually and in groups, who have experienced trauma. She uses art as a healing tool for others to explore, express, and empower. She can be reached at

Aliya Kleiner, LMHC – Associate Program Director/Clinician
Aliya earned her Master’s Degree in Expressive Therapies and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University in 2013. She has worked with children, adolescents, and adults over the past 8 years.  Aliya incorporates art, music, play, and a lot of humor in her work. She brings with her a sense of warmth, compassion, and optimism and is delighted to a part of the team! She can be reached at

Cameron Burke, MA – Program Coordinator/Clinician

Cameron earned his Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University in 2017. He has worked with children, adults with developmental disabilities, and elders with various dementias. Cameron uses music, play, movement, poetry, and visual art to augment his work and is thrilled to be part of  the Jeff’s Place family. He can be reached at

Jennifer Kaplan, PhD, LICSW, Fellow in Thanatology – Founding Director and Research Director
Jenny is Founding Director for Jeff’s Place Children’s Bereavement Center, Inc., and Clinical Director of Manitou Experience, a weeklong overnight camp for grieving boys. She has worked extensively with bereaved children, teens and families in various settings providing counseling, professional training and education, and crisis intervention regarding issues of grief and loss with youth. Jennifer is the author of Young Adults Coping With Death: You Are Not Alone.  She teaches as an Adjunct Faculty member at Simmons College School of Social Work in Boston and participates on multiple research projects related to childhood health. She has presented at state and national conferences on issues related to childhood loss. In 2011, Jennifer was the recipient of the Graduate Paper Award in memory of Richard Kalish at the International Annual Conference for the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC). She can be reached at

Catherine Johnson, Clinical Intern is currently working on her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and Art Therapy at Lesley University. Catherine has worked primarily with children and teens in palliative care and residential care. She is excited to be a part of the Jeff’s Place team! She can be reached at

Madison Janke, Clinical Intern is pursuing her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Dance/Movement Therapy from Lesley University. She has experience working with children and adults with developmental disabilities and children with different physical abilities. She can be reached at