National Students of AMF Welcomes New Executive Director

July 26, 2012: National Students of AMF is pleased to welcome Lauren Moore Kase as our new Executive Director! Lauren comes to AMF from Princeton University where she was the project manager for the Future of Children, a joint project of Princeton and the Brookings Institution, which seeks to translate the best research on child wellbeing for policy makers and practitioners. Prior to that, Lauren directed development for NYU’s Silver School of Social Work, directed development for Hudson Guild, a community center in New York City, and managed the capital campaign at the Juilliard School. She has a B.A. in public policy studies from Duke University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.

Lauren is deeply connected to and inspired by the mission of AMF, in part because she unexpectedly lost her own brother three years ago.

“Losing a loved one changes your life,” she said. “AMF empowers college students to understand that change, find the support they need, and then to grow beyond – to actively move forward – finding positive ways to live their lives and to honor those they’ve lost.”

Grief, and its continued impact, puts college students at risk for a host of mental health, developmental, and academic challenges. Despite a very high prevalence of grieving students (35-48% have experienced the death of a close friend or family member within the last two years), few talk about it. And the stigma that surrounds grief as well as the poor utilization of mental health services on college campuses creates major barriers to students receiving the support that they need.

“Research shows that few college students are comfortable talking about death or are willing to assist their bereaved peers, often because they do not understand how significant, intense, and long-lasting grief can be. National Students of AMF is the only organization that exists to address college student grief,” said David Fajgenbaum, AMF’s founder and board chair. “I’m confident that Lauren’s skill set, as well as her personal connection to the cause, will help us take AMF to the next level.”

And what is the next level?

“The vision for AMF is to have a presence on every college campus nationwide. The bigger vision is to continually find deeper and more constructive ways for students to connect – for college students who are veterans and have lost someone to find one another on a large university campus; for community college students juggling families amidst loss to comfort and help one another so that they can graduate; for students grieving the illness of a parent or the unexpected loss of a sibling to learn from one another and grow together through service,” said Lauren.

“I am looking forward to creating a strong and effective funding structure that will support innovative program development – both on college campuses themselves and virtually. And I am thankful for the strong board and volunteer leadership that will help direct our future plans.”

National Students of AMF will welcome Lauren as Executive Director at the National Conference on College Student Grief on August 3-5, 2012, and she will begin officially on August 13.

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