​Congratulations Columbia on being named a Reader's Digest


Kindness Changes Everything

Mary Druce

Accountant and Business Owner

Anne S. Deaton, President Emeritus
Retired Director of Missouri's Division of Developmental Disabilities

As a mother, designer and educator, my central thread has always been children.
Children's Grove has ignited my own self awareness to be more observant, involved and proactive in activities that raise awareness about youth-related mental and emotional issues.
I am grateful and humbled to share my creative gifts with Children's Grove programs, particularly the art and photo contest. It has enriched me as a person.
Kindness is the root of our inner being. It is felt by all, regardless of your age, race, religion or culture.

My involvement with the Children’s Grove and the Putting Kids First initiatives has truly inspired me to further kindness, inclusion, and diversity efforts. I believe that kindness creates community, and the Children’s Grove is helping to create a positive and powerful community. After all, a single act of kindness is completely free and easy to pass on, and is very accessible to everyone. The impact of Children’s Grove’s behavioral health initiatives is enormous and continues to make change for the better. Through my son Yash Pal Khanna, a Founding Youth Kindness Ambassador, I can see the difference Children’s Grove has made in our youth and our adults. 

We need new ideas and new ways of approaching one another with much more empathy, understanding and inclusivity. I’ve been passionate about finding some new ways, through the Children’s Grove emphasis on the arts, to create opportunities where kids and adults can make art for their own realizations, but always through the lens of kindness.  As we express through that lens, we find the best of who we are at the core, and are able to share it with one another, growing a new social paradigm of well-being for our community.

Joyce Smith
Interior & Floral Designer 
Community Volunteer 

It is our responsibility as adults to create and maintain a safe and peaceful world for children and young adults to live in, play, sing, grow, and explore their interests and talents.  I strongly support the Children's Grove's work to increase kindness in the world and to improve child and youth mental health.

Vinita Khanna

Licensed Professional Counselor

Judith LeFevre
Retired Public School Teacher & Studio Musician

​​​​After retiring, I was invited by a friend to become involved with Children's Grove.  Since joining the team, I have been inspired by the compassion for children's health and happiness that I see in our work together. We all know that kindness creates community, and Children's Grove gives me the opportunity to promote more kindness in our world. 

Kindness is a gift that every individual can afford to give – even if it is just a smile. The best part of kindness is that it is a gift that can keep giving. What a privilege it is to volunteer with Children’s Grove - a non-profit organization with the mission of growing kindness - especially with our youth. Children’s Grove spoke to my heart when I was looking for an organization on which to volunteer. 

Kim Dude-Lammy, President

Honorary Board of Directors

I believe that the value of kindness is the core of the Golden Rule to treat others as one would like to be treated and should be fostered by every means.  The Children’s Grove is one of these means as it actively works to promote the value of kindness as well as acts and expressions of kindness in the community.   

I recently retired from the University of Missouri where I worked for 38 years and was the Director of the Wellness Resource Center, the campus prevention office.  I loved my job and was very worried about how I would find fulfillment in retirement.  I have found the perfect organization with the Children’s Grove.  I have a passion to change the world.  I am a strong believer in kindness and civility.  I am so happy I found the Children’s Grove.

Through the power of kindness, Children’s Grove builds mental and emotional health among youth. Through action, education, the arts, and symbols throughout our community, we are raising awareness of the needs of youth in Boone County and promoting public education on behavioral health. This vision and commitment motivate us all to act upon the belief that:
"A single act of kindness can change a life forever" 

I am enormously inspired by the diverse and growing number of members of all ages in our community who are responding to Children's Grove activities designed to unleash the transformative power of kindness, one person to another.  And I am deeply grateful for Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings that provide knowledge about the signs of emotional and mental stress in our youth so that we adults might respond in a helpful way.   I truly believe the Children's Grove is a great volunteer opportunity that keeps on giving in ways that can change a life forever.

​Lisa Fritsche

Retired Religious Education Director, Unitarian Universalist Church

​Community Volunteer

Judy Snyder


Susan Currier

Volunteer Coordinator

I am a long time Columbia resident, graduate of the University of Missouri, CPA, recently retired from 30+ years of tax accounting at Williams Keepers, mother and grandmother, supporter of Children’s Grove and its mission.

Pete Millier

Director of Campus Facilities-Landscape Service

​Mizzou Botanic Garden, University of Missouri-Columbia

Melissa Holyoak

James Melton

Rose Porter

Sharon Thomas-Parks

​​Robin Wenneker

Susan Heinsz


Board of Directors