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Who We Are

Our Family Support Services department is comprised of licensed social workers specializing in helping donor families through the loss of a loved one. Meet our team below.

Lara Moretti, Manager has been working at Gift of Life since April 2003.  She obtained her Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and is both a licensed social worker and a certified thanatologist (the study of death, dying and bereavement). She has seen the Family Support Services department grow and expand in order to continue to provide the best possible care to donor families and recipients. Lara credits much of what she has learned about grief, compassion, strength and growth to the many donor families she has interacted with over the years.  When not at work, Lara serves as chef, chauffeur and social director for her busy family which includes her husband and two children.

Shonda Brinson joined Gift of Life in August of 2019. She earned her Master of Social Work from the University of New England. Prior to joining Gift of Life, Shonda worked as a Life Skills Manager at an agency for the blind and visually impaired. Her interests in the field of grief and loss lead her to two internships at a hospice and an organization for grieving children. These experiences reinforced her passion for helping others and her interest in supporting grieving individuals and families. Shonda looks forward to providing compassionate and personalized care to our donor families. When Shonda is not working, she enjoys spending time with her son, and participating in fitness and art classes offered in the city.

Leslie Coleman has been with Gift of Life Donor Program since 2006, transferring to Family Support Services as Administrative Assistant in 2014. One of the reasons she moved to work within Family Support Services was to be “closer to the mission” of the organization which she achieves daily as she handles the enormous amount of correspondence between donor families and recipients. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband of 30+ years.

Emily Jauregi is a Grief Counselor at Gift of Life Donor ProgramEmily Jauregui joined Gift of Life in April 2017.  She received her Master’s in Community Counseling from the George Washington University.  Prior to Gift of Life, she worked as a hospice bereavement coordinator.  She is excited to be here and is amazed at the grace and selflessness of the donors and their families.  Emily spends her free time with her husband on basketball courts and baseball and football fields watching her three children play.

Jacqui Kates is Senior Support Counselor at Gift of Life Donor Program.Jacquelyn Kates is a licensed social worker and a certified thanatologist. She received her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. She has worked at Gift of Life Donor Program as a Family Support Services Counselor since June 2014. She recently completed an eight-week Mindfulness Stressed Based Reduction Foundation Course at Thomas Jefferson University. Prior to employment at Gift of Life, she worked as a substance abuse counselor at Thomas Jefferson’s Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Program.  Jacquelyn is constantly inspired by the resilience and compassion of donor families and is committed to providing the best care to the families we serve. Outside of work, Jacquelyn lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two cats and enjoys navigating the city’s culinary scene.