Board Members

Jennifer and Jody Scharfenstein – Savannah’s parents, Co-Founders, Executive Director

Jody and I are the blessed parents of Kayla, Savannah, Grace and Madison.  We never would have thought that we would lose one of them.  We are the co-founders of Savannah Smiles and I, Jennifer, am the Director of the organization.  We love the Lord and have always taught our girls the same.  Savannah’s death was the greatest test of our faith but as God held us through this tragedy, we began to see His plan for us to help others who would experience this same pain.  I have always been a stay at home mom, homeschooling my girls for the first years of their lives and being the helper to my husband I was designed to be. I love those jobs!!  I am also a local consultant for a dual marketing company.  Jody worked for a ship assist company for 18 years and is now is the administrator for our local church.  He is a huge part of organizing and running Savannah Smiles fundraising events.  My main job with this ministry is to take the weekly calls from families who need our help.  He and I both oversee the operations of Savannah Manor and I assist in the planning of Camp Savannah. There’s nothing better than being right in the center of God’s plan, even if it’s hard!

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Tim and Julie Walker – President and Director of Baton Rouge Office

It has been an honor to be a part of the Savannah Smiles Board of Directors from the beginning.  My family and I love Savannah and her family. It is out of this deep love for them and God, that I have been dedicated to Savannah Smiles and its various ministries that help hurting and grieving families. Savannah Smiles has helped over 1,200 families with burial expenses for their beloved children. What an honor to be able to help so many. Currently, I have the distinct privilege to lead Savannah Smiles as president of the board.

I am a Director of Engineering and Reliability for John H. Carter, Company, headquartered in Baton Rouge. I have been with this company for six years but have been in the oil field for over twenty-five years. Savannah Smiles helps families all over south Louisiana.  Baton Rouge is one of the major areas for donations for funeral expenses. Also, I serve in different ways at my local church in Baton Rouge. It is my great privilege to serve the Lord through Savannah Smiles.

Kayla Alford – Treasurer and Savannah’s older sister

My name is Kayla Alford and I am Savannah’s older sister. As you might guess, I have been involved with Savannah Smiles since its inception in 2007 when I was just 13 years old. It has been such a blessing to grow up and watch my parents allow the Lord to transform a devastating, life-changing loss, into a God-glorifying, people-loving ministry. My husband and I live in Hattiesburg, MS where I am a CPA currently serving as an auditor for a public accounting firm. Since God has given me a head for numbers, I am so excited to use this gift to serve Him and hurting families as the Treasurer of Savannah Smiles.

Gary LaFollette – Board Member

I am new to the Savannah Smiles family, but have known of its wonderful reputation for helping people for many years through my time at First Baptist Church Slidell.  What I admire most about this ministry is that it seeks to stand beside those hurting often in the darkest of places. Experiencing loss is often lonely and it is in those seasons that we need direction to true comfort.   This ministry introduces families to the Word and at the same time is a beautiful example of how the Word becomes a loving and caring force for healing.  My wife and I feel blessed to be a part of Savannah Manor and are excited to see how God works in the lives of the families that call it home for a season.  Many years ago, a minister came to me in my own despair and poverty.  He spoke words of hope into my life… told me that my situation was not my destination, that where I was at that point was not where I would end…. A hope and a future awaits…. This, I believe is the message and ministry of Savannah Smiles.

Carl Fredericks – Board Member

I have been involved with Savannah Smiles as an original board member since the foundation’s inception in 2007. I served for 3 years then rolled off but continued to participate in fund raisers and events.

I have been inspired by the life and legacy of Savannah so much so that I am writing a novel and screenplay about an adventure searching for treasure that incorporates many aspects of Savannah’s life into the story.

I have worked as a Case Manager for almost two decades for STARC helping families with special needs adults with one-on-one services, funding and support.

I am very active with church activities serving as a deacon, Sunday school teacher and hurricane relief.

I love playing and coaching sports like basketball, baseball, volleyball and golf.

I, my wife Maggie and our five children have been active supporters of Savannah Smiles by collecting toys and distributing food baskets for families in need. Our children were close friends with Savannah and they were often found riding bikes, swimming and doing bible study together.  I have a new grandson; Chandler, and I can’t wait to share Savannah Smiles with him as well.

John Scholtens – Board Member

I am new to the board of Savannah Smiles but not at all new to the ministry.  My wife Margie and I met Savannah and her family at church many years ago and have grown to love them and how they live for our Lord. The way this ministry operates and impacts hurting families is something that inspires others to help and shows hurting families that Gods love will help in ways that pass understanding in the most difficult of times. We have sincerely supported this ministry since the beginning. I am a retired sales professional and spend more of my time serving others as I have done since surrendering my life to Christ in March of 1991. My wife and I love traveling and my hobbies are golf and finding new and interesting trails for our jeep.

Eric and Kara Hammond – Resident Managers at Savannah Manor

I am new to the Savannah Smiles family, but have known of its wonderful reputation for helping people for many years through my time at First Baptist Church Slidell.  What I admire most about this ministry is that it seeks to stand beside those hurting often in the darkest of places. Experiencing loss is often lonely and it is in those seasons that we need direction to true comfort.   This ministry introduces families to the Word and at the same time is a beautiful example of how the Word becomes a loving and caring force for healing.  My wife and I feel blessed to be a part of Savannah Manor and are excited to see how God works in the lives of the families that call it home for a season.  Many years ago, a minister came to me in my own despair and poverty.  He spoke words of hope into my life… told me that my situation was not my destination, that where I was at that point was not where I would end…. A hope and a future awaits…. This, I believe is the message and ministry of Savannah Smiles.