Our Founder

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Our Founder 2017-02-17T13:07:42+00:00

Sheryl D. Hill is on a mission to help other families avoid the preventable tragedy that struck her family. 

In addition to founding ClearCause Foundation, Sheryl Hill is an award-winning author, a world speaker, and a grief soother.

In addition to founding Depart Smart, Sheryl Hill is an award-winning author, a world speaker, and a grief soother.

When Sheryl Hill’s son Tyler decided he wanted to go on a student trip to Japan, Sheryl and her husband Allen assumed their son would be safe and protected.

Tragically, their futures were forever altered when Tyler – vibrant, athletic, leader and role model -died a preventable death on his People to People Student Ambassador trip to Japan. He was barely sixteen.

Sheryl turned her grief into a mission, and founded the only nonprofit working to protect America’s future leaders on programs abroad with thoughtful policy, education, and awareness.

Sheryl is publicly recognized as an industry expert and world changer. She compassionately serves families whose child’s life-changing experience was a bad one.

“Depart Smart is the most important professional work I have ever done,” says Sheryl. “We MUST succeed. My future, your future, depends on our ability to inform and protect our most valuable treasures, our next generation.”

Sheryl passionately believes every youth and student going abroad on programs must have safe, rewarding experiences in an industry held to the highest standards.

Best Books Award Finalist! USA Book News.

Best Books Award Finalist! USA Book News.

She has been seen in USA Today, Saturday Evening Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, Huffington Post, and more. She pours her time and talent into Depart Smart’s four pillars of strength: Awareness, Tools and Resources, Education and Advocacy in award-winning ways.

Sheryl is proud to attract industry leaders who have helped Depart Smart earn Emmy & Telly awards for public service announcements, Guidestar Partner status for transparency, the first ever state bill to put the “count” in “accountability” – safety reports on programs escorting our kids into foreign country for school credit.

Sheryl is also the mother of Alec Hill, as well as the host mom to eight international youth for more than twelve years. The Hills are proud to share their family with Sari of Finland, Caroline of Sweden, Sylvie of France, Gilly of South Africa, Nikita of Germany, Yusuke of Japan, Roberto of Chile, and João of Brazil. The Hills have been in foreign countries with all of of them. They believe in the value of intercultural experiences.