Our Story

Our Story – About

Good Grief of Northwest Ohio provides a safe, healing place to
gather, grieve, receive and share support.

It is Good Grief’s mission to create awareness of and support for grieving children and their families and to provide a safe and caring place for children to explore, express, and come to an understanding of thoughts, fears, questions, and emotions associated with grief and loss. It is our goal to help them find their way to a new reality of life ─ a livable life ─ after the death of someone they love.

Grief support sessions ─ peer support groups divided by age ─ are led by trained volunteer Support Group Facilitators who encourage children ages 4-18 and their caregivers; and young adults ages 19-24 to express their thoughts and feelings through music, play, art, journal writing, and other activities.

Good Grief’s programming is open-ended, which means families decide for themselves when they will start attending and when they are ready to close (stop attending groups).

Good Grief peer support groups are not professional therapy or counseling sessions. Our trained facilitators do not give advice or try to “fix” the problem. Grief support is provided by peers – people who are living through a similar circumstance. Peers listen and help support one another.  Research shows this is a very effective approach to helping people of all ages, but particularly children, teens, and young adults, coping with grief.

Parents/caregivers may attend their own grief support group meetings while the kids’ groups are in session, giving them an opportunity to share and learn ways to help their children, as well as process their own grief.

Our program season loosely follows the public-school calendar with programming every other week August through June. We take a 6-week break in the summer months so that families and volunteers can enjoy free time. We know grief doesn’t take the summer off, so if kids and families would like additional support, we’re only a phone call away. The office is open year-round.

Good Grief hosts a three-day summer day camp each year. Kids who are already participating, as well as kids who are new to Good Grief are welcome.  We also meet for family activities like a day at The Toledo Zoo, or a movie night at Good Grief. These are fun ways for groups to stay in touch during the summer.

There is never a charge for our services, and families decide how long they attend sessions.

Supported 100% through Charitable Gifts

Support for these free programs comes entirely through gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations. Good Grief is the only 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Northwest Ohio whose focus is childhood grief. We receive no government funds and no insurance reimbursements. For more information on how you can support Good Grief, please visit our Donate page.

Sustained by Volunteers

Other than a small number of professional staff, programs are led by our trained volunteers. These men and women donate their time and considerable talents to the children and teens of Good Grief. For more information on becoming a volunteer, please visit our Volunteer page.

RESEARCH

  • A national study by the New York Life Insurance Company in 2009, showed that one in five young people will experience the death of a parent or a sibling before they reach 19.
  • In NW Ohio alone, that equals over 35,000 children.
  • Classroom teachers report that students who have lost a parent or guardian typically exhibit difficulty concentrating in class, withdrawal/disengagement and less class participation, absenteeism, decrease in quality of work, and less reliability in turning in assignments.
  • Unaddressed childhood grief often results in problems into adulthood with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and risk of suicide.
  • Research conducted at the University of Arizona followed over 200 parentally bereaved children.  Many of those 200, were showing fewer signs of negative behaviors with fewer problems adjusting to life after a parent had died.  The children who were having less difficulty adjusting to life after the death, reported two factors that helped them:
    1. Having opportunities to express their feelings, thoughts, fears and emotions; and,
    2. Feeling that they were truly heard and understood when they talked about how they felt about the death, and about the person who died.