“Good gravy,” “Good luck,” “Good gracious” and the familiar “Good Grief” are well-known words of exclamation. But Good Grief of Northwest Ohio is putting the “good” in grief. Without minimizing the heartache after the death of a loved one, whether they are a parent, sibling or grandparent, the organization offers “a safe, healing environment where people of all ages come together to comfort, grieve and support each other,” according to Dorothy Mockensturm, managing director. Good Grief of Northwest Ohio, located at 7015 Spring Meadows Drive West, Suite 201 in Holland, OH, was incorporated and received a 501(c) 3 designation as a nonprofit organization and began working with families in 2013. Mockensturm joins Shanon Bostater, program director, and Patricia Czerminski, office manager, in fulfilling the group’s mission to “provide support for children, teens, young adults, and their families, who have experienced the death of someone significant in their lives.”
Programs to deal with loss
According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, a database of the National Institutes of Health, an estimated “5 percent of children in the United States– 1.5 million– lose one or both parents by age 15,” so programs such as Good Grief are vital in dealing with bereavement. Although “our program is specifically for the kids, we also support the adults that are caring for those kids,” said Mockensturm. Currently working with approximately 60 individuals, the program also assists grandparents who are helping their grandchildren cope with the death of a parent, providing much-needed support for adult caregivers over the age of 50. Because Good Grief is free and open-ended, “the families decide when they want to start with us and close from our services,” said Mockensturm. Trained facilitators lead age-appropriate peer groups that encourage children to convey their thoughts and emotions using various activities to include music, art, play and journaling. Bostater, who holds a master’s degree in art therapy in clinical counseling, said, “As soon as I came in here and saw the facility and met Dorothy and I found out about their mission, it was an excellent opportunity to be involved in something that is so much bigger than so many of us.”
Helpful for adults, too
One of the benefits of supporting a child or teen in the program is that it allows the adult parent/caregiver the opportunity to attend their own grief support group meetings while kids’ groups are in session.“When a grandparent becomes a caregiver– due to the death of a child’s parent, the adult is not only dealing with their own grief, but also left to help the grandkids cope as well,” Bostater said. Sustained solely through tax-deductible donations, Good Grief of Northwest Ohio does not receive government funding, Mockensturm said. To contact Good Grief call 419-360-4939 or e-mail Dorothy@goodgriefnwo.org or visit its website, goodgriefnwo.org/contact.
The public is invited to learn more about Good Grief of Northwest Ohio by attending the Good Grief facility’s monthly Tour of the Heart Open House. The next tour is Thursday, June 15, Noon-1pm.