Jeff’s Place, is a place where families can come and support eachother as they find a way at their most vulnerable time to cope with the grief that comes with a significant death loss. I see Jeff’s Place as an opportunity to express all the feelings that go with a terrible loss, to be with people who understand and “get it” and a place where people can renew their commitment to keep on keeping on. This is a journey, with good days and heart breaking days but Jeff’s Place is here to help and to let people in their darkest times know they are not alone.
I have been a co-facilitator since Jeff’s Place began 10 years ago, first working with teens and now with a group for parents who have had the unthinkable happen. They have experience the death of their child. But here’s what I experience every time we all meet. For sure there’s sadness and a whole host of other emotions but I also see that in the midst of sometimes overwhelming fragility, there emerges incredible strength and resilience and kindness. I see families support eachother as they begin to find their way to a different life. I see parents reaching out to eachother in group as they tell their stories and share the challenges of putting their lives and their family’s lives back together again.
It’s really the kids and the parents who are the teachers for eachother. Jeff’s Place provides a safe space, a space safe to cry, safe to be angry, safe to grapple with grief and know that everyone else there is going through it with them. They all understand in a way most others can’t and they are there for eachother to support, and empathize and catch eachother when they feel like they might break. It’s a place where they can talk about what it’s like as they go about their lives while trying to hold overwhelming feelings of emptiness, and longing, and loss at bay as they deal with the day to day responsibilities of the world.
So when people ask about Jeff’s Place and what it’s like to volunteer there, I say for me it’s a chance to be part of this rebuilding process and see people who at their most vulnerable reach out for eachother, reach out to eachother and begin to begin again. It is an honor to be part of this journey.
The motto at Jeff’s Place is “Hope grows here,” and after 10 years and many, many families, I truly believe that indeed hope, and strength, and reliance, and love all grow here.
How are children supposed to grow up without a dad? How are MY children supposed to grow up without a dad? How am I going to do THIS without him? We are living this every day and with the help of Jeff's Place we are starting to adjust to our new normal. The environment that Jeff's Place provides is so very important for grieving children and their surviving parents. Spending 2 evenings a month in a clinician driven peer group with other families living the same reality that you are. The staff is amazing and open and professional and honest and caring and compassionate and everything that we need without knowing that we need it. Jeff's Place has been a life changer for us.
I volunteer at Jeff's Place and it is truly a wonderful and unique organization. Families and their grief are held with such care and compassion. The staff works together with the families to meet them where they are at in their own grieving journey. No one's grief looks the same and no one grieves alone at Jeff's Place.
Jeff's Place provides a safe, warm and welcoming space for grieving families with children who have suffered the overwhelming loss of a parent or child. Families come to us frightened, overwhelmed and feeling very alone only to immediately realize that they are surrounded by others who know all too well the pain they are feeling. For many kids, being at Jeff's Place is their favorite place to be because they are not 'that kid whose mom/dad/sibling died'. Our families have a shared experience, and support one another in the most safe and beautiful ways to work toward building a new normal while processing their grief. We believe that the only one whose knows about grief is the person who is grieving and participants support each other no matter where they are on the continuum, gaining strength each step of the way. There are a lot of tears and there is a lot of laughter too. Jeff's Place helps people to heal and provides a place for hope to grow.
I never fully imagined the Impact Jeff's Place would have on me as a facilitator. It's not that I have any answers and I've come to realize, there are none when it comes to grieving. For each child, each parent, it appears to be a singular journey. Our role at Jeff's Place is to enable and encourage the paths to meet. For the kids, they feel 'normal' here. For the adults, they talk a familiar language. At Jeff's Place, following dinner, each child and then adult who would like, lights a candle..."I light this candle in memory of my mother, Ann', '...my son, John'. We use names, we provide a safe place to talk about how people died, how it feels, what you do when you feel sad, what makes you laugh when you remember. Jeff's Place is alive and caring and for the past 3 years I've had the privilege of observing transitions that I believe are a direct result. The courage of these families truly touches my heart. Parents and kids re-connect with one another in profound ways, having learned that they don't need to carry their pain alone. Strength is given through individual and shared experiences. Our leaders, Jenny Schreiber and Melissa Kennedy Panto arm us with gentle ways to start conversations. I am awed by their always seeming to know what to say and their encouragement to us as facilitators to trust our instincts. Protective walls slowly crumble here so that healing can begin. Who Jenny is and what she has done in creating Jeff's Place is nothing short of extraordinary.
Jeff's Place was where we turned when my husband died after a long journey with brain cancer. We needed to be with other families who had lost a parent because we felt like aliens in our community, and Jeff's place helped us find others because this organization provides peer-to-peer support for this situation (as well as others for sibling/child loss). We gather on "our night" every two weeks, with the same families throughout the year. We have a large opening where we light candles for the beloved parents who died, then we break into small peer groups for an hour or so. Kids meet with kids their age and a clinician/facilitator while parents meet with parents. It is a special time to remember our loved ones and talk about the issues we face in living life without them. I cannot say enough good things about the staff and volunteers at Jeff's Place. They clearly plan for each session taking into account the individuals in each group. Young kids do a lot of art projects while older kids might play basketball games while chatting. It might seem casual but a lot of thought goes into making this a useful, healing experience for everyone. The parent group has been a lifeline for me. We talk, we cry, and we laugh. We get it.
I have a five year old who lost both parents two years ago. We had quite the struggle finding support for this kind of grief counseling, especially in a child so young. The counselors and volunteers at Jeff's Place are so warm and inviting. They all know and understand what you and your children are going through and can support you throughout the healing process. We are so grateful that we found them. My child thrives in the environment and is able to open up and talk with like-minded children and adults. We are incredibly blessed for finding these caring, amazing people at Jeff's Place.
I contribute to Jeff's Place because when I think about the impact an organization can have on a family, I can't think of anything more needed than a family that has a lost a child, or a child that has lost a parent. I know families that have experienced such a dramatic loss and seen the havoc not getting help and counseling brought on these families. There is nothing harder for a family to cope with, and nothing more valuable than having other families helping you through the transition, along with the counsel and support one gets from the fabulous staff at Jeff's Place. I have met these families, they've told me about the difference going to Jeff's Place has made for them, and i am honored to help support this work in a small way.
Jeff's Place means the world to the grieving families and children who attend its group sessions. I've witnessed children and their families healthfully adapt to their new circumstances. The staff at Jeff's Place is wonderful, kind, giving and effective at helping families navigate their grief journey. Jeff's Place is truly a difference maker!
Jeff's Place has been incredibly helpful to our family. For me, I get to share with people who've had similar experiences, and my son gets time with friends who are growing up without a parent...all in a place that feels like home.
Everyone here goes above and beyond for the families impacted by sudden and devastating grief. They are thoughtful, kind, and caring. They create a comforting and safe space to share. Truly thankful for everyone at Jeff's Place.
Jeff's place has been exactly what our family needed. When our son died we didn't know what to do. We could barely survive each day, not to mention take care of our other young children and support them through the loss of their brother. The bereavement group has allowed us to connect with other families who are going through the same thing as us. For the first time our daughter met another child who also lost a sibling. She's made bonds and connections with the other children in her group that have helped her process the loss of her brother.
They've helped us all feel less alone, they've helped us find ways to honor our son and his memory, and they've provided guidance and support through the worst thing that could happen to a family.
No one should ever have to go through losing a child--it is the most unbearable thing to endure. Having Jeff's place has made it all a little bit easier. We've made life long connections here and we are incredibly grateful for all of their support.
Losing a loved one its bewildering. There's people to contact, arrangements to be made, a bewildering amount of paper work — and through it all your heart is just screaming "make it all stop!" Jeff's Place is the only thing that kept me going. With compassion and care they help each grieving family find some peace and understanding in an otherwise senseless world. Jeffs Place means hope when the rest of life feels hopeless.
Jeff's place saved my life! I lost my husband of 30 years to a brain Tumor. I did my best to help our teen daughter through the shock and pain, but felt completely lost and alone. Then a friend told me about Jeff's place. They welcomed me with open arms. Everyone who attends this amazing place has lost some one near and dear. Through shared experiences and true understanding everyone helps each other heal. Children are nurtured by the knowledge they are not alone in loss. Parents learn to cope. At a time when life was at it's most painful, Jeff's place gave me the strength to carry on!
When I was 7 years old, my 4-year-old sister died, changing the course of our lives forever. Back then, my family did not know of any organizations like "Jeff's Place," and as a child and teen, I found myself grieving in isolation and in fear of upsetting my parents who were in the depths of their own grief. Now, as an adult, it has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to serve on the board of directors at Jeff's Place. Through our life-changing work, we offer children, teens, and their families support, hope, and community throughout their grieving journey. I am constantly in awe of our participants and the caring, support, and understanding they offer one another alongside our incredible staff and volunteers.
When my husband died suddenly at age 45 from cardiac arrest the lives of my children and I were forever changed. Jeff’s Place gave us a place to go where we were understood. My children made friends for life. Friends like no other who understand life without a parent. I gained friends as well and a feeling of community where I could express my grief freely and without judgement, criticism or misunderstanding. Over the past 3 years Jeff’s Place helped us to heal and move forward. We will always miss our lost loved one but the support and love we received from JP, at a time when we were desperately drowning in grief, is immeasurable. I cannot say enough about how amazing this organization is.
Jeff's Place was a safe haven for my son to grieve and be with other kids in a similar situation. As a parent, I too gained wonderful insight and support through my time at JP.
The environment is nurturing and loving....JP is so very special as it identifies and creates a community that fills a gaping void in so many lives who live with loss.
Jeff's Place has been my foundation for grief therapy for my kids. When my wife passed Jeff's Place was recommended to me multiple times. I spoke to Melissa before the funeral and she gave me advice that I will never forget and will forever be grateful for. It's become a safe place for us and somewhere we find comfort and healing.
Hospitals do a great job of treating the patient but a very poor job treating the caregivers. It's a harsh transition when you are most vulnerable and you need to be the guide for your children. Jeff's Place took us in and understand what we are going through. So many people try to help but few understand how to help. Jeff's Place is our support. Everyone is kind and caring and are there to help the kids and the parents.
Jeff’s Place has been such a gift to my family. We lost my sister, who left behind 5 grieving children. The community at Jeff’s Place has been so genuinely welcoming, kind, and understanding. We’re all extremely grateful we found them!
Jeff's Place offers support to grieving children/teens and their parents. Professionally-facilitated support groups are provided free of charge to those in need. The staff also provides outreach and training to community organizations and schools in the surrounding towns. Individual counseling is available via the clinical staff as well. The level of caring and support is phenomenal. The children who attend these groups can laugh and play as well as deal with the serious and difficult tasks of bereavement and grief. The loss may be as fresh as a few weeks or several years in the past. All are welcome.
The care and compassion I have received at Jeff's Place has been of great help to me. The work that Melissa and other team members perform is important and appreciated. Sharing with other families who have suffered losses similar to my own has been helpful as well.
My 5 boys and I were devastated when my husband, Rich, passed away from cancer 2 years ago. Jeff's Place was a refuge where we met many people going through similar situations. Today, my family is thriving. Jeff's Place allowed my children a safe place to grieve with other children experiencing similar loss. I can't say enough about the staff who really took an interest in our lives and provided us the resources to live our lives in a way that would make Rich proud!
I recently lost my husband to cancer. I have 5 young boys. Initially, it was difficult to know where to go to get support, but Jeff's Place was recommended by one of the boy's school principals. In an age of technology when people seem to expect a rapid return to "normal", Jeff's Place provides a safe place to continue to grieve with people who understand the struggle of losing a spouse when the children are young. I am so happy that I did this for my boys ... and for me. Great job to all the facilitators who get my children to want to come back after each session!
Where to begin? Melissa and the staff at Jeff's Place are supportive, caring, knowledgable, and helpful. My son's father was very sick when I first reached out to ask how to talk to my 6 year old about the possibility of his father passing away in the near future. Melissa took my call, answered my questions, and talked me through the best way to share that information. When his father did pass, Melissa was right there to help me through the process of telling my son, supporting him through his grief, and choosing an appropriate time to begin attending a group at Jeff's Place. When we began meeting in a group, we realized how important it would be for our son, but we didn't know how helpful it would be as a parent. The group normalizes talking about the child's "special person" in a positive way and helps parents understand grieving behavior versus typical child behavior. In addition, Jeff's Place has so many resources for families going through the grieving process.
My son has gone from a scared, grieving boy to a healthy, happy kid who misses his dad, but now has the tools he needs to cope when he becomes overwhelmed. We would not be where we are today without the amazing people who work with us and our children at Jeff's Place.
When my sister tragically died in a car accident 5 years ago she left 4 children behind that I took on as my own. We all needed to heal including my own 3 very young children. Jeff’s Place opened up their doors and gave us a place to do that. Gave us the space to heal and learn that things would be ok. I don’t know if we would have made it past that first year without their help, kindness and love.
Jeff's Place was there for our family as our daughter needed support with the loss of her little brother. She was seeing therapists, but it was the support and understanding of the staff and peers at Jeff's place that really helped her in healing. And they were there for myself and my husband as we were in the darkest place losing our son. The staff provides kindness, gentleness, compassion and understanding, and the groups provide a safe space with others grieving who understand when the world around you doesn't.
We are truly thankful to Jeff's Place for helping heal our family.
We are so thankful to have found Jeff's place. They welcomed us with open arms and open hearts. The whole staff is loving and caring.
We searched for a place to take our daughter a year after the loss of her brother ,our son, Alec.
She found such comfort being with others who understood and were going through the same thing, and she found so much comfort with the volunteers in her group who help her talk about Alec while having fun too. She looks forward to going every other week.
And while my husband and I didn't feel comfortable attending group, we did, and it does bring us comfort to know others are going through the same emotions and difficulty in life. We have grown comfortable in our group and are surrounded by caring hurting parents.
Thank you Jenny and Melissa and everyone at Jeff's Place for helping our family.
It’s hard to put into words how much Jeff’s Place means to my family and me. I’m raising my granddaughter who lost her father, my son, last spring.
Jeff’s Place staff are caring and knowledgeable about the grief process. They provide meaningful activities and groups for kids. This place is helping me be a better caregiver. We are so very lucky to be part of this amazing organization!
My niece & I have been going to Jeff’s Place for almost 2 years. This amazing group has helped both of us deal with my brother/her father’s death in so many ways. The support each of us receives is incredible and greatly appreciated.
My children lost their father 2 years ago & we just started at Jeff's Place last year. This has been very good for my boys because they are not talkers & here they feel that they fit in because they are with other kids going through the same thing. They don't have to talk but can just listen to others. They love it there!
"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened"
Thank you Jeffs Place for helping us understand these words.
Thank you for showing us how to live with grief, how to move on and how to look back and smile at the happy times.
I cannot say enough about the amazing, consistent, good work of Jeff's Place staff. They meet grieving families where they are, in their mess, and help to come alongside with grace and guidance. They provide top-notch, comprehensive care to our community of bereaved.
Jeff's Place has made such a vast difference for my son and me through our grieving process in so many positive ways. They have helped us much on a personal and group level since the day we stepped foot in the door. I don't know where we would be today without them and we will keep going as long as we can. Such a positively wonderful organization.
Families who come to Jeff's Place after suffering the loss of a close family member find support, strength and hope. The staff and volunteers are a compassionate and dedicated group of individuals, and there is real healing that takes place in the support groups. Jeff's Place is an exceptional organization that fills such an important but under-recognized community need. It's a privilege to be associated with Jeff's Place.
Jeff's place was a sanctuary for my daughter, my wife and myself after the death of our son in 2012. My daughter was able to connect with other teens, some of whom had also lost a sibling. She received and felt great support from the wonderful Jeff's Place staff and volunteers (who get "it"), rather than the isolation from losing her brother and feeling different. We attended Jeff's place for 2 years, and my daughter is now a Jeff's Place volunteer herself. The focus at Jeff's Place is on children's grief and healing, but the support for adults is just as heart-warming and important, as I witnessed in our parent group, as we shared our stories and bonded. Jeff's Place welcomed my family with open arms and compassion, and guided us at our own pace on the road to healing.
Husband and great father to our 4 children passed this year. I am so grateful to have an optimistic place for my children to express their feelings, gain strength, and to realize they could have strengths to offer others feeling the same pain and emptiness.
Thank you Jeffs Place!
I am thankful for Jeffs Place and the support that friends of mine have received. A place where they can go and share the loss with other families who understand what they are going through.
I found Jeff's Place after the sudden death of my husband. It has been an invaluable resource for me and has connected me to wonderful people going through the same thing.
My widowed friend has seen her son benefit greatly from this program. She recommends it highly to others who find themselves in this situation where bereavement counseling is needed. It makes me happy to know that this type of support is available in the local community.
We feel welcomed. There is space for fun, for expressing yourself as a child and adult while grieving. It's gentle encouragement moving forward for all of us.
"The light at the end of the tunnel". Children receive therapy without even realizing it. Adults mix with other adults who get it! Jeffs place is truly an unique place with unique people. It continues to guide us.
My son has been attending Jeff's Place since his sister passed away in December and the support has been so important. He looks forward to each group and has made some great connections with other kids who have also lost siblings. I'm so thankful for this resource!
I have witnessed wonderful things at Jeff's Place. Children learn to express themselves and embark on their grief journey, families come together, parents realize they are not alone, staff and volunteers provide compassion and direction, and little miracles happen. Some of the children and families who come to Jeff's Place would be lost without it. I'm so proud of my involvement here, and of the dozens upon dozens of people who give their time to help others going through an unimaginably difficult time.
We are relatively new to Jeff's Place. After my wife passed away from a battle with brain cancer 6 months ago, we got a great recommendation from our pediatrician. My 3 kids, 14, 13 and 8 are doing well and resisted going at first, but they now look forward to the meetings and the people there. The staff is fantastic and unbelievably welcoming. My two boys, the two oldest, do not talk too much about their mother and the last few years, but I now look forward to the nice conversations we have on our rides home after the meetings.
Thanks to the people at Jeff's Place for making a difference in our lives.
This is our second year at Jeff's Place since the sudden loss of my husband. Words cannot express how grateful we are to have a safe place to share our experiences with. Grief can be very lonely but Jeff's Place offers understanding and support from peers in a way only those who've experienced a great loss can. My children and I are very lucky to have had Jeff's Place.
Sensitive staff and people that really listen. My children have managed to navigate the loss of their father with the help of this place. Thank you Jeffs place.
My now 10 year old son and I have been going to Jeff's Place for several years since losing his father in late 2012. It is a wonderful community where people understand your grief in ways that society, unfortunately, does not. the friendships that he and I have made, and the support that we have received over the last 4 years in astounding and unwavering, in so many ways. Jeff's Place continues to get better and better by offering more options for its families - Jenny, Melissa and Aliya, as well as the other facilitators and volunteers are all so kind and caring. Thanks Jeff's Place for providing a place for Chris and I to feel loved and supported!
My son was 12 and my daughter was 7 when we lost their father, my dear husband. We were completely devastated, and felt so alone. When we found Jeff's Place (actually Jeff's Place found us!) we finally had a place to turn where we felt a part of something, a place where my children could feel comfortable talking about their loss, or not talking about it, and a place where we could come together with other families experiencing grief. We are truly grateful for all the incredible folks at Jeff's Place, especially Jenny who makes it all happen, and who touches the lives of so many. We are happy to say we are graduates . . . Hope Grows Here!
This is an organization helping children and families to cope during the darkest time in their lives. The approach is innovative and high-impact and the model can scale. Leadership is devoted and experienced. My hope is that more children and families in need will be served by this organization in the future.
My children and i have attended jeff's place for about four years. we have made great friends it has been a great help.
My nephews went to Jeff's Place after the death of their mother. It is a wonderful organization with committed, caring staff.
My two oldest children started attending Jeff's place a few months after my husband committed suicide - Jeff's place has been a tremendous help with their grieving process and has given them a place to feel safe and not alone. The staff is wonderful and I cannot express my thanks enough.
I have gone to jeff's place with my oldest son for almost 4 years now we had lost his father to a hunting accident, and i can't even describe in words what this group has done for us! the friends we have made, It's a place that make us feel like we can talk about anything and not feel like we are different! and for that i am truly grateful!!
Jeff's Place was a wonderful resource to have available to me & my 2 boys. My wife died after a 2.5 year battle with cancer and our boys were 11 & 13 years old. They are very "strong & tough kids", both emotionally & physically. However, I knew that I would need help for both my sons & myself to assist in the grieving process.
My boys didn't really want to go to the meetings, probably because they didn't want to talk about their emotions and/or feelings. I do believe that it was a great help for all of us and led to many conversations that we've had about their mother and all of us as a family!
We stopped attending Jeff's Place meetings over a year ago! We have stayed in communication with Jeff's Place volunteers and try to support them when we can. My hope is that Jeff's Place continues working with families for as long as each individual family needs!
I'm extremely grateful to have such a wonderful place like Jeff's Place available to me, in my family's time of need! My wife died after a 2.5 year battle with cancer and we have 2 boys, who were 11 & 13 years old. They are probably the toughest 2 children that I've ever met, but they "act like boys" & I feared that they were suppressing their emotions. Also, I was afraid of how "alone" they would feel with very few of their peers having ever gone through anything like this.
While I can't say they were thrilled with the idea of going to Jeff's Place and discussing their feelings, it has helped them immensely! They get to go and relate to other kids that are going through similar things and they felt accepted, right away. For me, Jeff's place has been a wonderful experience! I've met so many genuinely caring people, who want nothing more than to assist people and help them to continue on with their lives and ease their grieving process any way they can. Also, I feel that it has taken some of the burden off of my shoulders and helped me to "get my boys to open up & express their feelings".
We did research & had attended other similar groups when my wife died, but Jeff's Place is far & away the best! We found the right place for us, thank you Jeff's Place!
In January, 2014 my husband died suddenly from a car accident. We have three children in all different stages of life. To say that it has been tremendously difficult would be an understatement. I found out about Jeff's place about a year prior to my husbands death while attending a PTG meeting. At the time, our lives were going according to plan, happily moving along from year to year. I remember sitting at the meeting listening to the representatives describe Jeff's place and thinking how wonderful that this place/support was available for children and families that suffer loss. Little did I know that we would need that support as well. I cannot fully express my gratitude for the staff, volunteers, and interns that provide a safe place for my children and myself to express and share (if we want to or not) our grief and feelings.
We feel very blessed to have Jeff's Place in our lives. The staff are so loving and caring and welcomed us with open arms and hearts. We're still grieving and everything is still so raw, but it really does help having a place to express our thoughts and emotions and talk about "our special person". Thank you Jeff's Place.
Jeff's Place is a phenomenal gift for grieving kids and their loved ones. The program is centered around the kids, but the adults get so much out of it as well. It is such a supportive and accepting place that truly nurtures and strengthens the spirit of those lucky enough to be able to go. There are not enough resources for grieving kids and their families and the service that Jeff Place provides is stellar.
I can't say enough positive things about Jeff's Place, it's mission, the staff and volunteers. I'm so grateful for all that they have done for me and my family.
We found Jeff's Place after the sudden and unexpected death of my husband. It is an invaluable resource for myself and our children. Talking with people who have experienced a loss of this magnitude is healing for the soul. The staff, the volunteers and the interns are absolutely fantastic. We would recommend Jeff's Place without hesitation!
Jeff's Place is a great place for kids who need support after a major loss. I attend meetings with the boy I am a guardian of and it is great for both him and I. The people are excellent, the group facilitators are top notch and Jeff's Place provides an outlet where kids who have experienced loss can go and not feel alone.
I can't say enough about this organization. It's a safe and supportive place for anyone struggling with a loss. It has had been transformative for my daughter and a place where she can feel that she is not alone.
Jeff's Place is where my children can express their sadness and anger without judgement while also cherishing the memories of their father. I am able to meet with other parents and talk about the complicated nature of grieving the loss of my life partner while also needing to be emotionally strong enough to raise our daughters alone. Jeff's Place has been a vital resource for all three of us.
Everyone there is just amazing and we couldn't thank them enough for all that they do.
When I asked God to help my family after my oldest son Justin passed away he put Jenny and the Jeffs Place staff into our lives. We didn't know how to help our other two sons, 11 and 15, cope with the grief we were all experiencing. The group facilitators and other family's helped us find our way while making sense of it all. I can't express in words how important a roll this organization has played in so many lives at the most difficult time. The best part of all is they only want you to find peace in your life and be able to share with others how that worked for you. Amazing group of people!
This is a wonderful organization with a caring and committed staff.