My daughter and attended JOH eight years ago when my young, healthy husband died from a heart attack. JOH was my sanity. It was the place I could go and be with people who "got" what I was going through. I looked forward to the great meals and community of people in the same boat as I was. I loved going to group. It was such a positive experience for us that I am now a facilitator. I wanted to give back something to a place that help me SO much in my grief journey. Journey of Hope is a fantastic organization!!!
As the Lead Pastor of First United Methodist Church Plano which host monthly sessions of Journey of Hope, I can say with great confidence that the work JOH does is as effective as it is essential. In an age and culture where professional counseling is out of reach for too many in our society, JOH is a lifeline for children, youth and families trying to cope with unexpected death in their midst. This work forged in a community around meal and common cause helps rebuild the sense of community within the families affected by sudden and usually premature loss. Our church is known in the community for its compassionate outreach to those in need of counseling; JOH plays a key role in that reputation. Thank you for your financial support and prayers.
Matt Gaston, Lead Pastor
First United Methodist Church Plano
Journey of Hope is an incredible organization who provides an underserviced community of those who lost a loved one. They have helped us in our grieving process and provide incredible coordinators to facilitate the process.
I am so honored to be involved with a great organization that helps families move forward after the loss of a loved one. Twice a month they provide a meal and activities that help process their grief. I am group facilitator for 4th and 5th grade children, they have lost a parent or a sibling or someone who was special to them. Having a safe place to talk about the things they can’t at home because they don’t want to make someone sad or being afraid to be happy because that feels wrong because their loved one died. Journey of Hope has great training and support to the facilitators so that we can provide a great group for the children and their parents. When I first started I thought how am i going to do this and now I cannot imagine not being involved and helping.
In 2004 my husband died after a 2 yr fight with Leukemia. Being a single parent with 4 children was not in my plan and having to pick up the pieces was overwhelming. A friend referred us to Journey of Hope and it helped me to start breathing again. I knew I needed a place for all of us to get support with this huge loss. Journey of Hope having dinner was a huge help with working and trying to get home, round of the kids and make it on time. Meeting other families who were in the same place as us gave us support to walk this out together. The support groups helped us learn to grieve and celebrate his life. Now, 12 years later, my four children are young adults finding independence and starting their families. Journey of Hope is a safe place that allows you to be right where you are and the authority of your grief. I now have the honor to be a group facilitator and with my family we serve the families dinner a few times a year. I continue to learn new things everyday from one involved and I am very thankful for Journey of Hope.
My daughter and I went to the Journey of Hope grief support meetings for 3 years after losing my husband, her father. I can honestly say that their program was one of the reasons we have been able to move forward with out lives for the 6 years that he has been gone. To be able to talk to, and interact with other children and parents who are grieving the same loss as you is an invaluable experience. The facilitators always did such an outstanding job at running the groups, even during those nights I didn't feel like talking, I felt like i benefited from what others said or discussed. We felt it was so important for both of us to be there at each meeting, we scheduled our lives around those nights and were always better off for it.
I came to learn about Journey through collaboration on a project with their board president in late 2016. I was amazed at the impact the organization has on the community and that I had never heard of them. Humbled and excited to join the board, it is my mission to ensure Journey is no longer the best kept secret and that their caring services can be shared with many more children and their families across the Dallas-Ft.Worth metro area.
I have the privilege of being one of the founders of the Journey of Hope. In this, its 20th year of serving children and families who have lost a loved one to death, I am even more grateful for its existence than at any other time in its history! The Journey of Hope serves the needs of grieving children and families from over 50 different communities in 11 counties of North Texas! Because the Journey's reach is so vast, the organization is looking to expand its program of support into some of the communities/counties served by partnering with organizations dedicated to providing HOPE to the hurting! I've never seen a group of professional staff and trained volunteers as passionate about a mission as those associated with the Journey! Hearing the stories from children and families about the positive, life-changing experiences they've had warms my heart in ways I cannot describe! The Journey of Hope truly is in the business of providing HOPE to those touched by the tragedy of death. I'm grateful to be a part of this wonderful organization!
When my wife passed away in 2014, leaving me a Single Father of two 10 year old boys, I felt like "now what". I wanted a way for our family to deal with the loss but was not in the financial position to spend hundreds (if not Thousands) of dollars on personal therapists either.
I was told to look into the Journey of Hope Organization as a way to deal with our loss, and spend time with others going thru similar circumstances. It is a great organization, no pressure to talk if you don't want to..a nice meal before the bi-monthly meetings in Plano, and placed in smaller groups of people going thru the same types of life challenges.
In the 4 years since introduced to Journey of Hope, I have made friends thru our group that I look forward to seeing and talking with, my boys have went to Free Summer Camps that I found out about thru JOH, and have some good memories.
I think Journey of Hope was a key part in helping to continue moving forward after my wife's death...and I am grateful for their support and that they are there for so many local families.
I think so much of Journey of Hope that it's time for me to "Give Back" and I have decided to help them by donating $250.00 from each Real Estate Transaction starting in July, 2018 (I am a Full Time REALTOR). I am hoping that small gift will help other families going thru a very difficult time in their lives.
Guy Arnold, McKinney TX.
Journey of Hope is a wonderful place where children and their families get to heal after a loss. The groups give the children an opportunity to talk about their thoughts and feelings after a loss that they may not be able to talk about anywhere else. My family would not have been able to cope as well as we did without Journey of Hope.
I have been blessed to experience the great work of Journey of Hope from both sides of the discussion group. As a child, my father died when I was 9 years old after an 11 year illness. My mother and I felt so comfortable going to Journey of Hope. Twice a month we were able to be around people who really understood what struggles we were facing. They helped us not only through our grief, but through life. After long school days of being with my peers that I felt did not understand me, Journey of Hope was the place that I could talk about anything without fear of judgement. 13 years later, after losing my mom when I was 19, I was able to start facilitating two groups a week and I love every second of it. The families that attend Journey of Hope are always so grateful for this organization and all that it provides. The children that I work with are a constant light in my week. The other facilitators that I get to work with are amazing. Their hard work and dedication help make this organization as wonderful as it is. My life would be empty without this organization.
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor who has volunteered for Journey of Hope Grief Support for 17 years, since it's founding. As a Facilitator, I have worked with children, teens and adult groups helping participants process their grief. Our program exists first for children since they are the forgotten mourners. Their parents feel trauma, chaos, pain and fear when facing a death of a family member so children are often alone and feel isolated, scared, confused and left out of the family loss. At JOH we have developed outstanding curriculum following Dr. Alan Wolfelt's model for healthy grieving. Facilitators are trained to lead the support groups which are divided by age or type of loss. Families receive a free community sponsored meal. They develop new relationships and no longer feel alone in facing their sadness. Together they learn to share their loss and receive support from others who "get it." They feel understood and welcome the "family atmosphere" " which assists them on the journey toward recovery. The number of families receiving help at Journey continues to grow with over 550 a year receiving services. I love my volunteer work at JOH because I see hope developing as individuals beginning to change their focus from death to life. It is at JOH that "children's hearts begin to heal."
I have participated in providing dinners for Journey of Hope participants for several years. In addition, I have recommended the program to my friends and family. Recently, a friend of mine participated in the program with her family. The most ringing endorsement for her family, was when her daughter insisted on going to the program when it was least convenient for the family. No one can share an experience with grief better than those who have suffered. Time and time again, we get feedback about how valuable this program is. Getting grief right is part of getting life right. This program gets it right.
Such a great organization to volunteer with - it's great to see how the families and children connect with one another.
As a recently retired childcare center owner, I was looking for opportunities to continue working with children and make a positive impact on my community. A dear neighbor who is also a JOH volunteer guided me to Journey and I am so very grateful for that. I am constantly inspired and humbled by the strength and also the vulnerability of the little ones whose lives have been turned on the head by loss of a dear one. To be able to help them talk about their loss, and to show them that they are not alone in their grief has been an uplifting experience. I am so glad to be part of a great group of people, very ably lead by Kerri. Kudos to this wonderful organization.
Among the moments that can forever shift the course of a child's life, none compare with the loss of a parent.
I have seen this firsthand in the lives of men whom I have mentored in prison. Many of them lost a parent as a child, and that tragedy -- which was rarely addressed professionally -- set them on a path that led to prison. While that tragedy does not excuse their crime, it does inform us about what contributed to it.
Far too many children in North Texas lose a parent each year, and Journey Of Hope has developed a powerful and scalable solution to address this challenge. I love how their model leverages the contributions of some remarkable volunteer facilitators to maximize the impact of donors' gifts.
I am proud to support this amazing organization.
I started Journey of Hope as a student volunteer looking to gain more experience of working with grieving families. I got a lot more out of the experience than I ever expected. I learned so much about myself, how families truly benefit from having this support available to them, and I was blown away by how much the children benefit from it as well. The love and care that the program has for their families is unbelievable.
I am excited to continue my journey as a volunteer because I am confident that the program will continue to do great things!
I am one of the founders of Journey of Hope Grief Support Center. Seventeen years ago, I worked with 6 other counselors, nurses, and educators to get this program started in the Collin County area. Now, we have served thousands of children and parents who are grieving the loss of a loved one. I serve as one of the greeters at our twice monthly meetings, where dinner is served by volunteers to the adults and children who come to age-appropriate and need-appropriate support groups. I see children come in very sad over the experience of loss, and soon find friends whom they may talk with and facilitators who listen to them. Then, in the following meetings, they come running in to say "hi" to their friends and share what has happened during the past week. Many of our trained facilitators say they wish someone had been there for them when they lost of loved one many years ago. It is a wonderful, loving place for kids and grownups to come to and share their feelings.
I am a retired school teacher and author of children's books. I have been a facilitator with groups of children, ages four to five, for 16 years. It is a joy and a challenger to to help these children as they cope with the death of a loved one. Books based on children who have had the same experiences, followed by discussion sharing the book experiences and the Journey children's experiences help the children we serve discover ways to deal with sleep problems,, fear, sadness, and other emotions, The children begin to discover that they are not alone and ways to cope with their problems.. How exciting it is to go home after a session and think about positive changes seen in the conversations and proof of the beginnings of more positive life styles.
I have also served on the Journey Board and know the needs of the program and to wish for funding. Journey is very wise in their use of funds received. The volunteer in the program keep the program going,and work hard to assure that all families who need help after a death are served, Every family member is served in groups based on deaths from illness, accidents, and suicides.
Some of our volunteers are those who were served by the program in a needy time of their lives. What a blessing this program has been in the lives of many past and [resent families served! The program is growing and services are being added in Frisco, Texas. There is a need for more funding and volunteers. this is a opportunity to serve families and help these people find ways to cope with new challenges.