Cleveland's West Side grieving children need your help

Joel's Place for Children holds a Butterfly Release each summer to honor loved ones who have died and bring community to those who are grieving.

Children and teens across the world are experiencing grief in ways that are more complicated and often more traumatic due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Joel’s Place for Children, a Cleveland-based 501(c)(3) non-profit, provides grief support to school-aged children and their families who have experienced the death of someone special in their lives. They are receiving more phone calls and emails than ever from caregivers needing grief support for their children.

The organization has been serving grieving families in Northeast Ohio since 2003. Non-denominational groups meet by age/developmental level at Bay Presbyterian Church in Bay Village twice-monthly for pizza dinner, community, expressive arts and emotional intelligence activities, and discussion. Families do not pay to attend Joel’s Place; the organization is funded solely by donations. A Butterfly Release is also held every summer, where living butterflies are released in honor of those who have died, followed by a picnic lunch. 

All Joel’s Place programs depend on volunteers in order to be successful. Would you like to use your skills and life experiences to bring hope and help to others? Joel’s Place has numerous ways people can participate in its mission. They are always in need of volunteer help for the following:

  • Facilitators to conduct support groups

  • Butterfly Release team members

  • Volunteers to coordinate pre-meeting dinners for our families

  • Committee members for various committees (Program, Marketing, Fund Development, Governance)

  • Fundraising event assistance

All facilitators must attend a comprehensive facilitator training. A manual is provided. The training includes:​​

  • Reviewing developmental stages of childhood

  • Exploring how developmental stages relate to the grieving process

  • Examining what support groups look like

  • Sharing activities to facilitate the expression of feelings

  • Sharing personal loss experiences

No prior training or experience is required. All that is needed is the ability to listen and a compassionate heart. Please note all sessions are facilitated by two trained adults. Sessions are confidential. References and fingerprinting are required for all facilitators.

If you are interested in volunteering with Joel’s Place for Children please call 440-248-4412 or email You can learn more at

Becky Verner McDermott

Becky Verner McDermott is a 500-hour Certified Yoga & Meditation Instructor, and Grief Support Advocate. She is a Peer Grief Support Group Facilitator at Joel's Place for Children, a local nonprofit that provides grief support for children and their families. Becky is also Program Coordinator & Outreach Specialist at Joel's Place. Joel's Place for Children has been serving grieving children and families in Northeast Ohio since 2003.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:30 AM, 03.01.2022