Providing healing for families experiencing grief in Westlake, Bay Village

Grief is a universal experience, yet for school-aged children and their families coping with the death of a loved one can be an especially challenging journey. Founded in 2003, Joel's Place for Children is a compassionate organization dedicated to providing grief support for children aged 5 to 18 and their families. Joel's Place offers peer-based grief support groups for children, teens and their families after the death of someone special. 

Groups meet every other Tuesday during the school year for a pizza dinner and peer-based grief support groups at Bay Presbyterian Church, and a Butterfly Release is held every summer at Cahoon Park. 

On a night of support, children, teens, families and facilitators gather to share a meal and then break into groups based on age. Led by trained facilitators, these groups offer a nurturing environment where participants can openly discuss their feelings and memories. Concurrently, caregivers have their own group.

One noteworthy annual event organized by Joel's Place for Children is the Butterfly Release held at Cahoon Park in Bay Village. This heartwarming ceremony brings families together to release butterflies in honor of their departed loved ones, symbolizing the beauty of transformation and remembrance.

Importantly, Joel's Place for Children operates on a principle of accessibility – families face no financial burden to attend group sessions. The organization relies on the generosity of donors who graciously support their mission to provide healing and hope.

Joel's Place for Children is more than an organization; it is a community that understands the power of empathy and connection in the face of grief. By fostering an environment of compassion, sharing, and understanding, this remarkable organization continues to make a profound impact on the lives of individuals of all ages experiencing grief.

To learn more, join groups, volunteer, donate or contact, visit or call 440-248-4412.

Becky Verner McDermott

Joel's Place for Children has been serving grieving children and families in Northeast Ohio since 2003. Becky McDermott is Executive Director and a Peer Grief Support Group Facilitator at Joel's Place. She is also a 500-hour Certified Yoga & Meditation Instructor. Becky's passion for grief support stems from the death of her mother when Becky was 10 years old. She lives in Lakewood, Ohio with her husband, stepdaughters, dog and cat.

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Volume 16, Issue 2, Posted 10:02 AM, 02.06.2024