The Center for Grieving Children (the Center) provides a safe space, loving peer support, outreach and education for grieving children, teens and families across southern Maine. They reached their goal of 500 votes and doubled their donation to reach $10,000.
Children and teens who experience the death or life-impacting illness of a family member often feel alone in their grief or have difficulty processing their loss. To address this, the staff and volunteers of the Center work to reduce feelings of isolation by focusing on three main areas: belonging, hopefulness and family support for parents and caregivers.
Founded in 1987, the Center delivers its peer support programs in a family-model to support grieving children ages three to 18 and their families, because the better parents do, the better children do. Groups are broken out by appropriate age and developmental milestones so each child is with a group of similar peers.
Most importantly, services are available at no charge to anyone in the community who needs them, for as long as needed. The Center served 621 individuals in peer support programs in the last fiscal year.
Inspired to contribute
Bob Baldacci, an account executive with the National Housing Insurance Group (NHI), first learned about the Center when he attended one of its golf tournament fundraisers. Moved by the importance of its work, he soon began volunteering. He joined the Center’s development committee in 2015 and the board of directors a year later, and he continues to serve in both positions today.
Encouraged by Baldacci, NHI’s entire staff of 10 has supported the Center the past several years by attending events, helping with fundraising and connecting the Center with various agency partners.
“As the father of three children, the Center gives me hope knowing that free resources exist in our community for those who need them,” said Baldacci. “Losing a loved one is nothing we can truly prepare for. But the Center offers a place to find resiliency and a path forward should such a tragedy occur.”
Expanding care during the pandemic
As with so many other nonprofits across the U.S., the pandemic caused significant financial challenges for the Center. That made NHI’s fundraising support during this challenging time even more critical.
When COVID-19 restrictions forced the Center to temporarily close its physical locations, the staff found ways to continue serving children and families. It hosted peer support and bereavement groups virtually and created an online process for accepting new families into its program, including some coping with grief and loss due to COVID-19.
The Center also expanded its reach by collaborating with grief and loss experts to host free webinars for parents, teachers, hospice workers, health care providers, churches and other youth-serving organizations in the community. This allowed broader access to these vital resources even during the pandemic, thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers.
“The Center volunteers are true heroes in our community,” said Baldacci. “Even when the Center had to close due to the pandemic, they still found ways to support the most vulnerable among us.”
Building bridges between cultures
In addition to its bereavement work, the Center partners with Portland Public Schools to serve children who have resettled locally from countries experiencing war, persecution and natural disaster. Along with having to adjust to living in a new, unfamiliar country, these children also must cope with first-hand exposure to traumatic events including the loss of loved ones through death or distance. It’s yet another way the staff and volunteers are working to bring children together into a web of love, support and acceptance, and to help them begin processing grief however they may be experiencing it.
“Losing a loved one is nothing we can truly prepare for. But the Center offers a place to find resiliency and a path forward should such a tragedy occur.”
– Bob Baldacci, Account Executive, National Housing Insurance Group
Ensuring free services for all
Due to challenges brought by the pandemic, the Center is doing all it can to ensure services remain free for all who walk through its doors. A $10,000 donation from Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance would help the Center continue to provide grief peer support services to 10 children for an entire year, at no cost to the families.
Great organization doing important work
Important service. Thanks for supporting this great cause
What a great cause Bob, job well done! You have my vote!
Great cause and great work! You have my vote.
I am so grateful for the work the Center is doing here in Maine!
What a special place the Center is! It’s more necessary than ever in this time of isolation when so many more people are losing loved ones.
What a fabulous & necessary support network. Thankful for this team!
The center does amazing work!
I went to the center from ages 6 -16 for both TLC and grief support. The center taught me how to go through difficult times in a healthy way. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the center.
The Center for Grieving Children makes an impact on the lives of so many here in Maine, just watch some of their testimonials on line.
Such an awesome organization
Good luck! Thank you so much for all of your hard work and dedication to this amazing organization!
Fantastic community organization that touches ths lives of those in a state of grieving. Your support would be most appreciated.
Let’s get these folks to 500 votes, they deserve it!
Such a fantastic organization that helps SO many people. We’re lucky to have in our community!
I was a volunteer at CGC for about 7 years. It changed my life in so many wonderful life. It is a truly magical place. Thank you to everyone who is or has been involved over the years. You truly have are a ripple effect for love in this world. Peace.
What a great team effort for such a worthy cause. Truly making a difference in their community for those in need of assistance.
Such a great cause to support!
The Center for Grieving Children does great work.
Love it. Sounds like an awesome organization!
Happy to support and vote for such a wonderful organization! Thank you for all you do.
I’ve had the chance to visit the Center for Grieving Children and I’ll never forget it. A wonderful organization that helps young people through hard times. Love to see the support from Liberty Mutual and other area businesses!
I am blessed to be part of an amazing Organization the Center for grieving children Where children, teens, youth and families find hope and love through peer support model on gratuitous.
This really is an amazing organization that helps so many children in need of support.
I cannot think of a better way to put your donation money to work and feel great about the cause and the trust in the non-profit to use that money in the best way
this is just an exceptional organization!
The Center’s Magic is more important than ever –
We are so grateful for the loving support from the Center for EVERYONE in our community!
Thanks for all you do!
Yes to this!!! Thank you!
The Center is a beautiful place for families to heal during some of the hardest days in in their lives. Thank you for all that you do.
CGC deserves this support! They are one of the most important organizations in all of Maine, doing excellent, and highly necessary, work!
Grateful for the Center and all they’ve done for my family.
I am so grateful to the Center for all the work it has done for my family and my community!
It is an honor to be a part of The Center for Grieving Children
The Center for Grieving Children was an incredible resource for us after the loss of a loved one.
The Center for Grieving Children makes such a difference in the lives of our Portland Public School students. Addressing grief and trauma is essential to students being able to engage and learn. Portland Public Schools is extremely grateful for our partnership and the Centers capacity to support student success.
A wonderful organization doing important work!
What a wonderful way to support The Center! Thank you!
Thank you for your amazing work with this charity! Great job!
The Center will always hold a special place in my heart. As a volunteer, I was part of a special family. The support and love held within that space is profound. I never expected to get so much more than I could ever give in return, but that is what happens; the circle of community and compassion wraps around everyone who joins, and the sense of belonging is life-affirming.
The CGC provides amazing support and resources for families going through some of the hardest times imaginable, many of which could never be planned for. As someone who has gone from being a group participant, to a group facilitator, and now a member of the development committee – I’m consistently blown away by the impact the Center has on families and the incredible people who make the Center happen.
Center for Grieving Children rocks!