Bringing hope to grieving families

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.

Bringing hope to grieving families 7
Members of the National Housing Insurance Group pose for a group shot during the Center for Grieving Children’s 2020 Swing “Fore” the Center golf tournament, which the company sponsors annually.

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.”

Bringing hope to grieving families 8
Bob Baldacci celebrates with Center staff at its Portland, Maine, location after reuniting in person for the first time since working remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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.”

Bringing hope to grieving families 2

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

Bringing hope to grieving families 9
Bob Baldacci and members of the Center’s development team gather at the Center’s Portland, Maine, location to prepare for an upcoming fundraiser.

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.

 

To vote, share this story using the blue icons to the left, comment below or both. Every vote or comment gets The Center for Grieving Children closer to a $10,000 donation. To learn more, visit The Center for Grieving Children and the National Housing Insurance Group.

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Denise Thomas
10 months ago

Great organization doing important work

Mary Kaminsky
10 months ago

Important service. Thanks for supporting this great cause

Tom Nanof
10 months ago

What a great cause Bob, job well done! You have my vote!

Adrienne
10 months ago

Great work!

John McGrath
10 months ago

Great cause and great work! You have my vote.

Christine Fisher
10 months ago

I am so grateful for the work the Center is doing here in Maine!

Michelle B.
10 months ago

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.

Carrie
10 months ago

What a fabulous & necessary support network. Thankful for this team!

Rachel
10 months ago

The center does amazing work!

AJR
10 months ago

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.

SIMONE RYLE
10 months ago

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.

alan barker
10 months ago

Such an awesome organization

Keisha Dunstan
10 months ago

Good luck! Thank you so much for all of your hard work and dedication to this amazing organization!

KATHLEEN E SHIBLES
10 months ago

Fantastic community organization that touches ths lives of those in a state of grieving. Your support would be most appreciated.

Jessica Wrigley
10 months ago

Let’s get these folks to 500 votes, they deserve it!

Kate Simpson
10 months ago

Such a fantastic organization that helps SO many people. We’re lucky to have in our community!

Cate DiMarzio
10 months ago

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.

Rick Shannon
10 months ago

What a great team effort for such a worthy cause. Truly making a difference in their community for those in need of assistance.

Gerard
10 months ago

Great Organization

Linda Morrison
10 months ago

Wonderful organization

Matt McGraw
10 months ago

Great cause!

Elizabeth
10 months ago

Such a great cause to support!

Bryan C
10 months ago

The Center for Grieving Children does great work.

Julio Martinez
10 months ago

Love it. Sounds like an awesome organization!

Melissa
10 months ago

Happy to support and vote for such a wonderful organization! Thank you for all you do.

Matthew Kennedy
10 months ago

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!

Justine Mugabo
10 months ago

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.

Aaron Muse
10 months ago

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
possible…..

this is just an exceptional organization!

Rhonda
10 months ago

Great organization

Jerry Morin
10 months ago

The Center’s Magic is more important than ever –

Morin Family
10 months ago

We are so grateful for the loving support from the Center for EVERYONE in our community!

Haley
10 months ago
MJ Mondovics
10 months ago

Awesome work!

Kay Cyr
10 months ago

Thanks for all you do!

Kristin Swanson
10 months ago

Yes to this!!! Thank you!

Heather Ziegenbusch
10 months ago

Love this!

Kimberly Marcotte
10 months ago

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.

Alex Morse
10 months ago

CGC deserves this support! They are one of the most important organizations in all of Maine, doing excellent, and highly necessary, work!

Megan Tumavicus
10 months ago

Grateful for the Center and all they’ve done for my family.

Lucy Tumavicus
10 months ago

I am so grateful to the Center for all the work it has done for my family and my community!

Mary
10 months ago

It is an honor to be a part of The Center for Grieving Children

Ceci
10 months ago

The Center for Grieving Children was an incredible resource for us after the loss of a loved one.

Maureen Clancy
10 months ago

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.

Jamie
10 months ago

A wonderful organization doing important work!

Carissa Chipman
10 months ago

What a wonderful way to support The Center! Thank you!

Tom Lizotte
10 months ago

Thank you for your amazing work with this charity! Great job!

Tyler Q
10 months ago

Great work!

Gretchen Johnson
10 months ago

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.

Ryan Bailer
10 months ago

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.

Mark Jones
10 months ago

Center for Grieving Children rocks!

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