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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Bob Baldacci
1 month ago

The Center for Grieving Children has made an incredible impact on the lives of so many here in Maine and with the support of amazing organizations like Liberty Mutual will be able to hopefully expand these important services in our state for years to come. Thank you all!

Kate Baldacci
1 month ago

Great organization doing very important work to support children

Chelsea Amaio
1 month ago

I’m so grateful to be part of an organization that makes such an impact on Maine’s children at a time they need support the most.

Roxanne
1 month ago

Love the Center and all it does!

Phil
1 month ago

great organization.

Emma Walker
1 month ago

Grateful to be a part of this beautiful Center family. Thank you NHIG & Liberty Mutual for all your support!

Rachel Olinger Steeves
1 month ago

I’m so appreciative for the work that The Center for Grieving Children does for our community!

Kerry
1 month ago

What a wonderful cause – you have my vote!

Doug
1 month ago

I have been volunteering at the Center For Grieving Children for almost 5 years now. I’m continually amazed by the courage and kindness of our participants in their journey of healing from a devastating loss.

Amy Brewer
1 month ago

Great organization!

Kasey Huntress
1 month ago

The Center is such an important resource and support for the communities in Maine they serve. Thank you for all that you do!

Barbara Eberhardt
1 month ago

So thankful for CGC – was involved years ago, before moving away; visited Portland this Sept and drove by CGC on a Sun – took pictures of that beautiful, restful garden with steps up to door. congratulations!! Soooo important.

Anne Walker
1 month ago

I first heard of your center when one of my children’s friends spoke of it after losing her Dad. She was only in the third grade but could speak articulately about the kindness and the help she received. I fully support your mission and the beautiful work that you do. Thank you.

Victoria Place
1 month ago

A wonderful organization making great strides!

Meg Palmer
1 month ago

CFGC has my vote

Justin Fenty
1 month ago

I’m rooting for this effort- good luck!

Kristin Swanson
1 month ago

What an amazing cause, thank you!

Cara
1 month ago

Thank you for being place of comfort and healing in a time of need.

Sarah Toomey
1 month ago

This is a very worthy organization. Thanks for sharing your story NHIG!

Shawn Fitzgerald
1 month ago

Great cause! You have my vote.

Christina
1 month ago

agree, great organization doing very important work to support children

Laura Gauthier
1 month ago

Thank you for your support of The Center for Grieving Children; you are making quite a difference!

sara
1 month ago

It is such a beautiful & humbling experience working with so many amazing families, volunteers, and staff. Everything about the Center embodies hope, love and respect. It is an honor to be a part of the Center family.

Post Justine
1 month ago

Great work! I used their service s as a teen and am grateful for the services provided to my family.

Lindsey Pfeiffenberger
1 month ago

Grateful to be a new staff member on this wonderful team!

Forrest
1 month ago

Such an amazing foundation!

Ann Boisvert
1 month ago

Wonderful organization! Best of luck!

Susan
1 month ago

Love The Center for Grieving Children and the support it provides.

Jodi
1 month ago

❤ good luck and thank you for the work you do

Chelsi B
1 month ago

CGC will always have my vote!

Philip
1 month ago

Great organization! They help so many!

Patty O'Brien
1 month ago

I’m so grateful to be a part of an organization that offers hope and supports the resilience of children, teens, and families through a peer support family model, at no cost to them, for as long as they need.

Joe Magner
1 month ago

The kids have my vote. I hope they have yours

Catherine MacKinnon
1 month ago

I am very proud to be part of this incredible organization! Thank you NHIG and Liberty Mutual!

Frank Moran
1 month ago

Fantastic cause! This is something that, unfortunately, we’ve all had experience with. Grief shows in many ways and one is not easier than another

Melissa
1 month ago

Love really counts.

Jen
1 month ago

Thankful for the work The Center for Grieving Children does for children and adults.

Terri Miller
1 month ago

Great organization!

Rob Baldacci
1 month ago

Love this. Bobby thanks for all you do!

Jen McCoy
1 month ago

I went to the Center as a child after the death of a family member. It was surprising to see that other kids from my town were there, too, and it made for community outside of school. The Center remains one of the BEST places to heal and connect.

Belamy
1 month ago

Fantastic resource for our community

Jessica Wrigley
1 month ago

Keep doing amazing work, thank you!

Mike Cushman
1 month ago

Keep up the great work.

Anna
1 month ago

This is such a necessary support network and we are grateful for it!

Cecile Tousignant
1 month ago

The webinars are informative and prepare well for encountering the grieving.

Cheryl Gerrish
1 month ago

I am so thankful for the Center for Grieving Children the volunteers and workers give so much of themselves. They have made a major impact in the lives of my daughter and my grandson.

Shannon c
1 month ago

Thank you! A wonderful organization

Jenna Clemishaw
1 month ago

Wonderful organization. Vote! Vote! Vote!

John Gaudet
1 month ago

The Center for Grieving Children has made a tremendous impact by living its mission. So many have been blessed by the Center, its staff, and its volunteers.

Stephanie D
29 days ago

Great Work!

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