The Journey Journal

March 2023

A Tribute to 25 Years of Healing Hearts and Renewing Hope

Join our biggest fundraiser of the year

There's still time to register! Click here to reserve your slot!

Meet Gabi and Astrid

Gabi Keele, LMSW


Gabi Keele is a Licensed Masters Social Worker who has devoted her life to serving underprivileged populations. Gabi has previously worked with Human Trafficking and Sexual Assault survivors. After moving to Texas, Gabi came to JOH with the mission to bring JOH support groups to new areas of DFW by planning the South Dallas Expansion of JOH. She hopes to provide spaces of comfort and support for South/East Dallas communities that will create sustainable change radiating throughout DFW.

Astrid Paola Strong, LPC-Associate


Through volunteering at JOH, Astrid embarked in her own continual journey of discovering and making meaning from experiences related to loss. These experiences ignited her motivation to help families and their children navigating through their own grieving process. Astrid currently conducts intake sessions for families who speak Spanish and will also lead the Tuesday support groups.

Touching More Lives

We are excited to announce our 2023 Strategic Plan to reach 300% more grieving children and family members who are in need of our support, as well as implement our school-based grief support program in 30 schools, by the year 2025! 

 

Thanks to the generosity of the Moody Foundation, Journey of Hope will soon be providing on-site peer grief support groups at the Jubilee Park Community Center and After 8 to Educate, both located in South Dallas. Jubilee Park provides a myriad of services and support for the surrounding underserved community, and After 8 to Educate provides a 24/7 drop-in support center for youth, ages 14-21. In addition, we anticipate providing both training and materials for our school-based program throughout Dallas ISD before the end of the year.

 

We are so excited to expand our program, and we need your support to help us reach our goals by continuing to serve grieving families in our traditional groups, as well as implementing our school-based program in other North Texas school districts.

"I grew up just a few blocks from Jubilee Park's current location. It is great to be a part of JOH as we expand our services to help other communities; especially some of the historically underserved communities like the ones I spent my early years in."


-Anthony Wright, Board Chair

Spotlight: Jill Stoel, Journey Supporter

Our peer support meetings typically start with our families sitting down together for dinner. Families come from all over North Texas, and we want to make sure there is a hot meal waiting when they arrive. Meals are generously provided and served by community partners, organizations, and individuals looking to give back. 

Jill Stoel works for First United Methodist Church in Plano. As the Food Service Manager, she oversees food preparation on site and assists the meal providers.


“With over 40 years of experience in the food service industry, it made sense that I would be the one to help. My husband, Gerry, whom I recently lost, also helped. It was a wonderful time to serve together.”


The dinners are an integral part of our groups. Families catch up with each other and the kids play together, creating lasting bonds with other kids who ‘get it.’ There is an unspoken understanding that they can just be themselves wherever they are in their grief journey.


“I wasn’t a Journey volunteer, but I have several friends that know about Journey, so I knew it was a worthy cause. After losing my husband, I know grief is hard on adults; I can’t imagine a child losing a parent.”


In grief, families are trying to survive each day. We want the dinner on group nights to be one less thing a family has to worry about! Jill understands that after someone important to you dies, you suddenly feel lost with physical and mental changes taking place simultaneously.


“There is a young boy about 10 that always comes in saying he is starving. We give him seconds and thirds if we have enough. He tells us he loves the food and will gladly take some home if we have leftovers.”


We are so appreciative of the volunteers like Jill who make our program possible. Jill’s insights into the families we serve demonstrate how our support groups provide a real connection to people who are in a similar situation.


Jill asks you to join her as a meal provider saying, “In such a short time, you can serve families food for their bodies and kindness for their soul.”

Click here to learn more and sign-up to provide a meal

NEW! Hope Camp – July 22nd

Journey is excited to offer our first day camp for rising 1st graders through 12th graders who are in our program or who have previously attended our support groups! This day will include activities to process grief, remember our loved ones, and build connections with each other.

Be Our Activities Sponsor


It’s often difficult to find words to describe your grief and art helps children better understand and give voice to their experiences. It also allows for meaningful conversations by sharing their projects with their family as they navigate their grief together.

Be Our Lunch Sponsor


We are anticipating 100 participants, plus volunteers, who will need to be served lunch. We'd like provide a healthy and filling lunch where they can talk about what is on their mind and create sustainable friendships with others who have had a similar experience.

Make a Monetary Donation


Your generous donations will go towards other necessary items such as snacks, meal supplies, water bottles, activity books, nametags, and more. These supplies can cost anywhere from $100 to $500.


Click here to help now


We need your help to make Hope Camp run effectively and efficiently! Consider volunteering for one or more of the following positions. We appreciate you.


For questions, concerns, or to sign-up as a volunteer, please click here to email Kerri Newman, Program Director at kerri@johgriefsupport.org.

A big thank you to First Unitarian Church of Dallas for featuring us as their Sunday Giveback Recipient. Their generous congregation donated a total of $7,778.62! Your contributions are invaluable to the children and families we currently serve and those we will serve in the future. You matter and we appreciate you.

Finding Comfort at Home

After a death, we miss the presence of our person throughout our homes. We look for them in their special chairs, playing in the room, or kicking a ball outside and home doesn’t feel the same.


"My house feels lonely, quiet, and sad without my dad," says 3rd grade participant, Joshua.


Joshua drew a picture of his home and the places he misses his dad and the places he finds comfort and connection to him. 

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