The Journey Journal

December 2022

In this issue:

  • Embracing Traditions
  • Spotlight: Gina Hadly
  • Candlelight Remembrance
  • Journey in the Media
  • 20th Annual Swing Fore Hope Golf Tournament

Embracing Traditions

During the holidays, grief can feel especially heavy. Some families have told us that the anticipation of the holidays is sometimes harder than the day itself. We encourage everyone to give themselves grace throughout the holiday season.

“My mom always made the best Christmas dinner. Christmas was always my favorite holiday, but this year, I’ve been worried knowing mom won’t be here. I know things will look different, and it already feels sad and weird,” says 12-year-old Julie.

After experiencing the death of a loved one, some families choose to keep their traditions the same while other families choose to change up their holiday traditions. Every year, we host a Family Night where families create a special craft to remember their loved one and talk about ways to honor them throughout the holidays. At Journey of Hope, we encourage families to focus on embracing grief and holiday traditions because we can miss our loved one AND still be excited for the holidays.

“I was scared to talk to my family about what we should do without my mom this year. At Family Night, our facilitator asked us what we wanted to change, I got the courage to bring it up. I ended up finding out that everyone in my family had been thinking the same thing- everything felt off without her. Talking about it made us all a little less anxious.”

Julie and her family decided they would honor their mom by starting a new tradition—each year her family selects a special ornament that represents their love for their mom to place on their tree!

Spotlight: Gina Hadly, Board Chair

When asked to serve on Journey of Hope’s Board of Directors, Gina Hadly hesitated; she had never served on a board before and wasn’t sure what to expect. Fortunately for us, she overcame her initial reluctance and accepted the invitation. As she looks back on her time with Journey, she's never regretted her decision.  

Gina and her family first came to Journey in 2006 after the death of her husband. Gina later "paid it forward" by becoming a Group Facilitator. Several years later, she joined the Journey Board. 

“I’ve felt privileged to serve as the Board Chair for the last 2 years. As a group I think the board has continued to evolve. With the help of our awesome staff, we have made great strides in areas of fundraising, board governance, program expansion, and community outreach.” 

And then, along came COVID. “One of the biggest challenges we faced was continuing to evolve our support during COVID and then transitioning from virtual groups back to in-person meetings.” Looking back, Gina feels the flexibility of the staff and the facilitators made all the difference. 

Gina’s time with Journey has positively impacted her personal growth and created life-long relationships and memories. “I’ve grown personally as I adjusted my leadership to working within a volunteer organization. Some of my best memories are the friendships I’ve developed with other board members who I never would have met had I not joined the board.” 

After serving six years on the board, and two as board chair, Gina is stepping down. The good new is that she plans to stay involved with Journey. Our board recently completed a strategic planning session and Gina is helping to implement the outcomes-based survey process in order to better assess the effectiveness of our programs. 

My dream is that we continue to expand our services both in our traditional peer- to-peer support groups, as well as our new in school programs, so that all children who experience the death of a loved one receive our help.” 

During Gina’s term, we have brought on new staff members, expanded our board of directors, increased our donor base and increased our engagement with other groups in the community.

“These are exciting times for Journey of Hope. With the continuous support of donors and volunteers, the sky’s the limit with what we can achieve.” 

Gina, your tenure here is nicely described in this quote from Dr. Henry Cloud, "Always leave things better than you found them...especially people". Thank you for your time and dedication to Journey of Hope. Your contribution has been invaluable.

Come together with others who are grieving and to light a candle in memory of your loved one. This is a wonderful opportunity to remember someone while navigating your grief during the holidays. 

This event is open to the public.

"Last year, I held a candle and got to say my brother's name out loud in the microphone. His picture was even on the big screen! It was sad, but I liked doing it with my family. We are going this year too."


Please RSVP by clicking here or emailing

Journey in the Media

Two Journey families shared a little about their grief journey with KERA. We appreciate both of these families willingness to talk about their experiences and Journey of Hope's support groups. This lets others know they aren't alone and informs other families about Journey's free resources.

Listen or read the full story here
Visit our Website
Make a Donation
Facebook      Instagram      LinkedIn      Twitter