About Joel's Place for Children
Joel’s Place is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, free-of-charge bereavement center offering multiple grief support services for children in their grief journey. Joel’s Place was founded and operates on the belief that it is helpful and healing for grieving children and their families to share their stories, memories, experiences, thoughts, and feelings with other grieving children. Joel’s Place offers the only free on-going grief support program in West Side and East Side locations in the greater Cleveland area.
Part of the operating philosophy at Joel’s Place is:
• Grief is a natural reaction to the death of a loved one.
• The duration and intensity of grief are unique for each individual.
• In a safe and supportive environment, people have a natural capacity to heal.
• Moving through the grief journey is not about letting go; it is about finding ways to incorporate memories of the deceased and their legacy into one’s life so that over time the loss is less painful.
• Essential to our work is a guiding belief that the support group environment can be a source of empathy, understanding and encouragement to grieving children during a very difficult time in their lives.
Joel’s Place for Children was conceived by Kathy Stellato, RN, who lives on the east side of Cleveland and Mary Willhite, LSW, who lives on the west side of Cleveland.
After working together, we decided to create our own non-profit that would meet the needs of children who had experienced the death of a loved one. To start, we extensively studied the nationally recognized Dougy Center of Portland, Oregon, the teachings of Dr. Alan Wolfelt, founder of the Center of Loss & Life Transition. After obtaining our advanced bereavement facilitator certificates, we felt ready to offer our services to grieving children on the West Side of Cleveland.
Joel's Place could not have started without the generous support of many. Bay Presbyterian Church of Bay Village generously opened their doors to us in September 2003, and we have been holding support groups there ever since. Two support groups were formed with the help of trained facilitators, and we began providing support services to three families.
To model healing behavior for our children, we named our organization Joel’s Place for Children. Of the hundreds of organizations across the country who are modeled after the Dougy Center, most are named in memory of a loved one, and we are no exception.
Joel Willhite, the namesake of Joel's Place for Children
Volunteering at Joel's Place
Do you want to get involved by volunteering or donating? Find out more about volunteering at Joel's Place for Children.
Joel's Place for Children
P.O. Box 180
Avon, OH 44011
How To Help
As a charitable organization, supplies for the office, children's rooms and teen rooms are always needed. If you are able to donate any of these supplies on our Wish List, Joel's Place would be extremely grateful!
You can also donate money directly to Joel's Place by clicking on the secure link to PayPal below.