February 2002/ The Need
Our Professional Liaison, Kathleen Braun-staff chaplain at Mission Hospital for fifteen years now, was a grief group facilitator at St Killian from 2001-2003. In 2003 Kathleen encouraged myself, Adele Canzano, and Madeline Tannelhill, to start a grief group for children and their families when we could not find any support for Madeline’s children after the loss of their father.
On July 24, 2003 the complete staff of GPFK underwent a three-day training specific to children’s and family grief conducted by the Youth Services Director of The Center for Attitudinal Healing. Since 2003 we have served over 200 families. In July of 2004 I attended a weeklong workshop at the national children’s grieving center, The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon and became certified as a Grief Program Developer. Kathleen Braun-staff chaplain at Mission Hospital and our Profession Liaison continues to play an integral role in GPFK.
2003/ /Incorporation/Non-profit status/Housing/Volunteer Training/ Fundraising/ Board of Directors/ Opening
On February 13, 2003, GPFK was incorporated and in July 2003 received its 501(c) (3) non-profit status. On July 24, 2003 twelve volunteer facilitators, the Board of Directors and Professional Liaison underwent a three-day training specific to children’s grief conducted by The Youth Services Director of Children’s Grief from the Center For Attitudinal Healing.
With the additional help of friends, newspaper articles, family and a successful fund raising campaign Gary’s Place For Kids opened its doors in September 2003 at The Family Resource Center in Mission, Viejo, CA.
Need for larger facility/ Invitation to be housed at The Bell Tower Community Center, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Within nine months Gary’s Place For Kids outgrew The Family Resource Center. At that time the organization had served over seventy grieving families. In December of 2004 the organization moved to the Bell Tower Community Center, in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.
Invitation by Department of Chaplainry of Mission Hospital to be housed at the Mission Conference Center in Mission Viejo, CA
On February 4, 2008, Gary’s Place For Kids had its first meeting in its new home, the Mission Conference Center. The collaboration of GPFK and Mission Hospital’s Department of Chaplainry has been extremely beneficial in serving grieving families.
As of February 2008, GPFK has served over two hundred grieving families. With strong roots in Orange County CA, GPFK looks to establish itself as the foremost grief and training center in Orange County CA.
Current Outreach Project 2008-2011
Educate the Orange County School System to the needs of the grieving child.