About The Healing Place
We are a non-profit facility that provides ongoing education and grief support to children ages 3-19 and their families who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Our services are provided free of charge to all participants.
History of The Healing Place
The development of The Healing Place began in March 2001, when the founding members of The Healing Place, watched a 20/20 documentary of The Dougy Center, The National Center for Grieving Children and Families located in Portland, Oregon. After viewing the video, the founding members (all local counselors) organized a meeting of those in Colbert, Lauderdale and Franklin counties who were providing grief support services. The purpose of the meeting was to learn how the needs of grieving children and families were being met in this area. It was determined that grieving children were "falling through the cracks," and there was a need for a facility to be established to meet the unmet needs of grieving children.
During the fall of 2001, a Board of Directors was established and began meeting and planning to develop the grief center. The Hospice of the Shoals graciously donated $60,000 to fund the start-up of The Healing Place. The Healing Place: A Center for Loss & Change was incorporated on September 27, 2001. The Healing Place opened on January 8, 2002, and the first group was held on January 22, 2002. The Healing Place received non-profit 501 (c)(3) status in May 2002.
We have grown dramatically since our inception. During our first year, we had one counselor on staff, who also served as the Director, and served 18 students at two local elementary schools. In the last ten years, we have grown to serve over 360 students at 42 local schools. We also now provide weekly family grief support services at our new facility in Muscle Shoals. As a result of our growth, we have added three counselors, a team of interns from the University of North Alabama graduate school counseling program, and a Development Director to ensure the long term financial stability of the organization.
Before The Healing Place the majority of the children/teens:
Have difficulty talking about the deceased loved one/death of loved one
Experience anger, guilt
Have difficulty sleeping
Have a hard time concentrating on schoolwork
Feel alone, like they are the only one grieving
After The Healing Place the majority of the children/teens:
Are able to talk about the death of their loved one
Learn healthy ways to resolve anger and guilt
Do not feel alone anymore
Our Goals and Strategies
The Healing Place is committed to offering support to grieving children and families in an atmosphere of trust and acceptance in order to promote a sense of well-being and productivity in its participants.
Decrease at-risk behaviors that are the result of normal grief and/or unsupported, complicated, and unresolved grief.
Increase the healthy and appropriate expression of emotions related to the grief process.
Create a network of peer support for children and their caregivers dealing with the death of a significant person in their life.
Child Centered Activities Related to the Grief Process. Bereavement Support Groups will include activities that encourage the expressing of emotions and experiences related to the grief process. These activities will be focused on the child and are designed individually to meet the needs of each bereavement support group.
Activities that Encourage Peer Support. Activities designed for the bereavement support groups create cohesiveness among children and their caregivers, so they will have a support network outside of the group setting.
Our mission is to offer support to grieving children and families in an atmosphere of trust and acceptance in order to promote a sense of well-being and productivity in our participants. At The Healing Place, our focus is children aged 3-19 and their families who have experienced the death of a loved one including a sibling, a parent, grandparent, friend, or other loved one that may need support or guidance in dealing with the grief associated with the loss.
The Healing Place and Hospice of the Shoals, two non-profit providers of bereavement services, formed a "partnership of compassion" to offer invaluable support to the bereaved of Colbert, Franklin and Lauderdale Counties.
The Healing Place has strong partnerships with local schools that refer children for our grief services, provide meeting space at their schools for the grief support sessions, and help evaluate the impact of the program with the children at their schools. Our partnering schools include the Muscle Shoals School District, the Lauderdale County School District, the Colbert County School District, the Franklin County School District, the Florence City Schools, the Tuscumbia City Schools, the Russellville City Schools, and the Sheffield City Schools.
Diversity & Inclusion
The Healing Place is committed to ensuring that our grief support resources are accessible, welcoming, and relevant to all members of our community. The Healing Place does not discriminate based on such characteristics as race, gender, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, culture, disability, age, creed, religion, economic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and all other identities represented in our diverse community. The Healing Place acknowledges that grief does not exist in a vacuum untouched by cultural and societal influence, and that marginalized communities are often disproportionately impacted by grief. Our goal is to provide a safe place for all children and families who are grieving a death, with increased recognition of societal, cultural, and historical factors that may impact grief and access to services.