Hope for Grieving Families

EIN: 81-3307448

Mission Statement

The mission of Hope For Grieving Families is to provide peer-to-peer support for families with children in the Washington DC Metro area who have lost a parent, parental figure, or sibling. Regular events throughout the year welcome, connect and support families in their journey of loss.

Funds are being raised to provide Metro DC’s only family-focused grief programming to give families new, positive memories and experiences in the wake of the loss of their loved one and give them the tools they need as a family unit to navigate their grief journey together in a healthy way.

Program Summary

We accomplish our mission through monthly events planned for the Hope community that cultivate friendships for both the children and parents/caregivers. Hope provides at least one event each month for our families.  Activities have included events such as a Coding Party, Theater outings, Trampoline nights, trips to the Nationals, and more including our annual signature event, the Fall Family Fun Festival for 100+ people that takes place the Sunday before Thanksgiving every year. It’s our way of launching the holiday season with some happy memories for our grieving families. Our events, both big and small, are intended to create fun, happy memories for our families and provide peer to peer support that creates understanding, comfort and friendship.

One of our other signature programs is our collaboration with Outward Bound. Each Summer we send a group of teens to Outward Bound for a 7 day expedition.  We intend to repeat this program again in 2024.  These outings allow the kids to create wonderful friendships that can be lifechanging for them.  Children experience grief differently than adults and allowing grieving teens to connect with each other creates not only a special bond of friendship, but also help these children build coping skills, learn self-advocacy and increased resilience from these peer support groups

Hope created a Holiday gifting program sending Christmas Gifts to over 50 grieving children within our community.  Holiday gifts were delivered both in person and by mail to children who have lost a parent or sibling.  This program reflects one our goals of community and family.  The gifts ensure that our families don’t feel so alone during the holiday season and know that their Hope family is always there for them.

Finally, Hope partners with local Funeral Homes to provide Teddy Bears for children to be given when they experience the loss of a parent, sibling or close loved one.  This program allows us to support these children in a time of need.  A past recipient of the bears stated, “When we unexpectedly lost my husband, my boys were given teddy bears from HFGF at the funeral home. It was such an unexpected gesture of comfort for my kids who were grieving the loss of their dad. I don’t have a lot of memories of those few days but the teddy bears always stick out in my mind as a huge comfort not just to my kids but to me as well. That small act of kindness for my kids made me feel so supported.”  We hope that when the time is right, they will join our community to continue feeling supported in their grief journey.

Impact Statement

Hope strives to build a community of support for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one.

Many participants in our events stated that while loss is not always part of the conversations, having that shared understanding of loss helps to bring comfort and support.  For children, it eliminates the feeling that they alone have lost someone and provides the friendship and support they need to move forward.  A teen member stated that he was sad from the unexpected loss of his father.  He came to one of our events and said “together we created friendships that I didn’t even know were possible.  You helped me so much and for that I am forever thankful!”

Hope events are always free for grieving families.  We never want cost to be a barrier for our families.

Peer to peer support is an important aspect of the grief journey these families are on.  We aim to support these families in feeling less alone, supported and provide understanding, while also providing an opportunity for these families to make some happy new memories together.

What ways can the public get involved?

The public can get involved in a few ways.  First, Hope for Grieving Families welcomes volunteers during some times of the year. Please reach out to us for timing and opportunities.

Second, if you are a local business that can provide an inkind donation that would support Hope for Grieving Families, we welcome the donation or an introduction.

Finally, we are always looking for Board Members that would like to help us further our mission and grow.

For any of the above opportunities, please contact the Executive Director, Tara O’Brien.

How are charitable dollars spent? Where does my donation go?

Donations to Hope for Grieving Families will go directly to supporting our monthly events for our grieving families, as well as our Teddy Bear Program.  We do not receive any government funding at this time, so all donations are helpful and welcomed.

Information provided February 2024