Jeff’s Place has a slew of exciting updates, as we finish out yet another unprecedented year! Since March 2020, Jeff’s Place has offered fully virtual programming, and while this year has been an ongoing test in patience and adaptability, we are proud to have remained steadfast in our commitment to offering spaces of hope within the personal and collective grief of our community.
This year has taught us much about what it means to stay connected, in a world of social isolation. We are grateful for these lessons and will carry them with us for many years to come. But we are also so very excited to be together once again. Thank you for being part of our village.
Hope Grows Here Celebration
We were thrilled to have our community come together for the first time in a long time on Sunday, May 23rd at our Hope Grows Here Celebration, which doubled as a debut showing off our new home! The afternoon was filled with music, games, eating Cookie Monstah ice cream and cooling off with Kona Ice, as well as a hard hat tour of our space, and a viewing of our new custom mosaic.
Construction is moving towards the home stretch, and we cannot wait to be together again soon, to share the finished product! We are grateful to all who attended, our sponsors, and our families, for your support and for celebrating this milestone with us. Thanks for making Jeff‘s Place so special; each of you are what will make this house a home.
As this year comes to a close, we are thrilled to say goodbye to zoom groups and look forward to gathering in person again this fall. On Monday, June 14th we ran our final drive through event, where our families stopped by to say hello, goodbye, and to pick up their summer survival swag bag. It was wonderful to see so many families come out! We were even able to hand out our “Hope Grows Here” rocks for a few families that are stepping down, as is our tradition when a family leaves our program.
This spring we dove headfirst into all things movement, with our GriefMOVES Initiative! Madison Janke, our resident Dance/Movement consultant this spring, helped champion our movement goals by observing our groups, creating an extensive digital library of movement-based interventions for facilitators, and by being the wonderful host of our 12-week “Movement Monday” social media series, engaging the community with weekly movement challenges!
In February, we were able to provide Fitbits to each child/teen in our program. For the months of March, April, and May, we held a series of step-related challenges, and we are pleased to announce the top step-getters for each month!!
March – Connor M.
April – Dominic B.
May – Brianna E.
And a huge thanks to everyone who joined in on the fun, and submitted step-logs!
Our hope through this initiative was to offer some pathways back towards movement, to use our bodies to move through some of the big feelings that come along with grief.
We hope you’ll keep moving with us.
“I think it helped to motivate me to WANT to move more. Especially with the pandemic, finding motivation to exercise was more difficult.”
– JP Participant
Staff Celebrations & Goodbyes!
As this program year comes to a close, we have some celebrations and some hard goodbyes. We want to recognize our Clinical Director, Melissa Kennedy Panto, who celebrated her 10th year with us! She sends her heartfelt gratitude to all those who reached out to honor this milestone. She also appreciates the continued special connection with the families and community.
(Pictured here below with a few of our past participants!)
We also have some hard goodbyes. Our Program Director, Aliya Kleiner, has been with our program for over five years and will be leaving this position. Over her tenure, she’s brought her spunk, her compassion, her laughter, and her dedication to our families. As Jeff’s Place has made a special place in her heart, we are glad to say she will continue as a facilitator in one of our groups. We will miss her daily presence, but are so excited about her ongoing connection.
Also, a special shout out to some facilitators who are saying goodbye as well. For years they have selflessly shared their time and their hearts with our families.
They will be greatly missed!
Wishing the whole of our community a summer of rejuvenation! We cannot wait to welcome you into our new home with open arms. Keep a look out for updates on a Grand Opening!
– Your Jeff’s Place Family