Hope Grows Here
Jenny lost her brother Jeff when he was just shy of his 18th birthday.
By: Bree Simmers
She has experienced bereavement first hand at a young age, and it has affected the rest of her life. Jennifer Kaplan Schreiber (Jenny) is the Founder of Jeff’s Place, a nonprofit organization in her brother’s name that helps children, teens and their families through the grieving process and offers a bereavement center based in Wayland. Services are provided at no charge to participants.
“My brother died in 1983 and there was no support back then. We tried individual counseling right after his death, but it was not a good fit for either of us. We needed ‘normalcy’. Back then, no one talked about death, especially when it was a child who died. It was a very isolating experience,” recalls Jenny.
Jenny is not alone. She explained, “In the United States, approximately 2.5 million children, 3.5% of children under the age of 18, have experienced the death of parent. There is a huge need (for bereavement services).”
Eighteen year-old Allison is familiar with experiencing bereavement at a young age.
"Two years ago, I received a call from my dad's family in New York saying that he had a heart attack the night before and died instantly. I was sixteen. I was weak. I was lost...”
Allison was then introduced to Jeff’s Place.
"Hope grows here," said Allison. "The hope that sprouts and grows at Jeff's Place is something that one takes away for life, holding onto it during those times of overwhelming exhaustion and loss of faith. Once our hope has grown, it can never wilt and fade away. It gets us up in the morning. It's what makes us go on."
Allison is now a Junior Facilitator at Jeff’s Place, giving back to the center that gave her hope not so long ago.
Jeff’s Place opened its doors in September 2010 and started out helping six grieving families. Since then, they have supported more than 40 bereaved children and families at their Wayland location.
“We truly appreciative the ongoing support the Foundation of MetroWest has provided our grassroots organization,” said Jenny. “Without the Foundation’s belief in our mission and model, we would not have been able to grow at the speed we have, which has enabled us to provide the highest quality services for bereaved children and their families in MetroWest.”
To learn more about the Foundation's Family Support grants, click here.
Foundation for MetroWest is proud to support Jeff’s Place and its ongoing efforts toward program development, education, training, supervision and client intervention to help children, teens and families through the grieving process.