A Mind of Innovation and a Heart of Service

Unity is a 501 c(3) nonprofit provider of comprehensive end-of-life care that includes hospice, palliative and grief support across 13 counties throughout Northeast Wisconsin. With a mind of innovation and a heart of service, Unity’s grief support program served over 8,500 people in 2018 and has engaged in work to assess unmet grief needs to determine how we can best serve our community. The energy and passion around this commitment made attending the National Alliance of Grieving Children Symposium in Salt Lake City at the end of June an excellent opportunity!

 

Unity Hospice Service Map

Unity Hospice provides care in 13 counties in Northeast WI

 

Generations – Hope for Grieving Families

My name is Jenny Boeckman MSE, LPC, and I have served as a Grief Counselor at Unity for over 13 years. With the support of many Unity staff and volunteers, Michelle Miller MSE, LPC and I started Generations, Unity’s program for grieving families with children, ten years ago. Generations has grown and evolved over the years and most recently, with feedback from participants and investment from our volunteers, Unity has made the commitment to expand our child and family support program to serve ages 4-18 and move from a monthly offering to twice a month. The Symposium provided a wealth of programming ideas which will be put into practice already in September!  Michelle also had the opportunity to share her programming ideas which will enhance other programs. The open sharing of ideas, tools, and expertise will positively impact the continued skill development for our staff and volunteer team as we continue to grow Generations.

Caring Too Much to NOT Do This Work

Many of those around Symposium tables shared the common experience of being out and about in their communities and being asked “What do you?” Once it is noted that we work with grieving kids, the inquirer quickly responds with one of these statements – “I could never do what you do.”  “That must be so hard and sad.”  “Good for you.”  “I am too sensitive and care too much about kids to do that kind of work.” I heard someone at the Symposium note that all those in the room care too much to NOT do this work. I thought, YES!   That is absolutely my experience! I, along with my Unity colleagues and colleagues throughout the country,  care too much about grieving children and families to avoid wading into grief’s depth.  We are honored to do this work and while there is sadness there is so much hope! Hope in the smiles shared by kids who have experienced life’s worst and still play. Hope in deep breaths of relief taken when a kid knows they are not alone.

 

Unity Generation Children Grief Program

Unity Grief Counselor and Generations attendees

 

Empowered and Inspired: Unity’s Grief Support

Throughout the Symposium breakout sessions, forums, large group presentations and informal gatherings, it was clear that all the participants were on the same team – a team committed to providing caring grief support to children, teens and families. After spending three days with so many hearts for grieving children, Michelle and I were swimming in ideas and hopes for our community. Empowered and inspired, we returned to Unity ready to do the work we care too much not to do.

If you are looking for additional information about grief, Unity has several resources available on our website for supporting children and adults through grief. Or you can also call into the Unity office for additional support.

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