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Published as a Public Service by REM, Convenor of Collaborative Community Enterprises Fall 2007


Empower Young People

Hope's Place Has Grown Again!!

By Dale Marie Clark

Hope's Place Peer Support Group

Hope's Place is a program of Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area (HVWA) for grieving children 3 18 years. Shown here is a peer-support group of 6 9 year olds recently served by HVWA. Standing in back are facilitators Terri Gogan of Shawmut; Akeba Mermey of Manchester; Karen Andrews of Waterville, and Catherine Ladd of Oakland.

Hope's Place for grieving children and teens has grown significantly since it was launched in July 2005. Last spring, on nights that Hope's Place was in session, our Hospice Community Center, at 304 Main Street in Waterville, was bursting at the seams with nearly 80 people at one time. We were using every room in the building to accommodate groups even the hallway! The children did not have enough suitable places to do their art and play activities, display their creations, or "get messy" with paint and glue! There was also a need for a "Glad to Get Mad Area" where kids and sometimes adults could blow off steam in a safe and private space! We had dreams about how we could create additional space for Hope's Place, and this summer our dreams became reality!

Earlier this year the house and land next door, at 302 Main Street, became available for purchase. After careful inspection and discussion, our capable Buildings and Grounds Committee advised the Board of Directors that the property could serve well as a location for Hope's Place. In addition, the United Way of Mid Maine approved a grant that will make it possible for us to create a "Glad to Get Mad" area and the Center for Grieving Children in Portland donated their anger room padding and other materials when they moved to a new location early this year so we are all set with those as well!

A group of dedicated volunteers under the leadership of Chuck Lakin has been working on the building this fall and has made great progress. Hope's Place's new space will be ready to accept its first new visitors by November. An open house of the new facility will be held in conjunction with our annual Lights for Life tree-lighting ceremony at the Hospice Community Center on Thursday December 6, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Volunteers will provide tours, refreshments and entertainment. All are welcome!

Hope's Place is a peer support program offered by Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area for grieving children and teens. For more information about participating in or volunteering at Hope's Place, contact Deb Thurston ( 873-3615 X 11 or dthurston@hvwa.org) or visit us online. We are grateful to our donors, local businesses who have donated building materials and to the volunteers whose efforts have made this new home for Hope's Place possible.

Editor's Note: Dale Marie Clark is Executive Director of Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area, a non-profit organization that serves 27 communities in central Maine. Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area promotes quality of life by providing non-medical support to individuals and their families at the end-of-life, support to grieving individuals, and education and support for the community regarding issues related to death and grieving. Bereavement services are available to anyone who has sustained loss either through illness or unexpectedly. HVWA is volunteer based and community funded.