By Avani Papadopoulos
If you’re looking to be a helpful hand to people in need, Brooke’s Place is a non-profit organization that supports young people and their families who are distressed about a passing. It offers different services for those affected like the Grief Support Group Program, Therapy Services, etc.
It started in 1998 when a licensed family therapist, Pamela J. Wright, realized that many grieving children didn’t have any services to look to for support. Four years earlier, on October 31, 1994, American Eagle Flight #4184 crashed in a field in Roselawn, Indiana, killing everybody aboard. Among those who died in the accident was Thomas H. Wright, a family friend of Pamela’s. Pamela saw how the tragedy struck the Wright’s two children, Brooke and Brent. Brooke, 13 at the time, benefited from existing coping services while Brent, a college-senior, had no support groups available to him.
Aware of the need for more support group programs for the Wright’s children and other families like them, Pamela decided to develop a grieving center in Indianapolis. Later, Brooke was asked to give her name to the organization, hence the name, “Brooke’s Place.”
Volunteers meet at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church as well as Westside Church twice every month at each location. If you choose to volunteer, you will get a schedule of which day/where you should meet.
Volunteers who are 16 are eligible to be group facilitators (take care of the groups and lead them in group activities). But if you’re under 16, don’t worry, you can still take part in the action! The Brooke’s Place buddies take part in setting up, serving food to the group, and tearing down. You could also be a librarian who manages the books during group time.
Brooke’s Place gives people the chance to grieve and heal through caring and acceptance. It helps decrease the feeling of loneliness when going through the grieving process. It also encourages you to develop healthy coping skills, and you get to know others that are there to support you and understand some of what you’re going through.
The Grief Support Group Program is a program where everybody is able to share and express their emotions in manageable ways. The groups are split up based on age because a teenager will express thoughts differently from a six year old, same as how a boy will differently from a girl.
The night starts off with dinner being served at 6:30 p.m. Then, at 7, the people are able to share the story of the person close to them who died in an “opening circle.” They are also allowed to share anything else they want to, like accomplishments and things they are proud of since the last time they came.
During group time, everybody will get the chance to go to the “Expression Room,” where they will be able to express themselves through arts, crafts, and writing. They will also visit the “Volcano Room,” where they can get their emotions out physically by hitting punching bags and ripping up phone books and paper/popping bubble wrap. The night ends with a closing circle and a song at 8:15 p.m.
Brooke’s Place has helped 19,000 people and their families since 1999, and it could really use your help too!
Image courtesy of the Indianapolis Star