A community can help ensure grievers get the help and support they need.
Through a coordinated week of awareness and educational events, GrieveWell seeks to “put grief on the map” by engaging the community in thought, discussion, and action related to grief and grief support.
“Grief Week,” which runs from April 8-12, will feature a range of events including “Candid Conversations about Grief with Rebecca Soffer” on April 9; “The Birdhouse Project” workshop on April 10; an “Open Studio” workshop with Idelle Hammond-Sass on April 12; and a week-long grief art exhibit at local businesses.
By educating individuals about grief and how they can effectively support their loved ones, peers, and acquaintances, GrieveWell seeks to build a community that more effectively supports healthy grieving and healing. The GrieveWell vision is a community in which individuals grieve well so that they can lead a full life after loss.
To reach their vision, the GrieveWell mission is to provide resources and support to individuals in grief — as well as those who surround them — in order to build a community that promotes healthy grieving and healing. Although grief is a natural part of life, it is one for which we are often ill prepared. While there is no right way to grieve, the bereaved are often unaware of things they can do or resources they can utilize to help them “grieve well.”
At the same time, those who surround them are unsure of what they can do to help. By creating conversation around grief, we strive to build a more knowledgeable and compassionate community.
In 2000, Doug and Julie Stotlar’s 6-year-old daughter, Lauren, was killed in a tragic school bus accident. They looked for grief support, but found that what was available in the community — primarily support groups and individual therapy — didn’t match their needs.
Along the way, the Stotlars found that the most meaningful support was connecting individually with other families who had been through a similar loss. In 2010 — in an effort to help others and build hope out of their own tragedy — Doug and Julie founded the Kite Network, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) to support others whose lives have also been darkened by grief. The launch was made possible with the help of a licensed grief professional and a host of dedicated family and friends.
With support from a community of individual and corporate donors, the Kite Network trained a cadre of peer counselors, all of whom experienced a loss in their own lives and moved through their own grief journey. The organization continues to provide support for individuals grieving the loss of children, parents, siblings, close friends, pets, and other loved ones.
Recognizing the need for grief services beyond one-to-one peer support, in 2017 the Kite Network broadened its vision and mission and became GrieveWell. While continuing the one-to-one support program, GrieveWell has developed a range of resources, referrals, and services to expand its community impact and help build a more compassionate community with a greater capacity to support individuals in grief.
April 9 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Candid Conversations about Grief with
124 E Washington St. Ann Arbor, MI 48104
“Hailed by Stephen Colbert and Mindy Kaling, this wise,
irreverent collection of essays offers a road map for
navigating grief in the modern age.”
Join us for an evening of laughter, tears and stories with
Rebecca Soffer, coauthor of critically acclaimed book
“Modern Loss.” Modern Loss features stories from Lucy
Kalanithi (widow of When Breath Becomes Air author
Paul Kalanithi), stylist Stacy London, rocker Amanda
Palmer, Girls writer and comedian Yassir Lester, CNN’s
Brian Stelter, WNBA All-Star Chamique Holdsclaw, Kim
Goldman (sister of Ron Goldman), and Michael Greif
(director of the 2017 Tony Award-winning musical Dear
April 10 7 – 8:30 PM
The Birdhouse Project – $25
Red Cross Building
4624 Packard St. Ann Arbor, MI 48108
The Birdhouse Project is a step-by-step
project to help us identify and find our way
back to life after loss. By seeing how these
blank pieces represent the pieces of our
lives, we can express our weaknesses,
strengths and desires as we symbolically
rebuild our lives, so we are ready to reinvest
in a new life. This building process
encourages us to spend time exploring our
emotions and putting each in its proper
place. Whether we share our feelings or
keep them to ourselves, the important thing
is that we are putting the pieces back
together in a meaningful, constructive way.
To the learn more about Birdhouse Project
April 11 6 – 8 PM
Creative Healing: Yupo Painting
Workshop – $35
4844 Jackson Rd. Suite 100, Ann Arbor, MI
Learn to paint without fear of failure- Yupo is a
plastic paper that erases! The unique surface
allows for all sorts of watercolor painting
techniques with amazing effects-brushing,
scraping, rolling, spraying, stamping to name a few.
After learning the basic textures to apply we will
use what we have learned to paint freely with
cathartic release. Abstract, landscape, floral what
you paint is up to you. Let your inner guide show
you the way!
April 12 8:30 – 9:30 AM
Tea and Conversations about Grief
TeaHaus Ann Arbor
204-206 N 4th Ave. Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Sometimes all you need is a good conversation
and a nice cup of tea. That is why GrieveWell has
created a supportive place for people to come
together and share stories of grief and loss with
others who have been through similar
experiences. Enjoy a cup of tea and join a
conversation with others who have lost a loved
one. GrieveWell staff will be available to answer
questions about our programs, and share
resources about grief.
April 12 2 – 4 PM
Open Studio Workshop – $25
4844 Jackson Rd. Suite 100, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Local artist and jewelry designer Idelle Hammond-Sass will provide a 2-hour Open Studio Workshop that
uses the creative process to facilitate personal growth and emotional processing. This is a unique
opportunity for participants to set aside time to do something strictly for themselves, and to use their
own creativity for self-exploration. There is no judgment and no comments; this is a safe space for
participants to have fun, relax and make some art.
April 12 6 – 8 PM
Grief Art Walk
Starts at Literati Bookstore ends at the
Ann Arbor Distillery
Join us on an art walk through downtown Ann
Arbor to view and discuss the works of local
artists expressing and processing their grief
through art. We will start at Literati Bookstore,
the continue to Blom Meadworks, TeaHaus, and
end at the Ann Arbor Distillery for a local
cocktail. Each location features several unique
works of art accompanied by the artist’s stories
of their grief journey.
Wednesday, April 10 (6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)
Healing Yoga Workshop with Chelsea
Yoga can be an important tool to find healing after a
loss. Grief often manifests itself as stress and anxiety,
along with feelings of isolation and disconnect. Yoga
helps create space to explore emotions while relaxing
the body and relieving the symptoms of grief. In the
words of Karla Helbert “the practice of yoga
addresses self-care, helps to integrate the experience
of loss and supports feelings of connection and
relationship with loved ones who have died.”