Ele’s Place is a nonprofit, community-based organization whose mission is to create awareness of and support for grieving children and their families. Because death crosses all religious, cultural and economic boundaries, Ele’s Place is committed to reaching out to all grieving children and their families throughout Mid-Michigan. The organization provides group support services at no charge.
Each week at Ele’s Place, more than 230 children find a warm and welcoming place to meet new friends who really understand how they feel. In addition, almost 100 grieving children this year will connect with each other in their schools through the new Ele’s Group school-based program. Together, they learn how to cope with their grief and begin to heal.
This is why more than 320 members of our community spent an evening at the Country Club of Lansing supporting the 15th Annual Ele’s Place Fall Reception. Many in the room had attended all 15 Fall Receptions, but for several others, this was their first. Many had attended a Tour of the Heart to learn about the programs that Ele’s Place provides. Others were invited to attend by a member of the host committee. Some had learned about Ele’s Place from a coworker or friend whose family received services at Ele’s Place.
Many in the room, like myself, came for an additional reason. We came to honor our friend and former Ele’s Place board member Kevin A. Kelly, who passed away in late 2008. Kelly was a treasured member of the Ele’s Place board of directors from January 1, 1997, to December 31, 2002, and served as board chair in 2000. It was his vision that originated this signature reception, bringing the community together for one night to support grieving children. Kelly was a passionate advocate for the Ele’s Place mission, and he will be greatly missed, but never forgotten, by the staff, board, friends and families of Ele’s Place. I am sure that attendees left that evening knowing why Ele’s Place is so important to our community.
The evening was hosted by Tim Staudt and Becky Dantonio, who both give so generously of their time in our community — not unlike Michigan State University president Lou Anna K. Simon, who was the evening’s featured speaker. Each year, a family who has received services at Ele’s Place is asked to share their story at the fall event, helping the attendees learn firsthand how much Ele’s Place means to the children and families they serve every day.
I hope all of you will contact Ele’s Place, take a Tour of the Heart and learn for yourselves how Ele’s Place serves children and families. For additional information, contact Ele’s Place at (517) 482-1315 or www.elesplace.org.