HISTORY OF THE LOWER MAINLAND GRIEF RECOVERY SOCIETY (LMGRS)
In 1984 hospice and palliative care programs were in their infancy. These programs supported those who were dying; however, there were virtually no resources to support those who were grieving. The Lower Mainland Grief Recovery Programs began with a pilot project in Burquitlam in 1983. The initial project was very successful and well received. The Burquitlam program then formed a society. The dream was then to expand the program to other areas of greater Vancouver so individuals could receive the bereavement support they needed in their local community.
By the late ’80s and early ’90s the programs were expanded to the North Shore, Kerrisdale, Downtown Vancouver and Richmond. The Lower Mainland Grief Recovery Society was formed under the Society’s Act in 1990. The Society was constituted to be the supportive and fundraising organization for these community based programs. The Burquitlam Grief Recovery Society closed when the local hospice organizations developed their own bereavement components.
Early in the development of the programs, the need for ongoing education and recruitment of facilitators was identified. The first of the educational workshops was held in 1986. The LMGRS continues this commitment to the education of facilitators and the general public.
The LMGRS programs were originally based on the content of Larry Yeagley’s Grief Recovery Manual. The basis of the program is for the participants to be able to talk and write about what has happened and to create a safe environment in which they are able to express their feelings.
The LMGRS is committed to the communities we serve. The programs certainly impact the individuals who attend, but the impact doesn’t stop there. It extends to their families, friends and neighbours. Our grief support programs are like dropping a pebble in the water. The ripples go out and we do not know where they will end and what will be the full impact on the larger community.
MEET YOUR BOARD OF LMGRS DIRECTORS FOR 2017 – 2018
President: Chris Newell
Chris has led workshops in personal development, career management, life skills, job search, and transition/loss for over 17 years. She has been involved with LMGRS since 2008 as a Grief Support Group Facilitator and in the last several years as a board member and grief educator.
Chris comes to this work with a deep understanding of the heartbreak of loss.
ALL kinds of loss!
Secretary & Memberships: Morgyn Chandler
Morgyn Chandler has served on the Board of Directors of the LMGRS since 2013. She is a Partner with Hammerberg Lawyers LLP and works exclusively in the area of personal injury law. In her practice she helps people who have suffered injuries in various types of accidents, and also works with families pursuing claims on behalf of deceased loved ones.
Morgyn’s law practice has given her a deep appreciation for the physical and emotional hurdles faced by people who have suffered loss.
Treasurer: Melanie Schroeder
Melanie brings her strong understanding of accounting and counselling to the LMGRS. She leads a busy life with work, volunteering and parenting.
Facilitator Liaison: Deb Balcome
Debbie has served on the Board of Directors since June 2017 and has been a Grief Support Group Facilitator since June 2016.
She is a Writing Guide in her business, Rain Down Words and offers Grief and Loss Writing to Heal.
Debbie’s personal journey through grief began after her husband died. This process has provided her with the insight and passion to share her story and to create a space where other people can share theirs.
She volunteers with the Kits Community Breakfast Program for the Homeless and also volunteered with VGH on the Palliative Care Ward
Debbie is a rain lover, so Vancouver is a perfect place for her to call home!
Our facilitators are: Chris Newell, Carolyn Main, Deb Balcome, Kathy Schretlen, Jude Platzer, Ann Caulfield and Suzanne Belanger (currently in training).