What’s happening at BFO-MR?

The fall was a busy and exciting time for Bereaved Families of Ontario – Midwestern Region. We are pleased to share the following update:

Butterfly Release Walk to Remember
Thank you to everyone who joined us on Sunday September 10 at Williamsburg Cemetery and Dedication Centre for our 20th annual Butterfly Release Walk to Remember. It was a beautiful day and we were grateful for the opportunity to remember together. Please click here for pictures from this year’s event.

Children & Grief Conference
On October 26 and 27, we welcomed 100 guests to our biennial conference, which this year focused on children and grief. For a full recap of the conference, including links to the presentations, please click here.

Welcome new facilitators!
Our fall facilitator training program took place in the early days of November and after 20 hours of learning, we are pleased to welcome eight new facilitators to BFO-MR! We are also excited to announce that these new facilitators represent most of our groups, which is excellent news. As you may be aware, we have experienced an urgent need for facilitators for our programs for parents grieving the death of an infant, and parents grieving the death of a child. A new recruitment strategy has been developed and is starting to be implemented. We are pleased that results from our efforts will contribute to the ongoing and consistent offering of these programs in the community.

Tree of Bright Stars
On November 17, 2017 more than 200 people gathered at Grandview Baptist Church for our annual Tree of Bright Stars memorial event. This year’s event featured a beautiful and moving story from member Vanessa Reimer, which can be found here. Our musical guests this year was Jessie T who performed three beautiful songs for our guests. We were also honoured to share a slideshow of loved one’s photos and names during the service. For a copy of our program, please click here.

Thank you to everyone who joined us, and created a community of support and caring as we headed into the holiday season.

In the Community
The fall was a busy time for BFO-MR out in the community as well, and we were pleased to take part in a number of presentations and community outreach initiatives:

  • Rockwood Seniors Fair – Carly and Jaime hosted a booth at the Seniors Fair in Rockwood to bring awareness about the launch of our Living with Loss program in Guelph.
  • Community Corner – Carly and Jaime hosted an information booth at the Kitchener Rangers’ game on October 29. It was a wonderful opportunity to start conversations, and to bring awareness about BFO-MR to the approximately 7,000 people who attend.
  • Anything But Merry – During November and December, our seasonal education session Anything But Merry was offered in Cambridge, Kitchener and Guelph. Through this workshop, we share tips and coping strategies to help those who are grieving cope during the holiday season. This year, 17 people attended our Cambridge session, 15 attended in Kitchener and 20 attended in Guelph.
  • Canadian Mental Health Association Wellington Dufferin – As part of their workshop series, we were invited to do a presentation about grief. During this presentation, Carly talked about what grief can look and feel like, and also shared some tips for coping through the holidays and beyond.
  • Huron Heights Secondary School – Carly had the honour of speaking with high school students at Huron Heights about her career in bereavement support, and what brought her to BFO-MR. It was a wonderful opportunity to share what a career in this field could look like, and have an open and honest conversation about grief in general.
  • Two Rivers Family Health Team – We were pleased to have had the opportunity to do a “lunch and learn” presentation about BFO-MR for healthcare professionals at Two Rivers Family Health Team in Cambridge where we shared information about our programs for families.

In addition to outreach events and opportunities, BFO-MR regularly connects with potential referring agencies and organizations in the communities we serve to ensure we remain top-of-mind. For example, outreach activities in Cambridge have centred around connecting with employers to share Living with Loss as a resource for their employees and to date, we are excited to share that we have connected with 157 businesses!