Rowley Ramey knows the support offered by Seasons Centre for Grieving Children in Barrie is making a difference in the lives of those who use its resources.
“I know it works when I see someone having a fuller life trying to give back,” the centre's managing director said Friday. “It comes full circle.”
Since opening 25 years ago, the centre, which provides peer support to children between the ages of five and 24 who are grieving the death of immediate family members, has helped a lot of people.
For Ramey, it’s been a deeply personal journey.
On Jan. 18, 1995, his daughters Samantha and Jessica were killed in a car accident. Ramey described an outpouring of support and a realization. While there was support for grieving adults, the same could not be said for children.
And so, Seasons Centre for Grieving Children was created, and dedicated to his daughters.
“Unfortunately, what happens with loss is none of us think about it until it happens, and then we look for the resources,” Ramey said, adding he still feels there could be more resources available. “There should be a Seasons Centre in every regional health centre in the country.”
As part of the 25th anniversary, the centre unveiled a new stained-glass sign, designed by Norma Vowels, who spent 15 years working as an office manager at the centre.
“I’ve seen firsthand the difference they make in children’s lives,” she said, explaining how she would meet children and their families when they would first come to the centre.
Speakers at the event talked about the isolating effects of grief, and the difficulty children can have navigating those powerful emotions.
“We gave them the tools so that they don’t act out,” she said. “It makes a huge difference in their careers at school and their lives out in the real world.”
Seasons Centre for Grieving Children is located at 38 McDonald St.
For more information, or to support the centre, visit grievingchildren.com.
Shane MacDonald, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance