"I liked Ele's Place because I met new friends like me.
I liked being able to talk about my sister when I wanted to.
And when I didn't want to talk I could just listen."
- Shaunna, age 4
The Overweg Family tells their emotional and inspirational story of grief and how Ele's Place helped them. Click HERE to view video.
What is Ele's Place?
Ele’s Place is a nonprofit, community based organization dedicated to creating awareness of and support for grieving children and their families. Through peer support group programs, Ele’s Place helps children to cope with the death of a parent, sibling or other close family member or friend.
Before coming to Ele’s Place, many grieving children feel alone and keep their feelings inside, not wanting to burden their parents or other family members. Often, friends don’t seem to understand if they haven’t had a similar experience. But each week at Ele’s Place, hundreds of grieving children find a warm and welcoming place to meet new friends who really understand how they feel, and begin to heal after the death of a loved one.
Who can come to Ele’s Place? Is there a fee?
Death crosses all religious, cultural and economic boundaries. Therefore, Ele’s Place is committed to reaching out to all grieving children and their families throughout the Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Lansing regions, and provides support group services at no charge. Children aged three to 18 and their parents or guardians are welcome, as well as young adults independently.
How do I get my children started?
To enroll children into Ele’s Place Programs, parents or guardians need to call:
Ann Arbor Area 734-929-6640
Grand Rapids 616-301-1605
During the initial call, a clinical staff member will gather basic information, answer questions you may have, and send an enrollment form to be completed.
- Call the location you plan to attend
- After Ele’s Place receives the completed enrollment form, an Ele’s Place clinical staff member will call to schedule an orientation with your family (those who are planning to attend support groups).
- You and your family come to your orientation appointment for a tour of Ele’s Place, to discuss the expectations for participation and to ask questions you may have about the support group program. At this time, we will ask your availability of weekday evenings to help determine which night your family will attend.
- Following your orientation, the Family Services Coordinator of your assigned night will call to confirm a start date.
Why is Ele’s Place Important?
One in twenty children under the age of 18 will have experienced the death of a parent. Many others will grieve the death of a sibling or another important person in their lives. Ele’s Place recognizes that children’s grief is unique, and that unaddressed grief can have a negative impact on children’s health and well-being. Unresolved childhood loss is often linked with adolescent and adult depression, poor school performance, violence, truancy, alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicidal tendencies. Ele’s Place helps grieving children who are at risk of developing these negative behaviors by supporting them during their bereavement and providing them with life-affirming skills, so they may continue their lives with hope and confidence.
“In my courtroom, I see many troubled youth who are grieving the death of a loved one and they need support. I refer them to Ele’s Place because I’ve witnessed the positive impact this organization makes in the lives of grieving children and teens.”
Honorable Laura Baird, Ingham County Circuit Court
Geographic Service Area
Ele’s Place is devoted entirely to serving the needs of grieving children.
In Lansing, most families served are from the immediate area, including DeWitt, Dimondale, East Lansing, Grand Ledge, Haslett, Holt, Lansing, Mason, Okemos, and Williamston. Families from other mid-Michigan communities are also welcomed.
In Ann Arbor, most families served are from the immediate area, including Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Milan, Saline, Whitmore Lake and Ypsilanti. Many other families are welcomed from surrounding communities.
Our Grand Rapids office is newly opened, and has recently begun to serve families from West Michigan.
Ele’s Place was established in 1991 and is named in honor of Ele Stover, who died in 1989 at the age of 11 months. Ele is survived by four siblings whose lives will be forever affected by her life, illness and death.
If you or someone you know can benefit from the services of Ele’s Place, or you would like further information on supporting Ele’s Place with your time or resources, please contact us.