Ele's Place Ann Arbor Newsletter
February 2019

28576653_10156086082542088_1794102573632847872_n.jpgThanks to our Healing Hearts Society!

The month of February is a symbolic month for Ele’s Place because of the symbol of the heart.   The idea of the heart in it’s symbolic sense is emotion symbolizing affection and love.  We show our love to our Healing Hearts Society Donors this month of February during our Donor Appreciation Event.  Our Healing Hearts Society members are the foundation of our mission at Ele’s Place.  Their support allows us to provide the critical support to over 100 families every week who have experienced the death of someone they love.  In addition their multi-year giving allows us to plan for the future!  The love from our donors helps us extend our ability to love our families.  Thank you for helping us spread love!

Peggy headshot-1.jpgEle’s Place Volunteer Facilitators are AMAZING!

Most people know that Ele’s Place relies on volunteers to fulfill our mission. This month, I want to highlight just how amazing our Facilitators are and how much they give to Ele’s Place.

We currently have 80 active program volunteers each week. This includes volunteer group facilitators, Activity room helpers, Kitchen helpers, and therapy dog handlers. These wonderful people make a commitment to work on one of our program nights a week for at least a year. Most of the people who commit to one year end up staying on much longer.

Our longest serving volunteer facilitator has been with Ele’s Place since before we opened in Ann Arbor- almost 12 years ago. Many others have served in this role for 2- 10 years. This is true dedication and speaks to not only the beauty of this wonderful mission, but also the beauty of the volunteers themselves.

In order to work in our groups, potential volunteers complete a Pre- training Interview with one of our Social Workers, extensive background checks, and an intensive four session training program. Once their training is complete, they are placed with experienced facilitator teams to assure they are mentored and supported in the groups.

Each night, facilitators join us at the beginning of the night for a Briefing of the night ahead, then participate in our potluck dinner and the groups. After the families leave for the night, we reconvene for a Debriefing of the evening. These sessions are led by our professional licensed Social Workers and provide support to the volunteers. We view this as our way to take care of the volunteers who often hear difficult or painful stories in the groups. It is an opportunity to share not only the difficult stories, but also the joyful moments and connections made among group members.

Words cannot express how grateful we are for each and every volunteer. We truly could not do this work without the commitment that they make to show up, be present, and care about the children and teens in their groups.

A huge THANK YOU to all of our volunteers- you help us make the magic happen each week!

2019-48.jpgLove is made up of three unconditional properties in equal measure: acceptance, understanding and appreciation. Remove any one of the three and the triangle falls apart.

~ Vera Nazarian

When I reflect on this quote and think about our family-based bereavement support program, these pillars are the foundation for what we do at Ele’s Place, how we provide for children, teens and their families in our community, and the gratitude we have for our amazing volunteers and donors.

Thank you to all who have supported us this past year.  The need for our services continues to grow.  Help Ele’s Place help families during one of the most difficult life experiences anyone can endure by sharing our message and inviting someone to join us for a Tour of the Heart. During this one-hour tour, guests will have the opportunity to learn first hand what a “typical” night at Ele’s Place might look like, learn about our school-based program, Ele’s Group, other services we offer and how to get involved.  Tours are held at the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, from 4-5 PM.

Join us for one of our upcoming Tours of the Heart:”

  • Wednesday, February 13th
  • Wednesday, March 13th
  • Wednesday, April 10th
  • Wednesday, May 8th

Unable to attend a tour, we can bring the “tour” to you.  Contact Bree Arvai, barvai@elesplace.org to discuss opportunities for a lunch n’ learn at your place of work or hosting a tour in your home.

Volunteers Needed for the Ele’s Place Aid Station

Ann Arbor Marathon
Sunday, March 24, 2019
7:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Near Greene and Hoover


Number of Volunteers Needed: 24 (8 Volunteers per shift)

Shift #1:   7:00 AM – 9:00 AM 

Shift #2:   8:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Shift #3:  10:00 AM – 12:00 NOON


Job Description

Hand out water/cheer on participants/set-up and tear down of aid station.

Aid Station Registration is done by group and is coordinated in advance.  


Sign up online at


Scroll down until you find the Ele’s Place Aid Station.  Click on the volunteer button to sign-up and enter your information. 

After you sign-up online email Stacey Bodner at sbodner@elesplace.org and sign-up for a specific shift.  Please let us know which shift you would like to work in order of preference.  See shift times above.  We will do our best to accommodate your first or second choice, however, this is not guaranteed.