Grief support

The loss of a child is the most unimaginable loss. The pain and void runs so very deep and is life-altering for so many. Unfortunately, many of our Hearts of Hope families have experienced this loss and we know it can be helpful to know that you are not alone in this part of the journey. We are still working on developing this essential and highly sensitive part of our organization to help support the families and carry on the legacy of our CHD Angels. If you have suggestions or want to help contribute to the development of this, please contact us.

Links to Resources:


SandCastles: Grief Support for Children and Families

SandCastles Grief Support Program, established in 1997 by Henry Ford Hospice, focuses on the belief that every child and teen deserves the opportunity to grieve in a supportive, nurturing environment.  Grieving youth ages 3 to 18 are offered a safe place where they can interact with peers who have experienced similar losses, learn life-long coping skills, and most importantly begin a healthy healing process.  Participants learn how to identify and express their feelings and in doing so, empower one another.  Peer support groups help children and teens understand that they are not alone in their grief.  This normalizes their feelings, and experiences which provides validation, to help with the healing process.

Families come together with staff and facilitators for dinner and then break out into individual age groups.  While the youth are engaged in their groups, adults attend their own group session, which gives them an opportunity to learn about children's grief, as well as share their own experiences.

Meetings are held at eight locations throughout the metro Detroit area:  Detroit,

Clinton Township, Livonia, Rochester, St. Clair Shores, Southfield, Downriver and West Bloomfield. On average, SandCastles serves about 450 participants at any given time.

Camp Erin

Detroit is an annual, overnight, weekend-long camp experience for children and teens that have experienced the death of someone close to them.  It is offered free of charge and is facilitated by professional staff specializing in grief and trained volunteers from Henry Ford Hospice SandCastles Grief Support Program.  Grief is a normal, natural response to death and individuals need to be supported in order to begin to heal.  Camp Erin offers that support.

SandCastles has offered a camp program since 1997.  We were pleased to become Camp Erin Detroit, a part of the national Camp Erin network, in 2009.  Camp Erin is the largest network of bereavement camps in the country, serving more children than any other organization.  Camp Erin Detroit is funded in part by The Moyer Foundation, .  Additional funding includes Henry Ford Hospice and donations from individuals, groups and community organizations.

Third Party Events

Several people who support SandCastles have created their own fundraisers called “third party events.”  These fundraisers help SandCastles continue providing its services throughout Metro Detroit.  Create your own event, invite your friends and help raise needed funds for the children.  Got a fundraising idea?  Call Doug at 248-588-2004 for advice on how to organize your own SandCastles fundraiser.  Below are just a few upcoming third party events:

  • Vekas & Wendy Relan bowling event, Berkley
  • Sterling Fest, Sterling Heights
  • Woodhaven Run, Woodhaven
  • June Fest, St. Clair Shores
  • Magic and Memories event, Sylvan Lake
  • Dr. Antolak, Smiles For Life Campaign, Shelby Township.
Big Hug Remembrance Gifts

Big Hug™ provides gifts and words of sympathy to help you LIFT THE SPIRIT and connect in MEANINGFUL ways. All their gifts are carefully selected and beautifully made symbols of love and remembrance. TIMELESS and uplifting, they can be given at any time throughout the year. Choose from unique gifts such as tree markers, benches, and personalized wind chimes.


A Grace Disguised
Author: Jerry Sittser

Mommy, Please Don't Cry: There Are No Tears in Heaven

By Linda Deymaz and Laurie Snow Heil

Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby

By Deborah L. Davis

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf

By Leo Buscaglia

Silent Grief: Miscarriage-Child Loss: Finding Your Way Through the Darkness

By Clara Hinton

The Bereaved Parent

By Harriet Sarnoff Schiff

Safe in the Arms of God

By John MacArthur

Helpful Sites: