Journey of Hope helps families going through loss

Students collect loose change to donate towards grief support of those who lost a loved one

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Journey of Hope helps families going through loss

Nick Reed donating to the Journey of Hope with STUCO member Devina Setino.

Nick Reed donating to the Journey of Hope with STUCO member Devina Setino.

Samantha Jones

Nick Reed donating to the Journey of Hope with STUCO member Devina Setino.

Samantha Jones

Samantha Jones

Nick Reed donating to the Journey of Hope with STUCO member Devina Setino.

Samantha Jones, Staff Writer

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     Students and staff alike have rallied together to support Journey of Hope, a grief support group co-founded by counselor Mark Hundley.

     Journey of Hope was created in 1998 by Hundley and others, including PISD counselors, teachers and a leader of a seperate grief support group at Medical Center Plano.

     “Six other educators and myself had a similar passion for helping grieving children,” Hundley said.   

      Journey of Hope is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to help families in Plano and surrounding communities.

     “Journey of Hope provides group grief support for children, adolescents and their parents or adult caregivers who have lost a loved one to death,” Hundley said. “It’s also completely no cost.”

     Journey of Hope had its start in Plano, and has helped thousands in the community, including hundreds of PISD students. 

     “We have helped many Plano kids and Plano Senior kids throughout the year,” Hundley said. 

     After recently expanding into Frisco and North Dallas, Journey of Hope is still hoping to expand to Oakcliff in Dallas and have a standalone center. To do this,  Journey of Hope is working to raise $10,000 between teachers, students and parents at multiple schools within the district.

      “Mr. Hundley reached out to us and asked STUCO to run a fundraiser,” senior Emmy Coburn said. “The Health and Safety Committee volunteered to be in charge, but everyone is a part.”

     STUCO held a juniors vs. seniors fundraiser the week before Thanksgiving break and continued to collect donations the week before finals.

     “All of the STUCO officers carried cans so people could donate their leftover change,” Coburn said.

     Other students and staff have found other ways to help the cause as well. Avid sponsor Jacqueline Dillon and the AVID students have done their part by volunteering every year. 

     “We send kids once or twice a year to help at some of their big events like the fun run or spring carnival,” Dillon said.

       Besides donating, students can also volunteer to cook a meal with a group or be a greeter at a session. They can also help at the large events throughout the year. People 18 and older can become facilitators of group discussions. Information regarding volunteering and Journey of Hope’s services can be found at their website: https://johgriefsupport.org/.  

     “Because we are a nonprofit, everything runs on volunteers,” Hundley said.

      Students can also tell their friends and family about Journey of Hope, not only so they can help, but can possibly be helped if they need it.

     “People don’t realise how many people around them are struggling,” Coburn said. “Journey of Hope helps bring awareness to the struggle.”