Joyce Humphrey



HALos’ was created out of my own personal grief. In 1993 my family experienced three colossal traumatic events. First, the accidental death of my twenty-three-year old nephew, four months later the drowning of my fifteen-year old son and seven months later a car accident that broke my seventeen-year old son’s neck, all happened within an eleven-month period.

As my family attempted to face these debilitating traumas, our reality became limited health insurance coverage that created an unexpected financial hardship; the discontinued services of the local bereavement support group just when we needed them, the realization that there was no support of any kind for my surviving children and my need to take an FMLA because of my inability to continue to work. These obstacles seemed to make any possibility of recovery just an unattainable illusion.

With the help of several other bereaved parents HALos (Help After Loss) was founded in 2000, it became incorporated in February 2001 and obtained its 501 (c) (3) status in July 2003. In 2004, HALos Board of Directors recognized the need to expand its definition of “loss” to include loss caused by a variety of traumatic events affecting children and their families such as a change in life style caused by divorce, move or change in custody arrangements, incarceration, life threatening illness or death.

Project HUGS (Help Understanding Grief Situations), was created in 2004 to give children an opportunity to identify, share, and label their feelings while developing positive coping skills. I visit with grieving children and their families in their homes or an alternate place of the families choosing at no cost to the participants. As an un-paid para-professional I travel over 100 miles each week to complete this HALos programming. As a Certified Grief Recovery specialists I have worked with many individuals in a one-on-one setting and have facilitated multiple group-based Grief Recovery Outreach Programs.

Since 2004 I have written several grants. The first grant provided four school districts within Chenango County with a kit containing $500.00 worth of resource books, games and materials regarding various forms of loss for school counselors to use with students. In 2009 grant funds allowed HALos to purchase games, resource books and a computer system to enhance its Project HUGS programming. Since 2O10 Otis Thompson Foundation grants have allowed HALos to offer HUGS participants and other grieving children within the community with an opportunity to attend HALos own annual Grief Day Camp. In 2012 grant monies sent four HALos Board members to attend the intensive four-day Grief Recovery Certification training. Completion of the certification process allowed HALos to become entered in the Grief Recovery national database as a resource. In 2016 grant funds were utilized to compile three anger kits for HUGS volunteers to use when working with children exhibiting issues with anger, and anger management certification for four HALos board members.

I supported the Bainbridge-Guilford school counselor in running a grief group for several students within the Greenlawn building during the 2012-2013 and the 2013-2014 school years.

I compiled and presented a power point presentation regarding the effects of grief and loss at school to the teachers at the Greenlawn building in December 2013, a power point presentation regarding the effects of grief and loss at Head Start to the Chenango County Head Start employees on January 24, 2014 and a power point presentation regarding the effects of grief and loss in the work place to the employees at NYCM in New Berlin on March 14, 2014.

Due to fundraising efforts, local support and collaboration with the local Chamber of Commerce HALos purchased the old Afton Great American building in October 2019. This purchase will provide HALos with an office, a meeting place, storage area, and rental space that will financially sustain the building. The accessibility of this independent space will provide HALos with the room to expand its programming and improve the quality of life within the community.

With the support of my dedicated board I will continue to serve as a force for constructive change for the children living within Chenango County. We have dedicated our work to the continuation of finding opportunities to assist children experiencing loss.  

Judy Hinman

Vice President

Board Member since 2009

How do you help HALos?

I help with camp through helping secure a location to volunteering with the kids. I also help facilitate the book study groups we run. I help with home visits as well.

What experience do you bring to HALos?

I started as a participant with my children, when my son died. I also use my experience as a teacher to bring information to how we work with our participants.

Why is HALos important to you?

HALos is important to me because I don’t think there is enough support for people grieving, especially children.

What is your favorite part about HALos?

My favorite part is meeting with people and talking with them about their experiences. I also enjoy the book study groups.

Where do you see HALos going?

I hope with the building that we can offer more services to a bigger population. Also that we will be a greater community support.

Credentials: B.A. Teaching; M.S. Teaching Reading; Anger Management Certified; Grief Recovery Method Certified

Kay Humphrey


Board Member since Feb 2004

How do you help HALos?

I'm the treasurer and hopefully keep our meager finances straight. I also sew and supply the bags for our Get A Handle project. I make crafts for our fundraiser sales as well as work the sales. I also help out with other fund raisers when I can.

What experience do you bring to HALos?

I lost my 2 year old sister when I was 8. As an adult I've lost both parents as well as my older sister, a nephew and numerous close friends.

Why is HALos important to you?

HALos should be important to everyone because a child needs help and support as much as, if not more than, an adult. They see and remember more than they are given credit for because I'm in my 60's and I remember every last detail of my 2 year old sister's drowning when I was 8.

What is your favorite part about HALos?

That I’m a part of something that can help so many people.

Where do you see HALos going?

I think it’s going to do great things in the future because the purchase of a building is going to provide the space for growth. The founder has a dream and I might have misgivings at times but I believe in her.  

Jessica Thompson


Board Member since 2012

How do you help HALos?

I have become the secretary recently, taking notes and typing up meeting minutes. I also help with technology related things, like the website and facebook page. I help with planning and running our day camps, and anything else that I am available to help with.

What experience do you bring to HALos?

I have had many losses in my life, but the “expertise” I bring to the table is that I am part of a military family, more specifically an Army wife, and have experienced two deployments on the home front – one alone and one with two children. I am also a clinical psychologist who works with children.

Why is HALos important to you?

HALos is important to me because everyone experiences loss. I want to help others, especially children, learn how they can best cope with the loss they experience.

What is your favorite part about HALos?

My favorite part of HALos is helping children and allowing my children to learn that loss is normal and that they are supported. I also enjoy that they are volunteering and giving back to our community.

Where do you see HALos going?

I see HALos growing exponentially. I am lucky to be along for the journey.

Credentials: Anger Management Certification; B.A. Psychology, German Studies; M.S. Psychology; PhD Clinical Psychology.  

Melissa Bogert

Board Member since 2019

How do you help HALos?

I help with fundraising, support, research, photography, and word of mouth referral.

What experience do you bring to HALos?

I have a marketing background.

Why is HALos important to you?

Everybody needs help sometimes.

What is your favorite part about HALos?

My favorite part about HALos is knowing I’m part of an organization that makes a direct impact and influence in my community.

Where do you see HALos going?

I see HALos going into a building here in Afton. I see great growth and much more.

Credentials: Karma K-9; Project Self-Sufficiency, NJ; Design.