Joyce Humphrey

Founder

President

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.  




Barb Castle

Vice President

Board Member since Feb 2001

How do you help HALos?

I am a board member, a Grief Recovery Specialist who helps facilitate groups, and a volunteer at Camp HUGS.  

What experience do you bring to HALos?

I have  Grief Recovery Specialist certification, Anger Management certification, 30 years experience working with preschool age children.  

Why is HALos important to you?

I have seen how loss and trauma can devastate a family and how it affects young children's behaviors and development.  

What is your favorite part about HALos?

Camp HUGS!

Where do you see HALos going?

Wherever there is someone grieving.  

Credentials: Grief Recovery Specialist certification, Anger Management certification, Pre-school experience.  




Kay Humphrey

Treasurer

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

Secretary

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.  




Becky Komorowski

Board Member since 2020

How do you help HALos?

I've helped with our fundraisers.  Wood raffles-sold 10 tickets @ $10 each. I use Amazon Smiles for my purchases.  I donate all my bottles to HALos.  My neighbor has donated bottles to HALos.   A friend has donated toys to the HALos program.  I promoted our Trades of Hope and had my friends purchase their goods.  I purchased a memory stone @ $150.oo, and promoted it to friends.  My family foundation donated $10,000 to HALos.  A brother also donates regularly which will continue to grow with time.  Our family foundation is also ready to donate another $10,000 using IBM stocks.  We are currently searching for a dependable Brokerage that can accept the stock.

What experience do you bring to HALos?

I'm a retired RN, so I'm involved with the Chenango County Health Department to assure our building is safe and has the correct signs up (i.e., handicap areas accessible, choking signs posted, handwashing signs still to be placed).  My 42 years of Nursing has helped me in knowing what signs and regulations we must have.

My expertise is working with children.  I started my career in Pediatrics, and ended it with working with children.  I worked at Family and Children's for 6 years , directing an Enrichment program.  This was a Federally funded program for children age 13 and up.  This program was a 5 year, 1st time in New York program.  I helped write the grant that funded that.   From there, after I retired from Broome Developmental Services (25 years), I was a Nurse in both the Harpursville and Chenango Valley School Districts.  I worked with children from preschool to their senior year.

Why is HALos important to you?

HALos provides a service that is unique.  It provides assistance and help bringing children and adults through a very difficult period after a loss.  This pulls at my heartstrings.  Children are so innocent and vulnerable to outside influences.  Specialized support and training can help our children sort out their feelings and concepts.  This is important to me because they need a good foundation of belief in good morals and good life practices.

What is your favorite part about HALos?

My favorite part of HALos is our all women board working toward the same goal.  We all want our children to grow up as happy and healthy as possible.  

Where do you see HALos going?

HALos is becoming more known as time goes on.  I am a talker and have enlightened many people on our mission.  I see HALos becoming very active and busy with many clients from different counties.  The good work being done will spread.   I envision more board members becoming certified in the process of working with people with loss in their lives.

I see our building becoming the HUB of Afton.   In general, people will recognize the work put into the building, physically, and will become more curious about it.  I see our opening the doors to opportunities beyond them. We will serve our community in areas of need, and will discover the needs as we continue to be open.  I have a BP screening planned when our community room opens.   Possibly a Diabetic screening day.   I plan on connecting with our Nurse Practitioners in the area and possibly doing referrals for health and wellness screenings. 

Credentials: RN 




Gina McManus

Board Member since 2021




Gwen Hornbeck

Board Member since 2021

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