September 30, 2014
Recently a newly bereaved father asked this question. We realized right away the answer to this would make for a perfect introduction to our Fernside Footnote blog.
If we surveyed all of the people who helped create Fernside over the years – volunteers, staff, donors and the thousands of grieving children, teens and adults who came to Fernside – we would get as many different answers as the number of people we asked. One of our favorite descriptions of Fernside is from the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Krista Ramsey in a 2006 editorial, “Fernside is an inescapably happy place, a place that celebrates life even as it deals with the realities of loss.”
Fernside grew out of our founders’ Rachel and Paul Burrell’s experience with grief following the death of their oldest son, David, when he was 27 years old. David was a graduate of Walnut Hills High School and as a student when he needed a ride home, he would tell his mom to “Meet me at Fernside”, the name of a street near the school. So Rachel named our place Fernside. And with that poignant decision, Fernside…the place, was born.
In that first year, 16 children attended support groups on one group night, at one location. Today more than 800 children, teens and adults participate annually in a Fernside group on one of seven group nights at five locations throughout Greater Cincinnati! An additional 300-400 students benefit from a Fernside group held at their school each year. And that’s just part of our place. We provide camps and retreats, crisis support, customized support through special collaborations, phone consultations, educational outreach and more. And all of these services are offered free of charge!
We’ve worked hard to keep up with the incredible demand for our services while keeping up with the times. And to prove that point, we are entering the blogosphere with Fernside Footnote! We hope you find something here worth reading. We plan to have lots of guest bloggers so you won’t get tired of hearing from just us, and we invite you to get involved. Send us your feedback, comments and submissions.
Our blog will take its place at Fernside and we’re excited about this new venture. But even as we continue to grow and change, an important thing remains the same. "Our credo evolved - a safe and loving non-judgmental haven for grieving children and teens. We would learn from the children, and they would create the place." – Rachel Burrell