Click a question below to reveal the answer to some of our most frequently asked questions.
What Is Jessica’s House?
Jessica’s House is safe place for children, teens, young adults and their families to find support while grieving the death of a loved one through talk and play. Jessica's House is also a resource for the community. We are available to provide education, resources, or onsite support for schools and organizations.
How Are the Groups Organized?
Children ages 3-5 are grouped together. During the every-other-week, 75-minute session, these children experience “talking circle” time and can express their feelings and thoughts through play activities in the art room, the play room, the volcano room or in the backyard.
Children ages 6-12 are divided into groups based on who died and how that person died. We have special groups for those who have experienced a suicide, illness, sudden or violent death. Sessions are 90 minutes every other week. Children participate in “talking circle” time plus opportunities to process grief in play activities of their choice in the various program rooms.
Middles (ages 11-14) and teens (ages 13-18) are placed in groups together. Most teens and young adults choose to talk together during the every-other-week, 90-minute sessions. Teens can choose, also, to go to the various rooms and outside for activities of their choice.
Groups for parents and caregivers of participating children and teens meet at the same time as their children.
All groups are facilitated by trained volunteers who are in turn coordinated by the professional staff of at Jessica’s House.
You can find a list of the support groups we offer here.
How Much Does It Cost?
We do not charge a fee for our services. No family is ever denied support because they cannot contribute. Because Jessica’s House is a nonprofit organization, we rely on contributions from families and the community to cover the costs for each child/teen.
How Can I Contribute?
What Can I Expect from Family Orientation?
The informational orientation is for families who are interested to learn more about Jessica’s House and our services. It last about one hour and we can answer any questions you may have about our program.
Coming to an orientation does not mean the child/teen becomes a participant. We encourage families to talk about the decision together.
How Long After a Death Does a Family Need to Wait Before Calling?
A family can call 209-250-5395 and begin the process for participation as soon as they are ready. We believe each person and family grieves differently, and the family is the best judge of when they are ready to grieve in a group setting.
How Long Is a Family Expected to Attend Groups?
We believe there is no set length of time a family is expected to attend because everyone grieves differently. However, when a family is enrolled in a group for each individual and family, children/teens choose when to start and when to stop attending. When a family is enrolled in a group, we require a commitment to be punctual and attend regularly for the maximum benefit to you and the other families in your group. A family is asked to call if they must be absent. Continuity of attendance is important to build the peer group into a supportive environment for the grief work.
What If a Child/Teen Needs Private Therapy?
Jessica’s House does not provide counseling. We have a list of referral counselors who work with children, teens, and/or adults with grief issues. Upon request we provide information we have about individual therapists. We do not endorse therapists, but provide information by which a family can select a therapist for their particular needs.
How Do I Get My Child/Teen Started?
1. A parent or guardian calls 209-250-5395 or emails: firstname.lastname@example.org and a staff member takes basic information about your family and the person who died. We will schedule your family for a family orientation appointment. Your questions about Jessica’s House can be answered. If you need advice about grieving children or teens, a program staff person will talk with you.
2. You and your family come to your informational family orientation appointment to tour Jessica’s House, to be introduced to the staff and program, to discuss participation and to ask questions. You will receive application forms, and we will explain them at this time.
3. After the orientation your family will discuss participating. If interested, you complete and return the application forms.
4. When we receive your completed application forms, we will call you regarding group times. You and your child/teen will be invited to the appropriate group meeting which best fits your needs.
Do You Need Volunteers?
Yes! We need volunteers for all types of roles at Jessica’s House. We offer volunteer training twice a year. For more information on how to become a volunteer, call 209-250-5395 or email: email@example.com