History

Excellence in Grief Support in the Omaha & Council Bluffs Area

 

1990s

Omaha Metro Area Hospice Network and Centering Corporation held the first KidsKamps and Tinsel & Tears day camps.

2001

On January 31, 2001, the IRS approved Ted E. Bear Hollow as a certified nonprofit. The nonprofit application was submitted by founder Joy Johnson. From January to April 2001, the founding board members studied and trained while preparing Ted E. Bear Hollow’s first official home at 1531 North Saddle Creek Road.

In June, Ted E. Bear Hollow’s very first support group drew seven families. Those that tell the story say a line of people waiting for support stretched outside the building and down the street. It’s a sight that will not soon be forgotten.

2002 – 2003

In 2002, Ted E. Bear Hollow hired its first part-time employee, a program staff member. In 2003, Ted E. Bear Hollow published its first newsletter.

2005

In 2005, Alegent Health provided the necessary finances for Ted E. Bear Hollow to hire its first Executive Director, Nancy Hemesath. One year later, Ted E. Bear Hollow moved into a new facility at 2511 North 73rd Street. This space at the Paralyzed Veterans Building could be used for support groups.

2007

2007 proved to be a year of many additions. The Omaha Public Library and Ted E. Bear Hollow partnered to provide grieving children and teens with backpacks full of useful grief literature. These backpacks can be checked out at any Omaha Public Library at no cost.

Birthed also in 2007 was Ted E. Bear Hollow’s Comfort Food Classic, a signature fundraiser showcasing the metro’s most talented chefs. The inaugural Comfort Food Classic grossed $30,000. Little did Ted E. Bear Hollow know . . . only five years later this fundraiser would surpass $100,000 in proceeds.

Added also in 2007 was Camp Hope. Camp Hope, an overnight retreat for grieving teens, provides social opportunities as well as grief support activities such as horseback riding, drumming, hiking, photography.

2008 – 2009

In 2008, Ted E. Bear Hollow moved to midtown Omaha and for the first time offered support groups year-round. 2009 brought with it the addition of Young Adult Groups (YAG) and Adults Helping Adults (AHA), necessary programming for grieving adults.

2010

In 2010, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center offered Ted E. Bear Hollow a building at 7811 Farnam Drive for seven years at $1 per year. Soon thereafter, Ted E. Bear Hollow launched the “10 Years…and Growing” campaign to raise $500,000, and building renovations were completed on the new space.

2011

In 2011, Ted E. Bear Hollow moved into its new home at 7811 Farnam Drive — on its 10th anniversary. Ted E. Bear Hollow also began hiring additional staff. By late 2011 TEBH doubled its staff from three to six employees.

2012

During 2012, Ted E. Bear Hollow continued its outreach into underserved populations, introducing the first North Omaha day camps and also offering bilingual camps and support groups in South Omaha. 

To continue to spread the word about the work of Ted E. Bear Hollow, a group of staff and volunteers created “Hope at the Hollow” hour.

2013

In April 2013, Ted E. Bear Hollow hired its second Executive Director, Rebecca Turner, looking forward to expanded outreach, programming and philanthropy. Former Executive Director, Nancy Hemesath, transitioned to a contractor position to engage in rural community outreach. Plans for both rural and urban community outreach were refined.

2014

Ted E. Bear Hollow served almost 800 unduplicated individuals —18% growth over 2013 — due, in large part, to growing the Program Coordinator position to full-time. Outreach efforts continue to pay-off as well as Ted E. Bear Hollow provided assessment, training, and services in 6 counties and developed MOUs for off-site support groups at area schools and agencies. The organization hosted a successful Inaugural Grief Awareness Conference in November 2014.

2015

Ted E. Bear Hollow announced the addition of a new program: CARE (Coping Around Real-Life Experiences) for families grieving a serious illness or injury. Unlike former TEBH programming, CARE addresses the grief needs of families who are not bereaved, but who are grieving. The organization thus opened the door to other grieving constituencies. Also in 2015, Ted E. Bear Hollow was named the official Mustaches 4 Kids (Omaha Chapter) Charity partner. Over 100 men grew mustaches throughout the month of May to raise money for Ted E. Bear Hollow. The gentlemen amassed more than $250,000. It was M4K’s and Ted E. Bear Hollow’s most successful fundraising campaign to date.

2016

Ted E. Bear Hollow developed a new vision — that no one has to walk their grief journey alone. Significant market research, business analysis, and strategic planning culminated in a rebranding initiative and expanded programming to address the community’s most critical grief support needs. The agency hired their first Spanish-speaking Outreach Coordinator. She and the other outreach staff were given the green light to work with schools and agencies to address grief due to immigration, deportation, and incarceration in addition to bereavement.

2017

Ted E. Bear Hollow changed its name to reflect its growing mission. Now, Grief’s Journey is a place for anyone to find help, understanding, comfort and hope after suffering a loss. The new name makes it clearer that the programs are designed to help people of all ages along their own journey back to hope. In October 2017, the agency was honored with an integrity award as the recipient of the BBB 2017 Silver Award of Distinction for Significant Commitment to Ethical Business Practices.

 

“Children’s Hospital & Medical Center had extra space available next door to Children’s Home Healthcare World at 78th & Farnam Drive. When we became aware of Ted E. Bear Hollow’s need to expand, it seemed like a perfect fit. The space kept Ted E. Bear Hollow in midtown as a convenience to families. It was also fairly large and could be customized through renovation. One of the most important factors for Children’s was our belief that this support would be a natural extension of our mission, ‘So that all children may have a better chance to live.’ Ted E. Bear Hollow delivers a significant and unique service to families that can truly shape lives for the better now and into the future.”
– Kathy English, Exec. VP, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center