Fernside: A Center for Grieving Children

Name of Non-Profit Organization *
Fernside: A Center for Grieving Children
Today’s Date: * Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Organization’s website http://fernside.org
EIN / 501(C)(3)Number * 31-1179234
What year did your organization receive it’s non-profit status? *
Address *

4360 Cooper Road
Cincinnati, OH 45242
United States
County *
United States
Your Name * Rick Wilson
Your Title *
Senior Foundation Officer for Grant Development
Your email address * rick_wilson@trihealth.com
Your Phone Number (513) 865-1613
Executive Director’s Name *
Vicky Ott
Executive Director’s email address * victoria_ott@trihealth.com
What is the mission of your organization?
Fernside’s mission is to “Offer support and advocacy to grieving families who have experienced a death, and to increase awareness of grief issues through community outreach.” With the support of partners like Magnified Giving, 100% of Fernside programs are provided at no cost to the children and families served.
Which social causes (up to 3 choices) does your agency address through its programming? *
  • (3) Children
Any comments about your selections you would like to share with the student philanthropists?

Fernside’s impact is best articulated by those that have been helped by the organization. Logan Davis lost her dad when she was nine years old. Logan is a now a successful adult and volunteer facilitator at Fernside. According to Logan, “People don’t realize what it feels like to lose a parent at such a young age. They don’t realize just how different, how not normal, that makes you feel. You are singled out. You are literally pulled out of classes in front of classmates by rightly concerned counselors, who then ask if you are okay. You notice the quiet tones that people speak in when you are around. The tentativeness that people have around you…not wanting to say the wrong thing. At least for me, it made me very anxious to think that all of these other people were worried about me. It weighed on me.

What Fernside really does for kids is to help them feel normal again, and I can’t stress how important it is for young people to feel normal. Fernside is the only place where it is the normal thing to have lost a parent, and where it isn’t a big deal to talk about it. You realize that you’re not the only one working through these very intense feelings. That other people your age feel the same way you do. This environment is so reassuring, and suddenly there seems to be a way forward through the grief. Things start to make a little more sense, and you finally feel like things are going to be okay.

A death of someone prominent can become such a life changing moment for anyone, but especially for kids and teens. You don’t know which way a person can go. They can either choose to be positive and remember the person as they continue on, or it can send them down a dark and destructive path. Fernside is a crucial aid that helps people pick the good way, and it helps them cope with their feelings in a healthy and positive way as they move forward in their lives.”


Ohio has the 10th highest rate of childhood bereavement in the nation. What this means on a practical level is that one-in-ten children in Greater Cincinnati will grieve the loss of a mom, a dad, a sister, or a brother before they reach adulthood. Put another way, in an average classroom of 20 to 30 students, two will experience the loss of a member of their nuclear family before they graduate in high school. In Fernside’s primary four-county service area of Hamilton, Clermont, Warren, and Butler Counties this amounts to 37,830 children – and this is not even considering the children that will grieve the loss of an important person outside the nuclear family like a friend, grandparent, mentor, etc. A loss of this magnitude is a pivotal moment in a young person’s development. Without support, children with unresolved grief are more likely to develop chronic depression, self-destructive behaviors, and are at higher risk for suicide.

Does your organization have volunteer opportunities available for students? *
Yes, Grades 9 – 12
List possible volunteer opportunities -or- a link to where they can be found on the web.
Volunteers are essential to Fernside, and impact either directly or indirectly virtually every child and family served by the organization. Fernside volunteers serve in the following ways:


Individuals pick up and serve pizza and beverages. Most importantly, they provide a warm welcome to all those attending our grief support groups.


Individuals assist with events such as the annual Hospice of Cincinnati & Fernside Summertime Classic golf event that benefits programming at Fernside.


Individuals provide help with preparation of materials for use in our support groups.


Individuals co-lead a support group in our evening program. They are responsible for helping to create a caring environment in which group members share their stories, feelings and memories and discuss how to cope with challenges in their lives. Volunteer facilitators are required to attend a 20-hour training program where they learn about grieving children and adults, group process and have the opportunity to hear first-hand from experienced volunteers and families who have participated in our program. The training is offered two times each year.

Volunteer coordinator Sally Ries
Volunteer coordinator’s email address sally_ries@trihealth.com
Volunteer coordinator’s phone number (513) 246-9140