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Julien’s House offering bereavement support

- the virtual ribbon cutting was held last Wednesday -


Photo submitted: Christine MacMillan, a Bereavement Professional, Colleen Campo, a Child and Youth Worker/Bereavement Professional, and Julien’s parents, Christine and Germain Gaudet, cut the ribbon to Julien’s House, a new non-profit offering bereavement support service, during a virtual ceremony held last Wednesday.


by Sylene Argent

Last Wednesday, a virtual ribbon cutting ceremony was held to officially opened Julien’s House, a bereavement centre, based in the Windsor/Tecumseh area, that is now offering support services and programs to bereaved individuals and families from across the region.

  Julien’s House, a registered non-profit charitable organization, is providing support services that bring people together, while they cope with the passing of a loved one.

Reem Al-Baadani, Project Coordinator from Julien’s House, explained the genesis of the support service stemmed from a tragic car accident in May of 2011 that ended up claiming the life of 18-year-old Julien Gaudet.

  His parents, Germain and Christine Gaudet, became volunteers in the Windsor-Essex Canadian Mental Health (CMHA) bereavement program. The couple approached bereavement specialists, Colleen Campo and Christine MacMillan through the CMHA, after all four individuals attended a volunteer training program at the Coping Centre in Cambridge. They all began to dream about creating a “companioning” bereavement program in the Windsor-Essex County region, and they wanted to use Julien’s first home as the program’s base.

  “Companioning,” Al-Baadani said, will couple those experiencing bereavement with Grief Companions, trained volunteers who understand the effects of grief, and can offer support. In addition, the Grief Companions can share their own stories and introduce those in need of assistance, while they grieve, to other programs and activities.

  In offering this home as a place for services and support to other families in Windsor-Essex, the Gaudets hoped to fill a need in the community and honour their son’s memory. 

  Julien’s House currently offers the “companioning” programming and holds drop-in sessions for those who are experiencing bereavement, which are being held virtually currently. Restorative activities will also be offered, which can include social opportunities, such as movie nights, gardening, and breakfast opportunities. There is also a plan to have Julien’s House representatives offer presentations and resources to enhance the community connection.

  Al-Baadani said the planning of opening the organization has been in the works for a few years, and noted the CMHA is a partner with the new support service.

  To date, the feedback for the programming as been very positive, Al-Baadani said.

  For more information, log onto https://julienshouse.ca/ or call 519-945-2273 (CARE).

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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