Youth Grief Services, a community program of Fairview Health Services, has been serving grieving families since 1999.
Helping families struggling with the death of a loved one is an integral part of Fairview's commitment to improve the health of the communities we serve by addressing the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of individuals and their families.
Our program is managed by master's level educators who both have special training in grief work. Our program also relies on a trained and dedicated pool of caring volunteers.
Jenny Simmonds joined Youth Grief Services in 2007 and is currently its Program Director. She holds a master’s of education in Youth Development Leadership from the University of Minnesota and has facilitated hundreds of educational and support groups with children, teens and parents. Jenny has also served as adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota in the Youth Studies Department and has authored two books that serve as resources for school social workers, teachers and youth leaders.
Katie Eisold joined Youth Grief Services in 2014 as a Program Coordinator after volunteering with the program since 2001. She has worked as a certified child life specialist in health care, supporting children and families since 1999. Katie possesses extensive knowledge in child development and a wealth of experience in working with grieving children and families.
The Rev. Elizabeth B.J. Larson is the Founding Director of Youth Grief Services and the Director of Spiritual Health Services for Fairview. She brings 25 years of leadership in parish and hospital-based chaplaincy to her work. B.J. founded the program out of a collaborative process in partnership with Fairview's community health outreach. She continues to volunteer for Youth Grief Services activities, including Camp Erin, and is an active ambassador for the program.
Our program’s success is largely based on the quality of our volunteers. They come from all walks of life, but many have had personal experience with grief that has kindled their desire to help. Our volunteers play a variety of crucial roles, including leading grief groups with children and teens, serving as camp counselors at Camp Erin, and helping with fundraisers and other behind-the-scenes projects. All of our volunteers pass a background check with the state of Minnesota and complete our intensive training program on childhood grief.
At Youth Grief Services, our staff and volunteer team work together to ensure that grieving youth and their families find the support and education they need. This work creates a community where needs of grieving children and teens are understood and met.