The President of Roberta’s House, Annette March-Grier, speaks with Dr. Gloria Horsley about the organization’s mission and what it’s like being the only grief center in Baltimore. Founded in 2007, Roberta’s House is in the heart of an urban community that has a lot of violence, drug usage, and health concerns. All free services are available to children and families. The organization serves children as young as five years old.

Kids need support after a loss, and also to be visible. They need someone to help give them a voice. The importance of expression can be easily overlooked. Today in Baltimore, a lot of the violence is an outburst of anger. A lot of people who are suffering are invisible. Trauma is grief unexpressed, and this organization is helping to educate families, businesses, and corporations to understand that people need to express their pain in positive ways in order to heal.

Community Healing

There’s a lot of work in getting their mission visible. Being a part of the cause is something more and more local businesses are getting involved with. Expressing your anger in healthy, constructive ways while creating meaningful memories is important. You can turn pain into passion, but young people need help directing that energy. It can be transformative and turn into a positive outlet.

Teachers and counselors in the Baltimore area are familiar with the organization and can help connect kids with Roberta’s House. There are also resources online, and anyone is welcome to come into Roberta’s House to learn more about the myriad of free programs. March-Grier encourages anyone who needs help after a loss to reach out. Sometimes you need to take direction of your own healing process, and for kids this can be tough without adult guidance.

 

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Heidi Horsley

Dr. Heidi Horsley is an international grief expert, licensed psychologist, and social worker. She is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Open to Hope Foundation, one of the largest internet grief resources, with over 2 million yearly visitors. She hosts the award-winning Open to Hope cable television show and podcast. Dr. Heidi is an adjunct professor at Columbia University. She serves on the ​National Board of Directors for The Compassionate Friends, the largest peer to peer support organization in the world. She also serves on the National Advisory Board for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS has served over 50,000 military families who have suffered a loss. In addition, she serves on the National Advisory Board for the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, and the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation. Dr. Heidi is on the VIP section of Marquis Who's Who in America, Madison Who's Who, and Who's Who of American Women. Dr. Heidi has co-authored eight books, including; Spouse Loss; Fresh Grief; Inspirational Stories for Handling the Holidays After Loss; Inspirational Stories of Healing After Loss; Real Men Do Cry; A Quarterbacks Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression & Surviving Suicide; Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding Support and Guidance; and Signs and Hope From Heaven. She has appeared on the ABC television show 20/20, has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, and has been a guest on hundreds of radio shows as well as quoted in dozens of media publications, including the Metro World News, Washington Post, Time Magazine, Newsday, Money Magazine, and New York Daily News. Dr. Heidi is also the author of numerous articles and academic book chapters. Dr. Heidi gives keynotes, presentations, and workshops throughout the country, and teaches continuing education workshops for health care professionals on support following trauma and tragedy. For 10 yrs., Dr. Heidi worked as a co-investigator for the FDNY-Columbia University Family Guidance Program; a study which looked at traumatic loss in families of firefighters killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Through this 9/11 study, Dr. Heidi provided ongoing intervention and follow-up to firefighter widows and their children, and facilitated groups for bereaved siblings. In addition, Dr. Heidi supervised the school social work staff at Harlem Democracy Charter Schools in NYC for four years. Dr. Heidi's early career included work in a variety of clinical settings, including; Manhattan Psychiatric Center, California Pacific Medical Center Psychiatry Dept., University of San Francisco Mental Health Clinic, St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Psychiatry Dept., and Hope Haven Residential Treatment Center in New Orleans. Her doctoral dissertation was on the sudden death of a sibling. Her academic credentials include a doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) from the University of San Francisco; a Masters degree in social work (LMSW) from Columbia University, and a Masters degree in mental health counseling (MS) from Loyola University, in New Orleans. Dr. Heidi splits her time between NYC and Tucson AZ.

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