Welcome to Bereaved Families of Ontario
Bereaved Families of Ontario is a province wide organization dedicated to bereavement support through self-help and mutual aid.
In 1977, John McKibbon, part of the chaplaincy department of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, whose own daughter had died of leukemia, initiated a parental bereavement support program endorsed by the hospital’s chaplain, Hugh Gemmell. Margaret Darte, Marilyn Lee, Diane Oakes Foster and Irene Clarfield, participants in this program, then became involved in the development of a bereavement support program now known as Bereaved Families of Ontario (BFO). For this act and their ongoing efforts in building our organization, in 1998 our four founders received the Ontario Medal of Good Citizenship from The Honourable Hilary Weston, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario.
With eleven affiliates located throughout Ontario, our strong community spirit mirrors the commitment made by volunteers and staff. BFO programs are facilitated by trained volunteers who are themselves bereaved. Over the years, BFO has grown to serve not only bereaved parents, but children experiencing the loss of a parent, sibling or caregiver, people whose partners have died, and others in need of grief support. We are working hard to develop programming in both official languages (already available in our Ottawa affiliate) and to ensure grieving people have access to translation services for other languages.
Volunteer health professionals support facilitators and advise affiliates on their programs. Each year, on behalf of Bereaved Families of Ontario over 1,000 volunteers contribute to helping the healing begin. We provide our support and services at no cost to participants. Our affiliates provide a safe, non-judgmental environment in which you can discuss your experiences and learn about grief with others who have been there.
Facilitators walk the grief journey with you, giving you a light in the darkness.
BFO Provincial is overseen by a board of directors that is comprised of dedicated volunteers who also give their time to their own regional affiliates.
- Co-Chair – Jane Smart, Toronto
- Co-Chair – Richard Sheppard, Halton Peel Region
- Secretary – Holly Gomes, Midwestern Region
- Director – Gary Goswell – Durham Region
- Director – Laura Kennedy, Kingston Region
- Director – Sean O’Brien, Ottawa Region
- Director – Andrea Crowley – Peterborough Region
- Director – VACANT – Southcentral Region
- Director – Penelope Smith – South East Region
- Director – Lauren Krobisch, Southwest Region
- Director – Nancy Dal Cin – York Region