Rooted in God’s Love
Out of tragic loss, the seeds of Companions on a Journey were planted more than 20 years ago as a way of providing HOPE, STRENGTH, and HEALING to the bereaved children and families of our community.
With much compassion and care, these seeds have grown and flourished over the years into a beautiful, vibrant tree of love, providing shade, comfort and shelter to many.
When we experience the death of a loved one, our lives often feel as if they’re unraveling. It can be a confusing time, a time filled with a mixture of conflicting and changing emotions.
Each person’s grief experience is unique and quite often it can be difficult for friends and family members to fully understand what we’re going through. It’s a tough reality that at the exact time when we need to connect with others the most, connection can often be so very hard.
This is where Companions on a Journey comes in.
Like a sturdy tree, COJ provides us with roots to stay grounded during the storm and supports the growth of new buds of healing with love as we prepare to emerge from winter, working always, within our own personal timelines.
The journey of grief is not an easy one.
It takes us deep inside the depths of ourselves – to our beliefs, our assumptions, our identity, our relationships, and more. Just as storms make trees stronger, you, too, will discover newfound strength as you bravely move forward in your grief — one day, one hour, and sometimes even just one moment at a time.
Current: COJ serves over 30 schools working with 600+ students a month. We offer and have expanded School and Community Crisis Response, Suicide Post-vention, Family Facilitation, Bereavement Training and QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Gatekeeper Training, which helps in prevention of suicide. COJ was blessed with continued national and international recognition through media with national and international responses from individuals.
2000 - Pres.: COJ Teens in Grief, an ongoing grief support program, was created by Patricia Buckley and Sheila Munafo-Kanoza. They met with Moeller High School students wherever they are at on their grief journey and continue to meet with them through their graduation. The program has expanded to serve other schools throughout the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton areas.
2000: COJ provided its first crisis response at Moeller High School following the death of a teacher.
2003: COJ began a bereaved parents group.
2005: COJ Board of Directors was formed: Sheila Munafo-Kanoza, Linda Sullivan, Margaret Kast, Tom Kanoza, Russ Pennavaria, and Stephen Sullivan.
2007: COJ incorporated and became a 501(c)(3) organization.
2007: COJ's Teen's Suicide Post-vention program began; expanded to include support or adults.
2009 - 2012: Linda Sullivan served as COJ's co-executive director.
2009: COJ published its first Seasons of Grief newsletter. COJ's Social Outreach Groups began. Lunch Bunch, Dinner Group, Bereaved Mother's Book Club, and Travel Group.
2010: COJ adopted Mending Hearts. A Program for Grieving Children, Teens and their Families from the John Engel Christian Counseling Center.
2010 - Pres.: COJ has become the largest faith-based bereavement services organization in the region offering bereavement support services free of charge to the bereaved with no boundaries on race, color, or creed.
2011 - 2013: COJ has assisted over 4000 individuals through our crisis response, grief support, educational programs and our Seasons of Grief newsletter.
2012: John Dorger, M. Ed., a retired school psychologist, joined our team working with our Mending Hearts and Crisis Response Programs.
2012: Ann Marie-Kahwaty Bogan, LISW, ACSW, became our child development and crisis response co-leader.
2013: Implementation of our Children and Teens in Grief Program servicing schools for grades K through 12.
2014: COJ recognized nationally and internationally in the Alive Maranist Magazine, Facing Life Head On, and Guide to Feeling Good Cable Shows to help in the prevention and Suicide Post-vention. COJ expanded our ongoing school support program to include other losses within the schools.
2019: Assists 35 Schools K through 12 schools. 700+ students per month with on going support