Companions on a Journey Grief Support, Inc. (COJ) offers support to anyone who has suffered the death of a loved one. The feelings that come with grief can cause a person to feel numb, lost, alone, angry and confused. It can feel as though someone has reached in your chest and pulled your heart out. It helps to know that you are not alone. Sharing one's grief has helped many to adjust to the new world in which they now must live: "For someone so loved will never be forgotten."
COJ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit social service organization that provides bereavement and educational services to help those who grieve and educate those who do not understand the world of grief. We service the West Chester and Liberty Township, Ohio, areas as well as the Tri-State.
COJ was founded by Sheila Munafo-Kanoza in 1997 as a faith-based, community volunteer organization. COJ operates and facilitates grief-specific support groups:
- Child loss
- New Beginnings Widowed
- Young Widowed
- Living Again Widowed
- Survivors of Suicide
- Open Grief Group for Parents/Siblings/Friends
- Perinatal/Neonatal Loss
- Young Adult
- Teens-in-Grief Support Programs for area high schools
- We also provide support through our Seasons of Grief Newsletter, Grief Workshops, Topic Nights, Retreats, and Educational classes.
For over 20 years, Companions on a Journey has created a safe environment for those who grieve. Our staff members are nationally-recognized facilitators through the American Academy of Bereavement (AAB), the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP), Certified QPR Gatekeeper Instructors (Question, Persuade, Refer) for the prevention of suicide and post-vention and members of the National Catholic Ministry to Bereaved.
We lead support groups for the bereaved including: child loss, spousal loss, parent loss, surviving after suicide, sibling loss, young adult loss, family support, teen grief, and friend grief. We offer the following grief support programs throughout the year:
- Why is this happening to me? (Tips for Grief Recovery)
- Strength, Hope and Healing through Grief
- Taking Time to Remember
- Grief and the Holidays
- Friend Grief and Grief in the Workplace
- Grief that comes when a Parent Dies
- Understanding the Spiral of Grief
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.