October 10, 2017

NEA Baptist to Open Grief Center in Jonesboro

One of three Baptist grief centers available

JONESBORO, Ark., March 1, 2017 — NEA Baptist is proud to announce the NEA Baptist Center for Good Grief, as part of the NEA Baptist Charitable Foundation’s continued commitment to the needs of the community. The NEA Baptist Center for Good Grief will open October 2017 at 1717 Executive Square in Jonesboro and will offer free grief counseling and seminars to those who have lost a loved one.

2017 marks the 40th anniversary of NEA Baptist Clinic and the legacy that the founding physicians built around caring for those in need. Sixteen years ago, the physicians of NEA Baptist Clinic created the NEA Baptist Clinic Charitable Foundation with a mission to help change the lives of those in need throughout our region. Today, NEA Baptist Charitable Foundation offers five free programs to those in need, regardless of where they receive their health care or their ability to pay.

“The NEA Baptist Charitable Foundation has played a key role in addressing health needs in our region – developing programs that support the care we provide,” said Brad Parsons, chief executive officer of NEA Baptist Health System, “I am proud of the Foundation’s ability to continually meet the changing needs and I know that this center will positively impact the lives of individuals and families in our community who are grieving.”

The center will be the second one of its kind in the Mid-South area; Baptist opened the first, the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief, in Memphis in 2005 and plans to open a third location in midtown Memphis in the summer of 2017 on the grounds of Idlewild Presbyterian Church. Baptist also spearheaded the area’s first grief camp for children, Camp Good Grief, in 1999. Angela Hamblen Kelly, executive director of the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief played a vital role in the development of both the camp and the center. Kelly stated, “We believe that if people can work on their grief and if they have the opportunity to express and learn to cope with those feelings, much like physical health, it can be a good thing. A loss changes us forever, but if supported, it can help to shape a person’s life for the good and that is why we chose the name Good Grief.”

Robbie Johnson, executive director of the NEA Baptist Charitable Foundation, emphasized that the Center would not have been possible without the support of the physicians of NEA Baptist, whom he calls “champions.” Johnson added that his own personal experience with grief underscored the importance of having grief services available for the whole family.

Johnson named Kim and Chris Fowler as key donors to the Grief Center, a gift made in honor of Chrystal Taylor. Grants from the Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation and Mid-America Transplant Foundation will also help in the funding of the center. Gamble Home Furnishings has committed to donating the furnishings for the center.

“So many kind and generous people and businesses have stepped forward to help make the center a reality,” Johnson said. “We are so grateful.”

The center’s model of care mirrors the services and programs available at Baptist’s original Grief Center, which, according to Baptist leadership, has grown exponentially under the leadership of executive director of bereavement, Angela Hamblen Kelly. This model provides personalized, one-on-one grief counseling by trained healthcare professionals for children, teens and adults who are experiencing grief from the loss of a loved one.  Mandy Young, LCSW, will serve as the clinical director of the new center in Jonesboro.

NEA Baptist Health System comprises NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital, NEA Baptist Fowler Family Center for Cancer Care and NEA Baptist Clinic, northeast Arkansas’ largest physician group. 

NEA Baptist Charitable Foundation has a mission to help change lives through the programs and services it supports in Northeast Arkansas and the surrounding areas. The Foundation, through the generous gifts of our community, touches thousands of lives in our region each year. The programs that the Foundation offers include: Center for Healthy Children, Medicine Assistance, Hope Circle, Wellness Works, and Share Hope. To learn more, visit www.neabaptistfoundation.org.