A fun and safe place for grieving children.


Guardian: Comfort Zone is "the best way to grieve and heal"


Welfa Blount’s family dynamic was drastically changed when Tamia, then 7 years old, lost her 26-year-old mother from heart disease.  After the loss of her mother, Welfa became the guardian of young Tamia. 


It was clear to Welfa that Tamia was feeling alone, obviously feeling the effects of missing her mother and everything in her life changing so quickly. This is when Welfa looked into having Tamia attend a weekend with Comfort Zone Camp in Virginia. The results were extremely positive for Tamia and her family.  


“At Comfort Zone Camp, Tamia is encouraged to honor her feelings and learn ways to cope with her loss in a fun, safe, and caring environment,” says Welfa.  “The best part is she gets to interact with kids who know just what she is going through.”


Seeing the positive impact Comfort Zone Camp had on Tamia has changed Welfa and her family’s outlook on death as well. “Our family has a newly gained respect for the importance of taking the time to mourn, grieve, and heal,” says Welfa.


After seeing such positive effects that Comfort Zone Camp has had on Tamia and her family, Welfa strongly feels that giving back and supporting Comfort Zone is extremely important.


“To support Comfort Zone Camp is investing in the wellness of our community,” says Welfa. “Children who learn and practice skills that are encouraged at camp are empowered to grow up to be well-rounded, responsible, and productive adults.”


Welma is also an advocate of Comfort Zone Camp, telling parents just how positive the Comfort Zone Camp experience can be. According to Welma, “Sending your child to Comfort Zone Camp shows them that you love them enough to give them the best way to grieve and heal.”


Tamia was one of 5 campers to receive a scholarship this past summer to attend a Shaka Smart basketball camp! Click here to check out our Facebook post about it. 


Make your investment to the Comfort Zone community today! Click here to get started. 

4,300 people served by therapeutic services, group support and volunteer programs


By Pete Shrock

Vice President of Strategy and Design


Comfort Zone knows that children are most successful in their grief journeys when the community supports their efforts to heal and grow in healthy ways. This is why one very important part of our mission is to continually grow the community of people who can be comfort zones to children in grief.


A comfort zone is anyone who helps a child be successful on their grief journey. From connecting a family to resources to volunteering their time, just about anyone has the power to become a comfort zone.


In fact, every person who participates in our trainings, support groups or grief summits becomes a comfort zone – not only for themselves, but for their colleagues, friends and families. Every parent whose children attend our programs becomes a comfort zone – not only for their children, but also for their workplace, school and neighborhood. In fact, every child who attends our programs becomes a comfort zone – not only for himself, but for every other person they ever encounter who has experienced a loss.


In 2014, nearly 4,300 people became comfort zones through our therapeutic services, groups support and volunteer programs. In addition to that, thousands of individuals, businesses and foundations donate to make it possible for us to create ever-growing impact, and by doing so, they become comfort zones to us all. Together, our impact is greater than any other year in Comfort Zone’s history; we are an incredible community, and I’m proud to be a part of it.


I thank you for being a comfort zone in 2014, and I look forward to working with you to grow this community even more in the year to come. 


"Rock star" shines in the community


Comfort Zone Massachusetts Regional Development Officer Sue Oppici sums up Mary Barber in three simple words: “a rock star.”


She’s also a “fundraiser turned young adult camper turned volunteer council member turned Grief Relief 5K chair.”


Yes, Mary has been very active since she joined the Comfort Zone community in 2012 to raise money on the Grief Relief Team.


Mary has volunteered at eight – yes eight! – camps in 2014, as well as chairing the annual Grief Relief 5K in her hometown of Medford, Massachusetts.


“When asked about my involvement with Comfort Zone, I often pause to find the right words,” Mary said. “I often tell people to take a day to experience camp. This is not because I do not want to describe it or that I am put on the spot, but putting a weekend full of magic into a few words is seemingly impossible.”


Mary said that camp “creates this infectious magic in a sea of grief and sadness.”


“Mary truly understands the benefits of Comfort Zone’s programs and how it positively impacts and inspires each camper’s future,” said Comfort Zone’s Sue.


Mary also said that Comfort Zone has helped her learn more about herself and helped her focus on her strengths.


“I can pinpoint where my leadership skills require development, but more importantly I now know the importance of a genuine community” Mary said.


You, too, can be a rock star with Mary! Click here to get started on creating your own fundraiser for Comfort Zone.


Mother says "I have my son back"


“Mom, I’m not alone.” Those are the words that Massachusetts camper Jason told his mother Behishta at the end of this summer following an August camp.


At Comfort Zone Camp, children and teens learn that they are not alone. They have a voice. They can open up with their peers and talk about the deaths that have impacted their lives.


Behishta said that Jason, a 5th grader, has gone to many therapists since his father died in January, but they didn’t have the impact that Comfort Zone had on him. She said that Jason talks about camp all the time now and gets excited when seeing items in the mail from Comfort Zone. 


“Since he has been to camp, he has been so much better,” she said recently. “I’m not sure what you all did, but I feel like I have my son back. At camp he really got to experience that he's not alone, and I think that changed him.”


Children like Jason are able to attend camp thanks to the generosity of others. Click here to make an impact for camp programs in 2015.  

Volunteers: "You can and will make a difference"


For the past five years, Darlene and Ron Patishnock have been actively involved as volunteers for Comfort Zone at New Jersey and Massachusetts camps. Most recently the couple traveled to The Today Show plaza in New York City for Children’s Grief Awareness Day and held signs that were seen by millions on TV. They even had an interview on Sirius XM about Comfort Zone.


As 2014 draws to a close, Darlene and Ron shared why they give their time to volunteer at camps and events year after year.  


Why do you volunteer for Comfort Zone?


I saw the difference in a friend (we previously bonded over similar losses in our families) once she came back from volunteering at camp. She was revitalized and insisted that I give it a try. I always felt grief was a journey, it changes over time, changes how you react to situations; it is always there. We can deal with it, but sometimes it rears its ugly head, and we can’t always control when or where it floods back into our reality.


Once I went to a volunteer training session and camp, and heard my words in so many others, I knew it was the place for me. I had to help, because I didn’t get that help when I needed it, and I felt I could make a difference. And I do make a difference. The Comfort Zone community of staff, volunteers, campers and camper families is nothing short of amazing and filled with the most caring, giving, selfless people you will ever meet. Comfort Zone Camp is my reality, and really how I feel the world the rest of the world should be.



Results. After the initial training, meeting other volunteers and staff, and being asked to help by my wife, I found a genuine bubble of reality and caring that I never thought or dreamed could exist. My wife said I would be good at this and I have to say it is good for me too.



What keeps you both coming back?

The volunteering experience gives as much back as it asks of us. The opportunity to make a difference to someone who is suffering loss fuels our humanitarian side, and we experience a direct and almost immediate reward.


For someone wondering if they should volunteer for Comfort Zone, what’s the No. 1 thing you would tell them?

You can and will make a difference by just being there to support these youngsters. And if you find yourself doing more than that, the rewards are exponential.


You can join Darlene and Ron as volunteers in 2015! Check out our calendar for upcoming training sessions in your area. 

New weekend for North Carolina camp

Comfort Zone Camp's presence in North Carolina is expanding in 2015! 


A volunteer training session will be held the evenings of March 24 and 26. The exact location will be revealed in early 2015, but you can register for the training session now! Click here to sign up. 


Camp weekend is coming May 1-3 to Camp Kanata in Wake Forest. Click here for more information. 


A second camp program will be held later in the year and will be added to the calendar in early 2015! 

2014 Grief Relief 5K Highlights

The annual Grief Relief 5Ks in Massachusetts (4th year) and New Jersey (5th) year were a huge success with an increase in registrations and donations! The events combined to raise more than $60,000 for Comfort Zone! 


This year's events were captured by attendees through Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #CZCWalk. Click here to check out photos from both areas. 


Here are some moments captured by staff in New Jersey, where runners and walkers braved a cool, damp day: 



The weather was a bit nicer in Massachusetts: 

Healing Circle Leader Council becomes Clinical Advisory Council

This fall, the Healing Circle Leader Council changed its name to the Clinical Advisory Council to further demonstrate the work that they do for Comfort Zone.


The council’s mission is to support and contribute to the goals of Comfort Zone, specifically related to the development of Comfort Zone’s therapeutic programming.


The council is lead by Karen Reilly-Jones of Virginia, serving as President; Kristen Stefureac of North Carolina, serving as Vice President; and Jen Roman of Massachusetts, serving as Secretary. 


Current Members are: Rebecca Feld (Virginia), Michele Arnone (California),  Sue Montgomery (Massachusetts), and Michael Kocet (Massachusetts).


If you have been a Healing Circles Leader and are interested in hearing more about the Council, please contact Abby Moncrief ([email protected]).

October 2014 California Updates

A huge thanks goes out to Bob & Donna Delonti and Robert & Talitha Critelli for hosting a fundraising event this month at the Critelli's home. The event featured a lively silent auction and Vella Pizza, a unique, outdoor culinary experience of artisanal wood-fired pizza. The event has raised more than $9,000 so far. 


Additional shout-outs and thank yous go to: 


- Volunteer John Kennedy for helping out at the LMU event!


- Everyone who joined us at the 4th Annual Family Reunion! Check out this great community:



- Thanks to the New York Life Agents who volunteered their time at the Family Reunion!


- Lastly, thank you to BJ’s for donating Root Beer Floats and gift cards to the event!


Upcoming events:

Join Comfort Zone’s Volunteer Council at Knott’s Scary Farm on October 24th!  For more information click here!


October 2014 North Carolina Updates

The annual Charity Golf Classic was a huge success this year raising funds for upcoming Comfort Zone programs in North Carolina. This year once again featured Tarheel great James Worthy as a guest speaker! Thanks to everyone who came out to a rainy event on Sept. 8 at Brier Creek Country Club!




The next North Carolina camp program is coming in May 2015. Watch the calendar this month for registration information and volunteer training sessions. 

October 2014 New Jersey Updates


THANK YOU to everyone who braved the rain on Saturday, Oct. 11 to run, walk, volunteer and support the 5th Annual Grief Relief 5K! This year's event raised more than $26,000 for Comfort Zone's programs. Click here to check out the community's tweets and photos on Instagram!


Additional shout-outs and thank yous go to:


- Volunteer Kelly Roskilly for putting on a jewelry fundraiser for Comfort Zone. Kelly was also able to get 3 porta-johns and trays of cookies donated for the 5K.


- The Diaz and Negrin family for donating much needed camp supplies.


- New York Life – Volunteers for Good for donating over 120 blankets to our campers for our September and October programs.


- Camper and volunteer Keith Latteri for getting us the news spot on News 4 to promote the 5K. Click here to check it out!


- Volunteer Bob Quinn for getting a gift card donated by KPMG to purchase snacks for the 5K.

October 2014 Virginia Updates

Join the party by the James River on Saturday, Oct. 18 at Comfort Zone's annual Fall Bash! Online ticket sales end at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16. 


Shout-outs and thank yous in Virginia go out to: 

- Pure Barre Short Pump, who raised more than $3,600 for Comfort Zone with several events throughout September. 


- Runners and adventurists who braved the Wild Woodlake Mudder to benefit Comfort Zone!


- New members of the volunteer community! More than 60 people joined a volunteer training at VCU in September. Check them out: 



Check out Comfort Zone's Facebook page for more updates from Virginia and around the country!

October 2014 Massachusetts Updates

Don't forget that the 4th annual Grief Relief 5K is Saturday, Oct. 18. Sign up now for this awesome family-friendly community event!        


October shout-outs in Massachusetts go out to:

- Lee Gullens for her family foundation fundraiser! Click here to check out all the photos on Facebook. 


-  The anonymous donor for the Grief Relief 5K challenge match grant -- $5,000 for first-time runners/walkers and donors. (Did we mention to sign up now!)


- Camper Luke J. for giving Comfort Zone a $200 present for his birthday!



- And, lastly, Fox 25 for the segment about the Grief Relief 5K! Click here to check it out. 


Visit the Massachusetts Comfort Zone Facebook page for the latest updates! 

Camper Family Gives Back

For the third straight year the Virginia camper family Kelly, Alex and Haley held a blood drive and collected funds to give back to Comfort Zone in memory of their husband and father Ron!


Our thanks goes out to the family for dropping by the Richmond office earlier this summer to drop off the donations and show us their shirts and other materials to promote this fantastic event!



If you or your family is interested in creating a fundraiser to support Comfort Zone, visit our In the Zone page for more details. 


Family Fundraising from the Malloys

A huge thanks goes out to the Malloy family of Amenia, New York, who held their 5th Annual Hunter Pace and Trail Ride Event at Wethersfield Farm in memory of their son and brother Kevin Malloy. 


This year, the community event raised $14,500 for Comfort Zone! Check out some of the highlights from the event: 




Go Blue for Comfort Zone Camp

Children's Grief Awareness Day is coming Nov. 20 -- this is a day to wear blue and help make others aware about children's grief and Comfort Zone. 


To help you prepare for that day with blue attire, Comfort Zone is offering two new blue items. 


The first is the relaunch of a shirt campaign from earlier this year in a new color! You can purchase a short sleeve, long sleeve or sweatshirt with a design marking Comfort Zone's 15 years of providing programs to grieving children and teens. This design is similar to this year's camp pin. 


This new color shirt also has "Grieve. Heal. Grow." on the back with Comfort Zone's website. 


Click here to purchase the shirt from BonfireFunds.com. A portion of each item sold goes directly to Comfort Zone. 



The second item is a pre-order for Grieve. Heal. Grow. blue wristbands. These are available in 3 sizes and are available in quantities of 2, 5 or 25. Click here to make your purchase! 

Selfies for Good

On your mark, get set, take a selfie between 9 a.m. and noon ET Wednesday, Sept. 17! You could help Comfort Zone Camp win $1,000 as part of the Amazing Raise's Selfies for Good prize.


Here's how:
1. Print out this sign (also posted below).
2. Take a photo with you and the sign.
3. Post it to Instagram or Twitter. For Comfort Zone to be eligible for this prize, you MUST include a tag to Comfort Zone (@comfortzonecamp) AND use the hashtag #AmzgRz 


For example: Your tweet or Instagram post can say: "I'm supporting @comfortzonecamp during the #AmzgRz!"


Please note: If you do not have an Instagram or Twitter account, or your account settings are private, you can still participate! Simply follow rules #1 and #2 above, then email the photo to [email protected] by 11 a.m. ET Wednesday, Sept. 17.



You can post more than once per account, but your images must contain a different people to be counted. The organization with the most selfies between 9 a.m. and noon ET Wednesday, Sept. 17 will receive $1,000 as part of The Community Foundation's Amazing Raise, a 36-hour fundraising event.


For additional information, visit www.theamazingraise.org


Full prize details:
September 17th, 9 am – 12 pm
Sponsored by The Spark Mill.
Awarded to the organization that receives the most “selfies for good” during this time. This will be measured by the number of original images posted to Instagram or Twitter. In the post, an individual or group must 1) fill in and display this sign sign, 2) tag the organization they support (example: @giverichmond) and 3) use the hashtag #AmzgRz. Each original image must contain a different person in order to be counted in your organization's total number of selfies.


Please note: Photos may be shared on the Comfort Zone website, emails and other social media accounts, as well as Community Foundation sites.

September 2014 New Jersey Updates

Here's a look at what's been happening lately in New Jersy!


Get Ready for the 5K!

Sign up for the 5th Annual Grief Relief Team and start raising funds and awareness for Comfort Zone! Register online by September 12 to receive an event T-shirt. 


Shout-outs Go To

  • Volunteers Joe M. and Rob P. for traveling to Missouri to support the National Fallen Firefighters program.
  • All the members of our community that joined us at the 2nd Annual Family Reunion! Click here to check out photos on Facebook.
  • Campers and camper families that came to the New York Yankees game donated by French’s Mustard in July (photo below).



September 2014 Massachusetts Updates

Here are a few things happening in Massachusetts!


Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who helped with a successful one-day camp in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital in July!



Walk. Run. Change a Life.

The 4th annual Grief Relief 5K is coming Saturday, Oct. 18. Sign up here. Once you've joined, invite your friends and family to join your team and help raise funds and awareness for Comfort Zone. 


A shout-out goes to Mary Barber for helping with coordinating this year's event!


Shout-outs Go To ...

  • Tia Christopher for setting up the dinner get-together at UNO’s restaurant in July at the Woburn Mall UNO’s. This led to a donation from UNO's of  $692.81. It was the innovative brilliance of Tia Christopher, who thought to have her employer order in lunch. Every department jumped onto the idea!
  • Lily Daigle and Kirstie MacEwen for their internships this summer. They were a tremendous help, truly fantastic helping out in the office, getting ready for camp, at camp, and at the volunteer trainings!
  • Jamie Holber, Cameron Kubera (camper/volunteer) and Alexis Csicek (camper/volunteer) for all of their help in the office during the summer. They are high school students who volunteered!
  • Camper Tina Caruso who did her own supplies drive! 

September 2014 California Updates

Here's a look at what's been happening in California!


Thank you!

Franklin and Kim (below) on the California Volunteer Council represented Comfort Zone at the Toberman Back 2 School Fest in early August.



Welcome New Staff

Welcome Billie Dawn Greenblatt at Program Coordinator and Lauren Hogan as Intake Coordinator!


Get Back in the Bubble

Join the 4th Annual Family Reunion in Torrance, CA on Saturday, September 27!  While this is a free event, please RSVP by clicking HERE.


Spread the word to your family and friends about the next volunteer training session on Saturday, Oct. 4. Sign up here. Be sure to update your volunteer availability for the Oct. 17 camp weekend. 

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