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While grief is natural, asking for help after a loss takes courage. That’s why Birmingham’s Amelia Center holds a special place in the city’s heart.
1995: Amelia’s Story
After four counselors at Camp Cosby suddenly perished in a car accident, a significant need arose. Campers, counselors and staff were grieving over the loss of Amelia Elliott, Ginger Griffies, Chris Terry and Robin Vance.
That’s when the former CEO of Children’s Hospital, Dr. Jim Dearth called Joe Mcnulty, his director of pastoral care. Mcnulty called as many counselors, social workers and chaplains he could round up. They headed to Camp Cosby to work with the kids, the teen counselors and the adults affected by the loss of their fellow counselors.
The question then was: What happens now? Families facing loss needed a place to get help, so Mcnulty started talking to grieving parents in the community.
That’s how he met the Elliots, Amelia’s parents. They offered to help Joe establish the foundation for a grief center—a way to help other parents going through loss, just like they were.
From Tragedy To Hope
The Amelia Center is a department of Children’s of Alabama and provides client services at no cost, through the generosity of clients and members of the community. The Center is a United Way of Central Alabama partner agency.
“We believe that all individuals have the capacity for healing, even the most devastating of losses,” said Executive Director Robert Smith. “Our primary mission is family and individual counseling.”
The Center’s dedicated and qualified staff of professionals encourage their clients through compassionate support and help them find the strength needed to heal. They’ve helped thousands of individuals over the past 20 years.
“For the last three or four years, we’ve averaged very consistent numbers,” Smith said. “We see right at 1100 unduplicated clients per year, which comes out to about 375 different families.”
A Special Resource
The Center is a place where individuals and families can relax while learning to cope. Experienced, licensed counselors guide loved ones into recovery with ways to let go, while keeping in mind that each grief experience is an individual one.
Helping Others For 20 Years
This year marks the center’s 20th anniversary. They’ve been providing emotional support and helping families like this one since 1997.
Does it cost to come to the Amelia Center?
Thanks to the generosity of community supporters, there is no charge for the counseling services provided at The Amelia Center. Although there is no charge, the cost of services is still significant and any contribution that can be made is greatly appreciated.
About The Amelia Center
Children’s of Alabama, The Amelia Center
1513 4th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233
To make an appointment call 205-638-7481.
Here is their link to resources for grieving families.
For schools, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit organizations in need of grief counseling resources, here is a link to training and education services.
Have questions? Refer to this link for lots of helpful information.