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Investing in Our Communities: April Meade and Brooke’s Place

March 22, 2024


Brooke's Place LogoLosing a loved one is never easy. For kids and teens, managing emotions that arise during the grief journey can be especially difficult. That’s why April Meade volunteers with Brooke’s Place, an Indianapolis nonprofit organization that provides support services to help kids work through their loss.

A manager for KSM’s State & Local Tax Group, April serves as a Brooke’s Place board member to ensure that families in central Indiana have the resources they need during tough times. She says, “Brooke’s Place works with kids, teens, and their families when those families have lost someone significant like a sibling, a grandparent, or a parent.”

Allowing Grieving Kids To ‘Just Be Kids’

An ongoing support group is one of the organization’s most utilized services, with trained facilitators who work directly with kids who have lost a family member. Participants eat dinner at support group events before joining in varied activities, including fun things that allow them to just be kids.

That may sound trivial, but grieving young people don’t get to “just be kids” in most contexts. “In every other space that they’re in when kids have lost someone, they are the ‘other,’” April explains. “They have to talk about it — or they don’t get to talk about it. They can’t talk about losing someone they love because it makes other people feel uncomfortable.”

Brooke’s Place is holding kids’ hands and going alongside them on their grief journey. They are impacting families and communities by creating places where kids will be able to feel their feelings.

– April Meade, State & Local Tax Group

Things are different at Brooke’s Place. “All of the kids here are going through a grief journey, so they’re one of many,” says April. “They get to just be a kid with other kids who know what they’re going through.” That means a blend of fellowship and fun along with art projects, conversations, and focused therapeutic activities to help participants recognize and process their complex and sometimes confusing emotions around their loss.

A Personal Connection

Before becoming involved with Brooke’s Place, April knew she wanted to give back to her community and that KSM would support her efforts since the firm actively encourages employees to volunteer for causes and organizations they care about. A friend suggested that April consider serving on the board for Brooke’s Place, so she agreed to meet with the executive director and quickly accepted a board position. During their conversation, April recognized a personal connection that made the organization resonate even more deeply with her. “As I was talking about why I wanted to support Brooke’s Place, I realized that my dad lost his dad as a teenage boy,” she says. “But there was no organization to help my dad back then and let him know it was okay to feel his grief.”

Previous generations of children and teenagers often received explicit or implicit messages that they should repress or ignore their feelings following a death. But grief is a powerful reality that can’t be effectively sidestepped. When children aren’t able to process complicated emotions, the effects can be long-lasting and shape their future lives in numerous ways.

April has learned a lot about the grief journey through her work with Brooke’s Place, and she knows how valuable the organization’s services are for helping kids move through it. “As the daughter of a father who has lost someone that young, I can see the impact,” April says. “Brooke’s Place is holding kids’ hands and going alongside them on their grief journey. They are impacting families and communities by creating places where kids will be able to feel their feelings. And if my dad had that, I can’t tell you how different his life might have been.”


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