Sparta Kiwanis Helps Fund Quinlan’s Hero Club Endowment for Child Grief Counseling



SPARTA, NJ — The Hero Club at the Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center is one step closer to reality having received a donation from the Sparta Kiwanis. John Quinlan, Director of the Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice foundation, presented the program to the club at their meeting at Homers restaurant. 

Kiwanis member Frank Cannistra introduced Quinlan and Diane Sebzda, Director of Bereavement, explaining the concept. The $3000 check from the Sparta Kiwanis was the fourth donation of a possible 12 slots to create an endowment to fund scholarships for children in need.

“A one time donation will help a child forever,” Quinlan said. According to Quinlan, the endowment would be conservatively managed, with five percent or $1500 used annually to provide scholarships.

“This past spring of the 12 children enrolled in the program, eight were scholarship,” Sebzda said. The cost for a child to attend the four week art and play based program is $150. They currently run two sessions but hope to add a third during the summer according to Sebzda.

The program is open to any child from any place, whether or not their loved one was in the Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice Quinlan said. They have treated children from Sussex, Morris, Warren and Pike counties and other areas including from as far away as Manhattan he said.

Sebzda and Quinlan the Children’s Art Bereavement Program not only helps the child but the parents as well.

“While the children are being taken care of the parents are in another room learning how to take care of the children,” Quinlan said.

The children are given craft or projects to work on while they talk and the modules change, “so they don’t even realize they are being helped,” Sebzda said. She showed a couple of examples of the projects the children have created and shared the stories of the children who created them.

A framed photo of a balloon that had been decorated with a black marker had the words, “I feel beaten up by grief” printed at the bottom. The face created on the balloon had marks and bandages depicting a face that was beaten up.

Sebzda show a second photo with a number of “emotion masks.” The children are given “white masks to decorate with how they felt when they found out about the loss and then a second one with how they look in class.”  

Pointing out a mask completely decorated with a mane of red feathers, Sebzda said it had been created by a nine year old who cared for his grandma by getting her milk and cookies every day after school. The grandmother was dying and in her last hours the boy was sent in the middle of the night to a friend’s house by parents looking to do the best they could for the boy.

The boy felt he should have been there when she needed him the most. The red feathers depicted the anger he felt.

The advice given to the parents touches on many topics such as whether or not to bring a child to a viewing according to Sebzda. The youngest child she has treated was one. 

“There is a saying, if you’re old enough to love you’re old enough to grieve,” Quinlan said. “Unresolved grief can be damaging to children.”

In the bereavement program they seek to give children an outlet to express feelings and thoughts “they don’t even have words for.”

Sebzda said they are told they can do “anything that doesn’t hurt themselves or others,” including crying or running, jumping and even playing music.

While the Hero Club is looking for $3000 donations, other individual donations are welcome, Quinlan said. “They can restrict the donation to ensure it goes to a specific program such as the Children’s Art Bereavement Program.”

They would also accept donations of art supplies to supplement the program, Sebzda said.

The Children’s Art Bereavement Program runs two hours, once a week for four weeks. 

“It will help them deal with future losses as well,” Quinlan said. “Each $3000 donation will help one child a year forever.”

Quinlan said they are seeking individuals or organizations who support children to fund the endowment. He would like to have the endowment fully funded by the end of this year.

“Children are an innocent population who shouldn’t have to experience grief,” Quinlan said.

Quinlan said they are seeking individuals or organizations who support children to fund the endowment. He would like to have the endowment fully funded by the end of this year.

“Children are an innocent population who shouldn’t have to experience grief,” Quinlan said.

Sparta Kiwanis President Ben Caruso said the endowment donation is in keeping with the Kiwanis mission of “serve the children of the world.”

Home for Hospice receives medical cart in memory of Woop

Pictured from left to right: Elizabeth (Beth) Woop, wife; Beth Sylvester; Pat McCann; Michele Leinaweaver; Darlene Milkowski and Amy Snouffer (sister-in-law)


Christopher R. Woop of Oak Ridge, NJ, passed away almost a year ago on Saturday, July 15, 2017 at the Karen Ann Quinlan Home for Hospice in Fredon, NJ. Wanting to find some way to give back to the organization who helped Chris find comfort in his final days his wife, Elizabeth (Beth) Woop asked home administrator, Beth Sylvester what was needed at the home.


A new State law requires that all patient records be kept in a fireproof file cabinet that can be quickly relocated and accessible in case of an emergency. As this was a new regulation the organization had not yet purchased the item. Beth generously agreed to purchase the file cabinet which cost $1,000.


Recently, Beth and her sister Amy Snouffer of Sparta visited the Home for Hospice to see the cart and the special plaque that will be installed on it as a memorial in Chris’s name.


“I felt that I needed to do something to give back in some way for all that we received,” said Woop. “They were so good to us here.”


The Karen Ann Quinlan Home for Hospice is the only freestanding in-patient hospice provider in the area. The home offers 10 private rooms overlooking the stunning vistas of the Waterwheel Farm.


“We are so grateful to Beth and her family for their help in purchasing this needed piece of equipment,” said Sylvester, home administrator. “When we use it, we will remember Chris and his family.”

The Home for Hospice is designed to ensure that individuals receive excellent care amid a home-like setting while family members and friends may visit anytime to be with a loved one during their final days.


“At the Home for Hospice the atmosphere was so peaceful. As soon as Chris was admitted the nurses knew exactly what to do to make him comfortable. He was admitted directly from a hospital, and the five days that he was in the hospital were some of hardest to endure,” said Woop.


“I researched the home for hospice online and watched the video tour. I knew this was the place for Chris. When I found out there was a room available we moved Chris here immediately. The nurses understood what we were going through. They not only cared for Chris, but for the entire family.”

Chris was born on May 1, 1969 in the Bronx, NY to Judith (nee O’Rourke) and the late Robert Woop. He was raised in Butler, NJ and graduated from Butler High School in 1987. For the last 30-years he was the owner of Woop Brothers landscaping.