Our Story

In December of 2005, 10 year-old Alex kissed his Mother good-bye, hopped on the school bus with his 6 -year old sister, and that was the last time his Mother saw him alive. Sadly, Alex died suddenly at school that day during gym class. When a parent loses a child or a child loses a loved one, it is a devastating loss that affects the family as a whole.

It was through Alex’s family’s experience of seeking grief support for his little sister that they discovered the value of peer-led support groups at children’s grief centers, located in other parts of North America. These centers are full of compassionate people who understand what grieving families are going through and recognize the importance of providing assistance to the entire family during this most difficult time in their lives. An important aspect of the support programs is that they are open-ended: children and their families go when they need it and stop when they feel they do not.

Alex’s family decided to establish a similar grief support center that would serve the Halifax, Nova Scotia area (and surroundings), in order to reach out to others and help them on their journey. Alex’s Safe Harbour (ASH) was established in 2009.

Alex’s mother, Trish, became the Bereavement Coordinator for ASH by taking in-depth training at Grief Support Centers in Canada and the United States. Combined with her first-hand experience, she has helped many grieving children and parents by facilitating Children’s Grief Support Groups at the IWK Health Centre, as well as in the Bereaved Parents Group. Trish and her highly trained team of volunteers now run Peer-led support groups in Dartmouth, as well.

As one bereaved mother said: “As good as a counselor may be, they sometimes just don’t “get it” if they haven’t walked in my shoes. My life is forever changed by the death of my child. It is a lot of hard work travelling along the pathway of grief. Many people feel that time heals all things. No, it doesn’t. It truly is what you do with that time that heals. Trish understands: she knows that my life will never get back to “normal” as it was before my child died. It is an inspiration for me to see Trish. It makes me realize that eventually, I, too will be able to create a “new” normal life for myself, while never, ever forgetting and always loving and missing my child. And that’s okay.”

About Us

Location – Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada

Mission Statement –Alex’s Safe Harbour is dedicated to supporting children, teens and families grieving a death through peer-led support groups, community outreach and education.

Core Principles & Values –We honour and encourage the safe expression of grief and loss. We provide a loving community to foster the discovery and development of each child’s and each individual’s own resiliency and emotional well-being. We believe in walking beside them and offering hope, compassion and understanding as they journey towards healing.

The programs we offer are completely free and open to anyone who wishes to attend.

Alex’s Safe Harbour is a Canadian registered, non-profit charitable organization. Our organization relies solely on the generosity of individual donations, the business community, foundations, service clubs and organizations for funding.