Friday, February 17th, 2023

7pm  Osceola High School  - LGI room

Have you suffered a loss in your family or community and you are wondering how best to help your child with their grief? 

Children and teenagers often exhibit their grief differently than we do as adults and it can leave us wondering if they are grieving too much, or too little.  Are they processing it at all, should we bring up the loss? Will it upset them more? Should we ask them questions?

You're not alone.  The Path Forward has brought together local experts to help us all.
Join our group of panelists who are experts with children and teens who have experienced grief.  By hearing others’ questions you may get answers to situations yet to present themselves in your family.  You will also be able to ask questions.
This event is tailored towards the parents or older children. If there is enough demand we will host an event for children in the future. Our goal with this event is to give you, the parents, the tools you need to help the children in your life.


Meet the expert panel:

Kristin Boileau

Kristin Boileau is a resident of Osceola, WI where she has lived the past 20 years with her husband raising their 3 boys. She is a Licensed PreK-12 School Counselor and has worked for the School District of Osceola as an Elementary School Counselor for 19 years. She is the Osceola Chamber’s 2021 Educator of the Year. Prior to School Counseling, Kristin received her Undergrad Degree in Child Development and Family Studies with a minor in Family Intervention. Before finishing her Masters Degree in School Counseling, she worked in the Residential Treatment field for Harbor Shelter/MN for 7 years with 12-17 year old at-risk youth. For the past 26 years, she has had the opportunity to provide support and resources for families and children working through the various stages of grief. Kristin is honored offer any support she can to families dealing with children and grief.

Jen J bio Path forward child grief

About Jen Johnson:

Jen has her MA in Drama Therapy from NYU and is a Registered Drama Therapist and board certified trainer.  She is a mother, school counselor in training, artist, poet, performer, director, singer, community collaborator, social justice activist, Yoga Calm facilitator, postpartum care support, wildcrafter, and Trauma Informed Care liaison.

She has 20 years of extensive experience working in clinical mental health, arts, education and non-profit arenas including hospital settings, partial hospitalization and day treatment with children, adolescents and their families, non-profits, including a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center and hotline. She has worked with families who have experienced complex trauma and grief, domestic violence and sexual assault and helped create individual and group programs for children who survived incest and their caregivers. She attends to connecting and re-imagining with professionals and members of communities to create more collaboration in care.

Jen co-founded Arts in Action, a non-profit focused on collaborating with other Creative Arts Therapists and Community Artists to support communities by cooperatively creating trauma informed creative workshops, groups, classes and community arts events.  Jen also collaborated on Creative Connections, offering groups for new mothers and caregivers of infants in Polk County, WI that built awareness and responsiveness for perinatal and infant mental health in our community.

Jen has a deep commitment to creating original performances with youth as well as collaboratively creating improvisation based performance with adults in the roles of playwright, director and actor. The importance of addressing social, racial, gender, economic, and environmental justice is critical to her life and work.

Jen traveled to South Africa on a grant from the Foundation for Arts and Trauma to learn from Drama Therapists working with communities who have experienced oppression, racism and systemic, community, and interpersonal trauma and to offer workshops for Drama Therapists and Caregivers experiencing traumatic grief and secondary trauma.

Jen was a trainer and facilitator for Strengthening Families and Systems Trauma Informed Parenting workshops and THINK Trauma workshops for the state of Wisconsin.  She was also was an ACE Interface Trainer, through St. A’s of Milwaukee, raising awareness related to Adverse Childhood Events and their impact on public health. Jen is a Training Director for the Polaris Institute for Developmental Transformations (DvT) in the Midwest out of Chicago in the USA and supervises students internationally in Drama Therapy and DvT.  Jen is trained in and has supervised staff in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and was the Trauma Informed Care Liaison and trainer at Northwest Journey Day Treatment in Wisconsin for many years. She currently works at Osceola Elementary School and is completing her masters at UW Superior in school counseling.

Joel Gibson

About Joel Gibson:

I am both a person coping with grief (as we all are) and someone who has been fortunate enough to help others who are grieving in a variety of ways, for a variety reasons. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in WI and have 25 years of experience working in the fields of mental health, child protection, juvenile delinquency, and education. 15 of those 25 years have been spent working almost exclusively with young people. Since 2011 I have worked as a mental health therapist at a local outpatient mental health counseling clinic, Family Therapy Associates, and have also been serving as an Instructor in the Human Services Associate degree and Substance Abuse Counselor Education Technical Diploma programs at Northwood Technical College (formerly WITC).
I do not claim to be an expert on the subject of grieving children. What I do know about helping children, and their families, cope with grief I owe to the hundreds of children and families I have been privileged enough to work with over the addition to my education and training. What I have learned is that grief is a dynamic, normal, expected, difficult, and necessary process for us to experience.
Dani Mortenson
About Dani Mortenson, LPC:
I am a local graduate who experienced significant loss while in high school and upon going to college and soon after losing my mother, have spent my life learning to understand and process grief, personally and as an area of study and practice in graduate school while working onsite with children whose loved ones were in hospice care. After graduating from UW-Oshkosh with an MSE in Professional Counseling, I l moved back here to my hometown to help provide care where I felt there was a need. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in WI and currently provide most of my services onsite at Frederic and Osceola school campuses through Family Therapy Associates. Recently, we and our 2 pups began our adventure of homesteading near Star Prairie.
I approach grief with family, friends, community members and clients as a journey that each of us is on, unique though there are many shared experiences. Normalizing and giving space to each person's unique path through the many shades of grief are my main goals, as well as offering deeper care to those who are feeling especially stuck and not functioning at a level they'd like to return to. Disenfranchised grief, the kind society tells us isn't valid grief is a special interest of mine, and I hope to explore this area more in my professional role.


Sign me up for the How to help my child through grief event:

* indicates required

(This will help us decide future events & expert speakers)


Can't make the event? You can join us in our free Facebook group for grief and the path forward here.