Hospice patient gets Christmas in November as his Faithful Wish

On November 6, patient Alexander Diaz and his friends and family celebrated Christmas early as part of Faith Presbyterian Hospice’s Faithful Wishes program.

The Faithful Wishes program fulfills special requests with transformational and inspirational experiences, such as a retired pilot who wanted to fly one more time or a father wanting to spend one last Christmas with his family.

“Christmas was already happening in his room,” Kathleen Montes, music therapist at Faith, told CBS 11. “His family had brought in decorations. His friends had mailed in Christmas decorations. He had multiple [Christmas] trees [in his suite].”

Diaz and his family threw a Christmas party in the spiritual care center at T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center. The teammates provided Christmas decorations, food and about 75 of Diaz’s friends attended virtually.

“Just a magical time of year,” Daisy Casares, Diaz’s niece, told CBS. “He loved it. He would put up his tree in October and wouldn’t take it down until February.”  

Faith Presbyterian Hospice offers “The Faith Difference” which includes music therapy, massage therapy, pet therapy, child and family bereavement services and charitable care. Faith prides itself on offering quality care tailored to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of each patient and family.

“He let go while I sang Silent Night, which is the most profound thing I think that has ever happened in my life,” said Montes. “To sleep in heavenly peace, I really believe that he chose to let go in that moment.”

For more information on Faith Presbyterian Hospice, visit faithpreshospice.org.

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Each Moment Matters Luncheon was a success

The 11th annual Each Moments Matters Luncheon was held on October 16 at the Faith Presbyterian Hospice and T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Center.

“This year’s event was particularly special because we were able to share the beautiful T. Boone Pickens Center campus with our guests, while providing a socially distanced and meaningful event,” said Tena Burley, executive director of Forefront Living Foundation. “It’s such a testament to the creativity and teamwork of our staff, volunteers and boards.”

The programs and services made possible through the Each Moment Matters Luncheon provide for the care of unfunded patients as well as the special programming and clinical services that we call the “Faith Difference.” The services include music therapy, massage therapy, pet therapy, child and family bereavement services and charitable care. Quality care is tailored to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of each patient and family.

This year the Each Moments Matters Luncheon recognized 26 individuals throughout the DFW metroplex who demonstrated an extraordinary difference in the lives of others. The list includes individuals that range from helping women find their self-esteem, to exposing as many children as possible to STEM, to ministering to the unsheltered homeless and educational essentials for at-risk children with special needs.

“I founded Attitudes and Attire 25 years ago,” said Lyn Berman, founder of Attitudes and Attire and 2020 Each Moments Matters Honoree. “The one word I can use to describe how I feel about being honored in the Each Moment Matters Luncheon is grateful. We are grateful to know the work we are doing is necessary.” 

To accommodate social distancing and other CDC recommended guidelines, the event was held outside on the pathways surrounding the Pickens Center overlooking the pond. The theme, “Across the Pond,” reflected the luncheon’s unique venue, the co-hosts British birthplace and the keynote speaker who flew 25 missions from England to Nazi Germany in WWII.

“[My husband] and I were blown away with Lucky’s message and everything else was perfection,” said Sammye Myers, Forefront Living Foundation board member. “There was great food, a beautiful venue, fabulous weather, a great program and fly-over. Great, great job overall.”

If you missed the event and still want a chance to participate, the Forefront Living Foundation is having an “Across the Pond” auction and the proceeds will benefit the Pickens Center. Visit, one.bidpal.net/eachmomentmatters to view items on auction and place your bid.

For more information about the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Center and the work that they do, click here. If you missed the event and would like to watch or donate, please visit eachmomentmatters.org.

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Introducing our 2020 Each Moment Matters Luncheon Honorees – Part 2

Kyle Ogden

Every year the Each Moment Matters Luncheon honors individuals in our community who are making an extraordinary difference in the lives of others. They exemplify what it means to make each moment matter and inspire us to do the same. Below are this years’ honorees. Please read why they inspire us to make each moment matter.

Kyle Ogden – Ogden is president and chief executive officer of the Thanks-Giving Foundation, which owns and operates Thanks-Giving Square, an organization focused on community building and goodwill. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation is ‘Serving Up Gratitude,’ a program that helps feed frontline healthcare providers and first responders with meals purchased from struggling, almost idle local restaurants. With support from the donor community, the program has raised more than $200,000 to purchase 20,000 meals.

Roland Parrish

Roland Parrish – An owner of 27 McDonald’s franchises, Parrish also is a tremendous supporter of youth and other causes. He supports his alma mater, Purdue University, and Fisk University, where he is the financial chair of its Board of Trustees. Parrish has financially assisted St. Philip’s School and Community Center for 20-plus years. Over a 15-year period, more than 3,000 Dallas students have received bikes and helmets. He also annually awards scholarships to Dallas middle school debaters.

Nancy Perot

Nancy Perot – Serving the Dallas community in countless and notable ways, Perot has dedicated her time and resources to multiple organizations, including the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, The Episcopal School of Dallas, KERA, Alamo Endowment, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Salvation Army and St. Philip’s School and Community. Nancy also founded Interabang Books, an independent bookstore focused on supporting and increasing literacy in the Dallas area.

Carol Reed

Carol Reed (posthumously) – Devoted to making Dallas a better place for everyone, Reed was passionate about being out in front on issues she felt were important, breaking down barriers by bringing people with differing opinions together to get to know one another, to listen to one another and to find common ground. Although known as ‘The Mayor Maker’ who helped get Ron Kirk and Tom Leppert elected to office, Carol’s accomplishments also include many campaigns and referendums that ultimately changed the landscape of the Dallas community forever. A pioneer and an inspiration for women in Dallas, Reed was the first woman to lead many of the traditional civic organizations as well as being a driver in the Dallas political world. Reed passed away in December 2019.  

Lisa Shardon

Lisa Shardon – Leveraging her degree in geriatric care management and her customer service experience, Shardon is the founder and chief executive officer of Home Health Companions, a private duty in-home health care company serving patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and cancer. Her volunteer work includes serving on the Advisory Council for the Center for Vital Longevity at The University of Texas at Dallas and as an executive board member for The Aging Mind Foundation.

Julie Genecov Shrell

Julie Genecov Shrell – After battling ovarian cancer, Shrell joined forces with three other survivors and created a spin cycling event to bring in donations for ovarian cancer research. They shattered their goal of $50,000, raising $300,000. Their efforts evolved with the creation of the Be The Difference Foundation. The foundation hosts Wheel to Survive fundraiser events across Texas and in multiple states, which has raised $2.5 million to fight ovarian cancer.

Quynh Châu Stone

Quynh Châu Stone – Escaping from her native Vietnam at the age of 12, Stone’s journey to the United States strengthened her faith and cemented her lifelong commitment to giving. She is the founder of Source of Hope, a nonprofit organization providing services such as cosmetology education and cosmetic services. The organization also holds free organic cooking classes monthly at Cornerstone Kitchen, sharing leftover food with people in need. More than 100,000 people have been served over the last 10 years. Source of Hope also delivers more than 1,000 meals monthly to the homeless with about 60,000 meals delivered to date.

Leticia Valdez

Leticia “Letty” Valdez – From her initial receptionist position from which she ascended to her current role as the manager of Life Enrichment, Valdez has served the 600-plus residents of Presbyterian Village North in countless ways over her 10-year career. While her job is a busy one, an equally important part of Letty’s role is the time she spends listening to the residents and getting to know them on a deep level. She loves engaging with PVN residents, giving them hugs on their birthdays and spending quality time with them when their families are unable to visit.

Keeya Vawar

Keeya Vawar – Surviving life as a teenage runaway and a sex trafficking victim, Vawar is now a wife and mother who tells her story to others through public speaking engagements and mentorship programs. But her greatest joy comes from the After-School Program she started with Peace Lutheran Church in Hurst. The program provides an opportunity for children of immigrant and financially challenged families to learn in a safe environment.

Wayne Walker

Wayne Walker – Walker has cared about the homeless most of his life, having grown up with 67 foster children his parents cared for in their home. A software developer, he and his wife Carolyn started OurCalling, a Dallas faith-based nonprofit providing physical, mental and spiritual street outreach to the homeless. The organization also has created four apps, the most popular being “OurCalling,” which is used nationwide to connect the homeless with resources near their specific locations.

Joni Watson

Joni Watson – As director of healthcare operations at Presbyterian Village North, Watson has a passion for advocating for those who are challenged with unfamiliar situations and transitions. One of the programs she is most proud of is the creation and implementation of the ‘Live and Thrive – Your Way’ campaign, which focuses on the way we communicate with more listening and more information gathering.

Dallas Area Parkinsonism Society

Dallas Area Parkinsonism Society Volunteers – A dedicated army of volunteer facilitators serve as liaisons/facilitators for speech, exercise and support groups for patients living in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area. Assisting people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) as well as those who have the symptoms but do have a medical diagnosis, DAPS also provides support groups and educational programs for the patients’ care partners.

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Introducing our 2020 Each Moment Matters Luncheon Honorees – Part 1

Lyn Berman

Every year the Each Moment Matters Luncheon honors individuals in our community who are making an extraordinary difference in the lives of others. They exemplify what it means to make each moment matter and inspire us to do the same. Below are this years’ honorees. Please read why they inspire us to make each moment matter.

Lyn Berman – As founder of Attitudes & Attire, Berman’s nonprofit organization assists women with their personal growth, offering hope and a new direction in self-sufficiency. Starting the organization with $500 in 1996, it has since served more than 24,000 women.

LaNell and John Boaz

LaNell and John Boaz – Former owners of an assisted living community and a home health and hospice company, the Boazes created an app that records the life stories of seniors. When John Boaz’s father died, he realized they had no recordings about his father’s life, which inspired the OneDay app. Used in 3,800 assisted living communities across the country, families record about 25,000 stories a month.

Dr. Froswá Booker-Drew

Dr. Froswá Booker-Drew – As the vice president of community affairs for the State Fair of Texas, Booker-Drew oversees the philanthropic, educational and signature events for the South Dallas area. Froswa’ spends her time helping, training and giving support to small and mid-sized organizations, especially those of color, while connecting them to other needed resources, especially during the pandemic.

Brenda Duckett

Brenda Duckett – A retired educator and cancer survivor, Duckett chairs the Richardson ISD Foundation. She is a volunteer chaplain for the Methodist Richardson Medical Center and is currently on the board of the Network of Community Ministries, which supports the Richardson ISD. Duckett also is a member of Altrusa International, a community-based organization working multiple projects across Richardson, including providing housing to those with cerebral palsy.

Abigal Erickson-Torres

Abigail Erickson-Torres – As chief executive officer for Bryan’s House, Erickson-Torres leads the nonprofit organization that helps to find medical and social care for families in need, especially for children with special medical, physical or domestic needs. Since taking the reins five years ago, Erickson-Torres and Bryan’s House have provided transportation, housing and medical services to thousands of families.

Rebecca Gruchall

Rebecca Gruchalla, MD, PhD – A professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at UT Southwestern, Dr. Gruchalla takes pride in her research and work, which includes an intense focus on inner-city children with asthma. She especially enjoys being able to connect with the children under her care.

Cyndy Hudgins

Cyndy Hudgins – Hudgins’ lifetime of volunteerism includes serving as founding president of AWARE, an organization started in 1989 that has raised $13.5 million to fight Alzheimer’s disease and to help those who suffer the affliction. Hudgins also served on the board of the Dallas chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association for 25 years and the board of the national Alzheimer’s Association for 10 years.

Shelly Kirkland

Shelly Kirkland – After her involvement with a Department of Defense study to address brain injury and PTSD in military veterans, Kirkland was inspired to serve as the chief executive officer of Boot Campaign, a service nonprofit that works to provide life-improvement programs to veterans and military families through customized programs geared to their particular issues. Since taking over in 2016, Kirkland and the organization has served more than 600 veterans.

Linda Laughlin

Linda Laughlin – Laughlin has touched many lives over the years, including patients at the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center. One of Linda’s special projects is ‘The Giving Garden’. The idea came to her when she saw flowers being thrown away but knew they could be salvaged. She organized a group of women who take turns providing flower arrangements each week for patients.

David Lodwick

David Lodwick – Lodwick is a giver, including leading a weekly Bible study, serving as a Sunday school teacher, and chairing committees at his church. He also volunteers with Meals on Wheels, leads ESL classes and gives his time at Presbyterian Village North, a Forefront Living retirement community, and with the Men’s Conference at Mo-Ranch.

Jennifer Makins

Jennifer Makins – The founder and director of STEM education at Parish Episcopal School, Makins and the school spend the summer months reaching out to Dallas ISD middle school students to expose them to STEM. When the pandemic struck Dallas, Makins and colleague Dave Cripps used Parish’s idle 3D printers to manufacture 500 face shields, as well as intubation boxes, for donation to local hospitals and others.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone – Malone, an attorney, has given pro bono services and counsel to Presbyterian Communities and Services and Forefront Living, Habitat for Humanity, and Advocates for Community Transformation. Malone’s environmental focus includes board membership with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, an organization currently working to assume management of the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens.

David Moore

David Moore – An award-winning sports reporter for The Dallas Morning News, Moore is passionate about working with the homeless at The Stewpot, where he is serving his second term as chair of the Community Ministries Committee at First Presbyterian Church of Dallas. He played a leading role in elevating the ministry’s program to provide three meals daily at the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center.

Sharon Morrison

Sharon Morrison – A successful commercial real estate professional, Morrison serves on the board of St. Philip’s School and Community Center in South Dallas, an organization that includes a school, senior center, food pantry and medical center on its campus. She also gives time to board work for the Girl Scouts and the Make-a-Wish Foundation and actively supports The Warren Center and the National Charity League.

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Messick, Peacock and Associates sponsor new uniforms for teammates at Forefront Living

During the pandemic, one Forefront Living Foundation board member was looking to show appreciation for healthcare workers of the frontlines battling COVID-19.

David Peacock of Messick, Peacock and Associates funded over 140 sets of nursing scrubs for teammates at Presbyterian Village North and Faith Presbyterian Hospice.

“We wanted to try to do anything to give them a little bit of support and encouragement in any possible way because each day they’re risking their life,” said Peacock. “Each day they’re also taking on new challenges and having to do their job in a different way than they were before this pandemic started.”

In addition to gifting the new uniforms, during Nurse appreciation week, the firm also supplied lunch for all nursing teammates catered by Ruthies Food truck.

“It’s overwhelming to have someone that cares that much about staff to recognize their contributions, hard work and sacrifices at a time when nurses are being put into the line of fire,” said Tena Burley, executive director of the Forefront Living Foundation.

If you would like to learn more about Forefront Living or donate, visit forefrontliving.org.

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12th Annual Car Show benefits Faith Presbyterian Hospice

The 12th annual car show hosted by Lake Cities Misfits Car Club was held Sept. 26 at 9 a.m. at Huffines Subaru in Corinth, Texas. The event was free to the public but was designed to benefit Faith Presbyterian Hospice (FPH).

FPH is the largest nonprofit hospice organization in Dallas and provides faith-based programs and services to support the wishes of patients and ensure a meaningful end-of-life journey.

“We are thrilled about this fundraising opportunity and plan to use the funds to continue providing hospice care and programming for patients and their families,” said John Mezo, executive director at Faith Presbyterian Hospice.  “We are proud to offer innovative programs including Faithful Wishes, a program that grants personal requests to make dreams come true; Faithful Presence, providing patients and their families with recorded messages from their loved ones; and Faithful Paws, a program bringing comfort to patients through the companionship of certified animals. In addition, we use funding to provide a Child and Family Bereavement program with peer support groups (Faith Kids) and family grief camps (Camp Faith), which provide safe places for families to be with others who have similar experiences.”

The event organizer, Brad Soper, began hosting the event, and others like it, after his dad passed in hospice care.

“After having experienced the wonderful care and compassion provided by hospice to several of my family members, including my father who lived in Florida, I held our first car show benefiting Faith Presbyterian Hospice after my dad passed away. I wanted to somehow give back for what was given to us, but I couldn’t do it without the support of Huffines Kia/Subaru Corinth, 50-plus volunteers, and the vehicle owners,” Soper told dallasdoinggood.com. “This is a really big show featuring more than 157 vehicles – the most ever, hundreds of fans, and vendors selling food and merchandise. Everyone has a good time for a very important cause.”

In addition to cars from every era, there was shaved ice, a food truck, a t-shirt painter, a dye-caster and family friendly music playing throughout the venue.

“COVID-19 forced my family to be indoors too much this year and my husband is a car guy,” said Lindsay Sellers, CPA at Forefront Living. “When the opportunity came up to support the organization, get out of our house, and see classic cars, I thought it was an opportunity we could not pass up. My kids asked a lot of questions about what made the cars unique, so it was fun to see them take an interest in and appreciate all the hard work people have put into each car.”

Image Provided By: Lindsay Sellers

Next year’s Misfit Car Show benefiting Faith Presbyterian Hospice is set for September 18, 2021 at Huffine’s Subaru/Kia. 

For more information on Faith Presbyterian Hospice click here, or like us on Facebook for pictures from the event.

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Forefront Living participates in largest community-wide giving day

Forefront Living is among over 3,200 nonprofits participating in the 12th annual North Texas Giving Day on Sept. 17. The event raised $50 million in donations in 2019 and is expecting a larger turnout than ever before.

North Texas Giving Day is an 18-hour online event designed for members of the community to support local nonprofits. The event builds awareness and garnishes support like no other community giving day.

“I give through North Texas Giving Day because it is a great way to benefit more than one organization,” said Liza Lee, former Forefront Living board member. “I enjoy knowing I can help those cared for by Forefront Living, while also promoting another nonprofit in Texas.”

Forefront Living had a goal of raising $50,000 with a match donor to benefit the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Center.

“We have been fortunate in the past to have generous challenge gifts for North Texas Giving Day,” said Anita Ray, consultant at Forefront Living Foundation. “Based on prior years’ donations we felt a $50,000 challenge gift was a stretch but definitely achievable. Our North Texas Giving Day 2020 supporters were incredible. As the day went on and we were very close to reaching $50,000 in donations we decided to increase the match by another $5,000 and donors rose to the challenge and exceeded our goal!”

With the match donation, Forefront Living raised $112,677 for the T. Boone Pickens Hospice Center. These gifts will help patients and their families experience compassionate, high quality end-of-life care in a pristine environment – now and in the future.   

“I am deeply grateful to everyone that donated to Forefront Living during North Texas Giving Day,” said CEO Tim Mallad. “The work we do is important and wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of the community.” 

For more information, click here or to donate visit, forefrontliving.org.

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Faith Presbyterian Hospice hosts annual spring memorial

On April 25 at 10:30 a.m., Faith Presbyterian Hospice will host their annual spring memorial at the T. Boone Pickens Hospice & Palliative Care Center.

The memorial is held yearly to remember those lost throughout the year and to celebrate the lives they had.

“In Hospice care, I think we can get so focused on the fact that we lose life that we never stop to celebrate the lives that have passed on,” said Barbara Matamoros, director of sales and marketing at Forefront Living. “That’s why we have the memorial every year. It gives us time to remember those that are no longer with us and really appreciate the legacies our residents left on this Earth.”

The service will be held inside the Pickens center and refreshments will follow immediately after the service.

To RSVP contact Jessica Brookshire at jbrookshire@forefrontliving.org or 469-404-5239 by April 15.

Update: In accordance with local stay-at-home ordinances, Faith Presbyterian Hospice Spring Memorial has been cancelled. For questions, call 469-404-5239.

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How Will a Grief Support Group Help Me?

The loss of a loved one brings to the surface all kinds of deep and even unexpected emotions. There’s no question that the caring grief support offered by family and friends can help, but sometimes people experiencing grief and loss can feel like others don’t really understand what they’re going through.

Many people find solace in joining grief support groups where they can work through the stages of grief and loss with others going through similar experiences. Others hear the term “grief support,” and all they can imagine is how uncomfortable they’d be getting emotional in front of a group of strangers. The fact is, simply not knowing what to expect or having misconceptions about grief support groups are probably the two biggest obstacles people have about giving this beneficial free resource a try.

How Do Grief Support Groups Work?

In a grief support group, people dealing with grief and loss gather together for regular meetings where they’re encouraged to put their emotions into words and share memories about their loved one as a way to come to terms with a loss.

Like anything new and unfamiliar, trying grief support is the best way to find out if it’s right for you. You can find grief support groups in most communities, and often you’ll have several to choose from. A good place to start is at hospice centers like Faith Presbyterian Hospice. It’s not necessary to have used hospice services to attend grief support meetings. Other options for grief support groups may include places of worship, social service organizations and community centers.

What Can I Gain from Grief Support?

Many people who’ve tried grief support say they’ve been comforted and even uplifted by the experience, and that it helped them heal and return to a “new normal.” Others have said grief support provided a renewed sense of hope about their ability to feel joy and positivity again.

Some of this healing comes from simply meeting others who, like you, are dealing with grief and loss. Hearing about their experiences and struggles can help you realize that grief is a universal emotion (even if everyone handles it a little differently). Listening and sharing can also help you feel less alone just knowing others are going through a similar experience. Grief support can be inspiring, too – you’ll get to hear from people “further along” in their healing and see for yourself that there is life after loss. Those same people can also offer suggestions and tips for coping skills, as well as a special kind of empathy that can be helpful, especially if your emotions are still raw.

Those who lead grief support groups are acutely aware that grief doesn’t have an end date. People need to grieve on their own timeline and in their own way. Some people choose to attend only a few grief support sessions, while others continue for much longer. As an added measure of support whether you attend or not, hospices like Faith Presbyterian also take the time to reach out to family members periodically throughout the first year after a loss to check in and offer support as needed. Family members are also always welcome to reach out to Faith’s grief support team at any time, no matter how much time has passed since the loss.

It’s also worth noting that grief doesn’t just begin at the moment you lose someone. If your loved one has a terminal disease or condition, dealing with grief and loss can come in stages all throughout the illness. This is called anticipatory grief, and there are also grief support groups to help people deal with these feelings.

Four Things to Think About Before You Attend Grief Support

Here are a few things to consider before you attend a grief support meeting:

1. Not all grief support options are the same – Grief support groups differ in style and approach; not all groups appeal to all people. In grief support, the moderator often helps set the group culture: Is he or she a professional therapist or a trained volunteer? That detail alone can affect the tone of the meetings. You may find that it takes trying a couple of different groups to find the right fit.

2. Know the (unwritten) rules – Grief support groups need to be safe, “no judgment zones” for everyone involved. You have the right to expect respect and to feel comfortable expressing your feelings. The people in the group have the same rights. Try to arrive on time and stay until the end of the meeting, both as a show of respect for the group and to avoid disrupting what is often a very emotional discussion.

3. Don’t feel pressured to share until you’re ready – Remember that people in the group are dealing with different stages of grief and loss. Some are very raw emotionally if the loss is recent; others may be at the point of sharing freely. Try not to compare. Everyone’s grief journey is different and there is no set timeline. Start by just listening.

4. Commit to a trial period – It can take more than a single visit to decide if a grief support group is right for you, so commit to giving the experience a fair try. If you feel you’re having a particularly difficult time dealing with grief and loss (and only your feelings matter here), you may want to consider one-on-one grief counseling with a therapist. Your physician may be able to recommend someone in this case.

If you’re interested in exploring grief support options, we encourage you to consider the bereavement services offered through Faith Presbyterian Hospice. We offer weekly and monthly support groups for loved ones of all ages.

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