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  • Chapter One

  • Chapter Two
    Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: Mentor and Friend

  • Chapter Three
    Doug Turno

  • Chapter Four
    Unmet Grief

  • Chapter Five
    A Toddler's Death

  • Chapter Six
    "Where's MyMommy, Where's My Daddy?"

  • Chapter Seven
    Compounded by Loss

  • Chapter Eight
    The Workshop: Children Sharing Their Grief

  • Chapter Nine
    Spontaneous Drawings

  • Chapter Ten
    Becoming a Monster

    Sixteen pages of spontaneous drawings and color photos and images


  • Chapter Eleven
    Creating The Dougy Center

  • Chapter Twelve
    First Support Groups

  • Chapter Thirteen
    The Early Years of The Dougy Center

  • Chapter Fourteen
    From Participant to Staff: Izetta Smith's Story

  • Chapter Fifteen
    The Tumber of LIfe

  • Chapter Sixteen
    The Dougy Center:
    E. Ann HInds' Story

  • Chapter Seventeen
    A Portrait of a Family in Grief:
    The Richardsons' Story

  • Chapter Eighteen
    Two Paths to the Dougy Center
    Dean Conklin's Story
    Clair Zentner's Story

  • Chapter Nineteen
    Volunteer Facilitators

  • Chpater Twenty
    The Dougy Center Today

Children Helping Children with Grief:
My Path to Founding the Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Their Families
By Beverly J. Chappell Now Available
Foreword by Earl A. Grollman

For years, Beverly Chappell observed children caught in the grip of grief who felt confused, alone, and oftentimes abandoned. First as a young nurse in the 1950s, and later married to a pediatrician, Bev saw how devastating unrecognized grief can be for families, especially children. She also witnessed a medical community that largely denied children's grief or the need for support. Bev was determined to do something about it.

With encouragement from her husband, Allan Chappell, M.D., and her friend and mentor, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D., Bev held the first grief support group for children in her family's home in 1982. Four children attended. Since that simple beginning, The Dougy Center has grown to serve more than 20,000 children, teens, young adults, and families, and now offers support to more than 350 children and their 200 adult family members each month. Today, through the efforts of many others who have shared and expanded upon Bev's vision, there are about 165 centers worldwide patterned after The Dougy Center.

In Children Helping Children with Grief, Bev recounts her stories of working with the children facing death and grief who inspired her to co-found The Dougy Center. Bev also writes about her own transformation, along with other adult facilitators, as they learned from the children how to support children while they grieve. Children Helping Children with Grief brings to life the early days of The Dougy Center and chronicles the events and "angels" who emboldened and expanded Bev's initial vision to create an internationally recognized center for grieving children and their families.



Beverly Chappell co-founded The Dougy Center in 1982. At a time when children’s grief was largely disregarded or unrecognized by many in the helping professions, Bev drew tremendous support from her mentor and friend, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. The Center, located in Portland, Oregon, is believed to be the first center specifically for grieving children. Through the efforts of many others who share Bev’s dream and carried it forward, today about 165 centers patterned after The Dougy Center span the globe.

Bev worked at the The Dougy Center for about ten years, serving as its first executive director for nearly six years. She also facilitated various children’s support groups, and to this day continues to support the Center’s efforts. She has taught many classes and workshops on death and grief, and has been recognized for her pioneering work in children’s grief. In 2003, she received the “Distinguished Alumni Award” from Marylhurst Alumni Association for her “outstanding service to society.” The Dougy Center has also honored Bev for her contributions. Bev particularly treasures one award she received from the children. A ceramic tray made at the Center reads: “For Bev—Thanks for The Dougy Center. From all the kids it helps.”

Bev Chappell graduated from Iowa Methodist Hospital School of Nursing in 1951, and received her Bachelor of Arts from Marylhurst University in 1979. She was married to pediatrician Allan Chappell for forty-one years. He was a major support in the early years of The Dougy Center. She has lived in Portland since 1954, and has two children and four grandchildren.

To learn more about The Dougy Center call toll free at
866-775-5683 or visit their web site:



Photos of Beverly Chappell, The Dougy Center Today, and The Dougy Center Mural by Eric Griswold

The following excerpts from children Helping Children with Grief, by Beverly Chappell, are published by NewSage Press. All material copyrighted and may not be used without prior permission from the publisher.

Chapter One: Inspiration

For far too long people did not die. Instead, they were “lost to us,” “went on a long trip,” “went to sleep,” “passed on,” “passed over” or “passed away.” Unfortunately, that is often still the case today. These euphemisms were, and continue to be, the walls that cut us off from death and dying, and the subsequent grief for those facing the death of a loved one.

In the early 1950s when I was a student nurse, there was no Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross to advocate for dying patients or their families. It was unheard of for nurses and doctors to provide a family with support through the grief that followed a death. In fact, when I was a student nurse it was an offense to give extra, or even adequate care to a dying patient when there was a post-surgical or new admission patient on the care list. More than once I was reprimanded for spending too much time with a dying patient. It was not unusual for a dying patient to be placed in the room farthest from the nurses’ desk and frequently the last call light on the floor to be answered.

Read more of Chapter One...

Chapter Thirteen: The Early Years of The Dougy Center

After about a year, the support group outgrew our home. The family room in our basement had served us well, but now there were eight children and four facilitators that more than filled that small room. Upstairs there were five mothers and three facilitators in the living room. We needed to find a larger space, so we began the search at once.

A church allowed us to use their formal boardroom—complete with large tables and tall, stiff chairs. It was nice of the church to help us, but the environment was much too formal for the children. When they sat in the office chairs, their feet dangled far from the floor. It was if they just could not get grounded in this boardroom environment. We tried meeting in several other places, and finally found the perfect house. It suited our needs; we could use it free of charge; and it was in Southeast Portland, not too far from my home. For the first time we experienced enough space to do the things we needed to do with children from ages five to early teens. The children and facilitators met on the third floor and the mothers met on the first floor.

Read more of Chapter Thirteen...

Bev Chappell weaves stories of sadness, courage, caring and guidance as she beautifully recalls The Dougy Center’s history. This book is a great primer for anyone working with children and death.

—O. Duane Weeks, Ph.D., CFSP, FT,
When All the Friends Have Gone: A Guide for Aftercare Providers

The knowledge shared through Bev Chappell’s experience is an inspiration to anyone who has a dream and yearns to make a difference. Her struggles and joys, and especially the wisdom she gained from grieving children and families themselves, illustrate how to find hope and even growth in the
wake of sorrow.

—Betty Davies, R.N., Ph..D, FAAN,
Shadows in the Sun: The Experiences of Sibling Bereavement in Childhood

On behalf of my mother, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. and the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation, I wholeheartedly applaud Bev Chappell’s work and her book. Bev was a good friend to my mother and did a remarkable job continuing her work in the form of The Dougy Center. Helping children was my mother’s favorite subspecialty of death and dying. Bev’s book on the founding of The Dougy Center will continue to help those children and families in need.

—Ken Ross, Director, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation,
Real Taste of Life: A Journal

Bev Chappell is a true pioneer and an outstanding leader in drawing attention to the needs of bereaved children and their families. In this book, the founder of The Dougy Center—the leading organization in the United States providing support and assistance to bereaved children and their families—recounts numerous stories of children coping with loss and grief, and how adults can be present for grieving children.

—Charles A. Corr, Ph.D., CT, Death and Dying, Life and Living



Copyright © 1998