Library Event To Help Children With Grieving


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Ken Schept, a 1964 graduate of Verona High School, will share his book, “A Gift of Feathers,” at a special event about loss and grief for children at the Verona Public Library on Saturday, March 2, at 2 p.m.

The events will include guest speakers from Good Grief Counseling Center and an appearance by Morris V. Prout, the certified grief therapy dog at Prout Funeral Home. The Library hopes this program can benefit families who have experienced loss or are broaching these topics at home. Please register at

Schept grew up on Brentwood Drive and the book was inspired by his mother Dorothy, who lived on the street for decades until she died, a few days short of her 100th birthday, in 2018. In the book, the main character, Grandma Dot, collects feathers, telling her granddaughters that they remind her of people she’s lost.

In his role as a certified grief therapy dog at Prout Funeral Home, Morris provides solace during difficult times. He welcomes guests at the door, stands by them during funeral arrangements, and offers cuddles and affection during wakes and services. The presence of therapy dogs like Morris has proven benefits, as their soothing and relaxed demeanor helps ease the inherent stress of such moments.

Good Grief started in 2004 with a group of concerned volunteers who believed grieving children lacked advocates. In those early days, they began by educating teachers and community groups. In 2007, Good Grief started providing direct programming to children and their families. The need and response was tremendous, requiring Good Grief to grow their programs each year.

In 2012, Good Grief responded to the emerging need of families traveling long distances to Morristown by bringing Good Grief programs to Princeton. In 2017, they launched their first satellite location for urban youth through their In Community program in Jersey City, which expanded to include Newark programs in 2019. In 2017 they also launched Routes to Resilience, a social-emotional learning program that is based on over 15 years of education and programs.

In 2020, Routes to Resilience became part of a larger offering, Good Grief Schools, which consists of four programs developed specifically to create a healthy and supportive environment for students, educators, and parents. While they are best known for the thousands of lives they have impacted through their direct programming, their comprehensive education and advocacy efforts throughout New Jersey and across the nation have acquired notoriety and prestigious partnerships, including Sheryl Sandberg’s, KIPP NJ, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters Essex, Union, and Hudson county, Arizona State University, Duke University, Scholastic, National Funeral Directors Association, Outward Bound Adventures, the National Alliance for Grieving Children, and more.

Verona’s Collective Bookstore will be on hand at the event with copies of “A Gift of Feathers” for sale.

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