Haven social worker Hannah Hall originally thought she did not want to work in the hospice field. After earning her master’s degree in 2012, she went straight into working with foster children and families.

However, when Haven contacted the Rodeheaver Boys Ranch in Palatka with a request to host Camp Safe Haven, things started to change for Hall. Her father, the director of the ranch at the time, spoke to Hall about Haven and the camp to help grieving children.

“When I first heard about Camp Safe Haven, I was actually taking a class at Florida State University about grief and how people who lose loved ones process trauma,” said Hall. “I told my dad that this is really cool for kids and families. It could help a lot of people.”

Haven social worker Hannah Hall (pictured above and far left at Camp Safe Haven) joined the Haven team this year. She was deeply moved by Haven’s annual kids grief camp, Camp Safe Haven. 

When the Palatka Camp Safe Haven rolled around, Hall was sure to be there. Already involved with the horse program for equine therapy at the boys ranch, she volunteered to help facilitate camp activities. She said it was incredible to see how much the children grew and processed their grief in a single day.

“I always wanted to work with children and families. That was the demographic where I thought I would spend my career,” said Hall. “I thought I didn’t want to work with the elderly, but I realized that the grief of losing a loved one impacts the entire family.” Hall said that as a hospice social worker, she is able to step into the grief with the family to help them heal.

“Hospice gets stigma, but the end-of-life process can be such a beautiful thing if you go about it in a special way. You recognize and honor it for what it is. We are able to come alongside families in that,” said Hall.

Hall noted that, when applicable, she always informs patients about Camp Safe Haven. She said, “I remember I told a patient who had a daughter about Camp Safe Haven. I will never forget the look of relief on his face, knowing there was a resource that could help his daughter process. Knowing that gave him a sense of peace.”

Haven’s next Camp Safe Haven is in Palatka on October 7. You can find details at beyourhaven.org/camp. If you know someone who has lost a loved one, regardless of whether or not they were cared for by Haven, please encourage them to register. Haven’s bereavement team, staff (including Hall!) and volunteers will be present to help children and families heal through therapeutic activities.