CommUNITY Champion: Central Florida charity works to heal hearts of grieving children

Helping children cope with the loss of a loved one is the mission of a Central Florida charity.

“When you’re going through this, it’s like a bad dream,” Sara Kyle said, reflecting on the time when her husband Paul died after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Sara and her young daughters — one just 2 months old — felt a great loss. During her pregnancy and Paul’s treatments, the uncertainties were enormous, but a family photo with their new baby was a bright spot.

Finding a path through grief isn’t a journey Sara and her daughters had to take alone when they found New Hope for Kids. This special place in Maitland helps kids like Sara’s girls deal with the loss of a loved one. It’s a place where music, art, and playtime aren’t just fun— they’re therapies that help children process their feelings

Sara’s younger daughter, Grace, slowly overcame her shyness by being around peers who knew her pain. Her oldest daughter, Sara Michelle, found a community where she connected.

“At New Hope for Kids, for once, I’m finally understood and able to just play,” Sara Michelle said.

About 400 local families each year find crucial support thanks to dedicated volunteers and generous community donations. Even after 10 years, the Kyle family is still connected to the non-profit. Sara Michelle benefits from a scholarship, and both sisters look forward to volunteering in the future.

Dave Joswick, the visionary behind New Hope for Kids, believes in the mission wholeheartedly.

“We’re doing God’s work,” he says with conviction. As he steps back from the day-to-day, his pride in the legacy they’ve built shines through — a legacy of purpose in helping.

Sara Kyle can’t imagine life without the support her family received.

“New Hope for Kids became our family,” she says gratefully.


Article originally posted on WESH 2 at New Hope for Kids is a WESH 2 CommUNITY Champion for an ongoing dedication to healing the hearts of grieving children in Central Florida.

New Hope for Kids Press Release: Welcomes Brian Clark as New President and CEO

New Hope for Kids Welcomes Brian Clark as New President and CEO

[MAITLAND, FLORIDA – JANUARY 16, 2024] — New Hope for Kids is thrilled to announce the appointment of Brian Clark as the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. With an extensive background in nonprofit leadership and a passion for making a positive impact on children’s lives, Brian brings a wealth of experience and dedication to his new role.

Having worked over 25 years in banking and financial services, while also serving in various leadership positions in the nonprofit sector, Brian has consistently demonstrated a long-standing commitment to the community. His strategic vision and innovative approach align perfectly with the mission of New Hope for Kids, which aims to provide support, hope, and healing to children and families.

“We are delighted to welcome Brian Clark as the new President and CEO of New Hope for Kids. His proven track record of effective leadership and his genuine passion for helping others make him the ideal candidate to guide our organization into the future,” said Board Chair Christopher Tribbey.

In his role, Brian will be responsible for overseeing the organization’s day-to-day operations, leading strategic initiatives, and fostering partnerships to enhance the impact of New Hope for Kids in the community. His leadership will play a crucial role in advancing the organization’s mission and ensuring that it continues to be a beacon of hope for those in need.

“I am honored and excited to join New Hope for Kids as its new President and CEO. This organization has a rich history of making a real difference in the lives of children and families, and I look forward to building upon that legacy,” said Brian Clark. “Together with the dedicated team at New Hope for Kids, we will work tirelessly to bring hope, joy, and support to those facing challenging circumstances.”

New Hope for Kids extends its deepest gratitude to Dave Joswick, founding Board member and Executive Director of New Hope for Kids, for his 27 years of dedicated service. Under Joswick’s leadership, New Hope for Kids has become one of the preeminent grief services providers in the country.


About New Hope for Kids: New Hope for Kids is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families navigate some of life’s most difficult challenges, including terminal illness and death of a loved one, through two missions – the ‘Center for Grieving Children’ and ‘Wishes for Kids’. Each year, approximately 400 children and their families participate in the free healing activities and support found at the Center for Grieving Children and the Wishes for Kids program grants as many as 24 wishes per year to children with life-threatening illnesses.

New Hope for Kids Press Release: Retirement Announcement

National Leader in Children’s Grief Services Network Announces Retirement from Central Florida’s New Hope for Kids

Organization Begins Transition to Interim Leadership, Launches National Search

Maitland, Florida (March 21, 2023) – Dave Joswick, founding board member and executive director of New Hope for Kids and a national leader in children’s grief services, has announced he will retire at the end of January 2024.

Joswick has been engaged in central Florida’s non-profit community for decades and helped found New Hope for Kids more than 20 years ago to provide free grief services to children who have experienced the death of a loved one and to grant wishes to children with life-shortening health conditions. Under Joswick’s leadership, New Hope for Kids has become one of the preeminent grief services providers in the country, delivering free grief services to more than 9,300 of central Florida’s children and granting 1,720 wishes.

Spotlight on our Executive Director, Dave Joswick

We’re shining a much-deserved spotlight on Dave this month as we celebrate his 80th birthday.

Dave’s journey to New Hope for Kids began in 1980 when he joined the board of Hospice of Central Florida. He had been serving for 6 years when his life was changed forever. Dave describes his loss, “On June 21, 1986 my world fell apart when my 16 year old son John died. After grieving John’s death for months it occurred to me that I had to find some good in his death or the pain of grief would continue the rest of my life. So, I started praying to find the good.”

2021 Dr. Alan Saffran Scholarship Recipients

The crowd at this year’s Art of the Vine fundraiser was touched by Pam Saffran’s words as she talked about the scholarship honoring her late husband, Dr. Alan J. Saffran. She shared that the passion Alan had for education was the reason behind the decision she and their children had for creating such a fund. As they were grieving his death, Pam, Miles, Nat and Bella learned about New Hope for Kids’ mission to help grieving children. It felt like the perfect fit as it would offer help for college when the possibility of attending might have seemed impossible after their loss.

This year’s recipients were exceptional, and their applications were impressive. Tamari Miller, New Hope for Kids’ Grief Program Director, proudly introduced this year’s recipients as each received their $2,000 scholarship check. All four had come

A Grateful New BMW Winner!

A common thread links New Hope for Kids and Emily Bienvenu. That thread is the importance of helping people. Emily’s great-uncle Andy Wootten encouraged his family to be grateful for their blessings, and to realize that others, especially children, might need help sometimes. His gratitude-in-action was a living example of how to make a difference in the lives of others, and Emily took it to heart.

Several years ago, Emily found New Hope for Kids and began supporting our mission by