Founders

The journey to the creation of The Grief Club of Minnesota began for both of the co-founders, Cara and Sarah, when they were children as they both experienced the deaths of significant family members.  Cara and Sarah both recognize and understand the multifaceted emotions that are felt when a family member dies and the importance of grieving together as a family.  

Their grief journey’s inspired their professional careers of becoming social workers in the field of death, dying and bereavement with a special emphasis on supporting grieving children and teens. They have dedicated their entire combined 40 years in their professional careers as social workers and grief counselors to hospice, school grief counselors and co-founders of a private grief therapy practice. 

Sarah & Cara

"Cara and Sarah have the professional experience and bereavement expertise to make The Grief Club of Minnesota a safe and powerful place of healing and growth. Perhaps more importantly, they have a personal passion and energy for this mission that is vital to the success and sustainability of what will undoubtedly be an invaluable asset for the state."

-Brook Griese, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Co-Founder - Judi's House/JAG Institute, Denver, CO

Through the years they have done extensive research, and developed positive relationships with the Executive Directors of grief centers throughout the country who have partnered with them as they create The Grief Club of Minnesota.  Because of these significant relationships, their expertise and compassion they have a strong understanding of what is needed to develop, implement and sustain a children’s grief center.

A little bit more about us.

Sarah Kroenke, LSW, CFT, FT

For the past 25 years, I have had the honor of working in the field of death, dying,  grief and oncology as a  licensed social worker in hospice and a school grief counselor.  My career has been dedicated to providing support and counsel to children, teens, young adults and adults through individual counseling, grief support groups, and crisis and trauma work.  

My lifework has allowed me to participate in the development of school based grief support programs, function as the program coordinator and a grief counselor.  I have written age-appropriate grief support curriculums, as well as, other grief support booklets.  

I am fortunate to be the author of two published books.  Hope Heals:  A Journal of Love, Loss and Memories and Words to Live By.  Presenting, nationally, on the topic of grieving children, teens and families at the  National Alliance for Grieving Children conferences, as well as, at schools, churches, hospice retreats and fund raising events is something I appreciate being able to do.  I have facilitated support groups for people living with cancer and their caregivers.  For many years, I participated in planning and facilitating grief support groups for an annual family grief retreat.

Throughout my extensive career in grief work and having experienced the death of my mom when I was a teenager, I have been continuously reminded to appreciate what matters most in life and recognizing that just as grieving is a lifelong process and an extension of love, so is healing. 

Cara Mearns-Thompson, LICSW, FT

My work with grieving children and families began over 15 years ago while I was working as a hospice social worker.  I found great privilege in being trusted to provide intimate in-home emotional support to families while anticipating the death of their loved one.

Nearly all of my working career has been spent supporting grieving children and teens in a school based grief support program.  Within this program I have been involved in crisis and trauma work in schools, in addition to the weekly grief support to students.  I love the energy and natural wisdom of children and teens! I have co-authored a published school based grief curriculum, and presented on the topic of children’s grief to schools, churches, hospice annual retreat education sessions, funeral homes, and metro area corporations. I was a staff member for a number of years at the annual Family Grief retreat put on by multiple Minneapolis area hospitals.

I am a proud owner of Grief Care Counseling, a private counseling practice designed specifically for grieving children and their families.