A Message of Hope

By: Chelsea Poore, Marketing Assistant

Since its inception in 2003, Cornerstone of Hope has been a place where pain is not wasted. Mark and Christi Tripodi answered God’s call in their lives by creating an organization that has helped over 31,000 individuals and families transform their lives and set out on a path towards hope and healing. Cornerstone of Hope is a comprehensive bereavement center whose mission is to offer support, education, and hope to anyone grieving the loss of a loved one. Although this mission has stayed the same since 2003, Cornerstone of Hope itself is finding ways to adapt to an ever-changing societal landscape. I had the opportunity to sit down with Mark Tripodi and was able to catch a glimpse of what has made and continues to make the Cornerstone of Hope so special.

Initially a hidden gem in the Cleveland area, Cornerstone of Hope has expanded into the Columbus and Lima areas, bringing hope to these communities as well. New this year, they are offering a series of events called Men Grieve Too. These are for adult men who have lost a loved one and are looking to strengthen one another with hope. Groups like these can often help people feel less isolated and learn healthy ways to cope. They also have launched a program called Heart of My Heart, dedicated to women who have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant loss. This program offers support groups, individual counseling, couples counseling, a Mother’s Day tea, and pregnancy and infant loss remembrance services.

Along with these new initiatives, they will be launching distance counseling – a virtual support experience for counseling services in 2020; this will provide increased convenience for families as well as decreased cancellations. Mark shares, “People can access the services they need without delays. This will help reach rural areas or areas of people who can’t find support.” There are also plans to break ground and expand their physical space within the next 2-3 years.

“Finances are never a barrier to our services here. When somebody comes in, they’re getting an expert compassionate counselor that is experienced in grief and trauma therapy.”

Mark Tripodi

Over the years, Cornerstone of Hope has learned to adapt. With a growing need for services, they have added three full-time counselors who are certified in trauma therapy for all ages and now service 25-30 school systems in the Cleveland area. The therapists answer calls of crisis for the loss of a student, teacher, or faculty member and lead a support group in the respective schools. Not only do they train schools, but they also form crisis intervention teams where neighboring school districts can step in to send their guidance counselors to respond to a crisis within a school. And, in order to ensure that those who cannot afford services are able to obtain services, Cornerstone instituted the Compassionate Care Fund, a fund which provides financial assistance to grieving individuals or families who are unable to afford services. “Finances are never a barrier to our services here. When somebody comes in, they’re getting an expert compassionate counselor that is experienced in grief and trauma therapy and finances are never a barrier to our services,” says Mark.

“You’re never going to get over the death of a loved one. Grief is a journey. That doesn’t mean that your life can’t have purpose and you can’t have joy and meaning in your life.”

Mark Tripodi

The best thing about this organization is that families who come in for support are made to feel safe. The surrounding grounds and buildings provide a comfortable, home-like settingMark explained that “You’re never going to get over the death of a loved one. Grief is a journey. That doesn’t mean that your life can’t have purpose and you can’t have joy and meaning in your life. There is a way with our help that you can continue to honor the memory, legacy, and the love you have for your family member or friend that had passed away and carry that with you but still regain your strength so that you can never forget, but still have purpose and meaning in your life.”

Cornerstone of Hope heavily relies on the generosity of companies and individuals across Northeast Ohio. Nearly 90% of their income comes from philanthropy, events, grant writing, and traditional fundraising. Mark explains that “Any act of kindness, generosity, or volunteerism makes a difference! Northeast Ohio is blessed with a lot of great non-profits. We couldn’t do it without the generosity of people giving back. Not only financially, but there are a variety of ways for companies to build teams and give back. We are so appreciative and really rely on the help of others.” He goes on to say, “It is important to acknowledge those in your neighborhood or company who have lost a loved one with a handwritten note, phone call, or a meal. They just want to know that you remember. You don’t have to provide answers or act like you know it all. Sometimes, the humblest thing you can say is, I don’t know what to say or I don’t know what you’re feeling, but you are on my heart and I am so sorry.” Please keep these words in mind the next time you donate to a charity or if you know someone who has recently lost a loved one. Cornerstone of Hope is a phenomenal resource to our community and is there to be leaned upon when tragedy strikes.

For more information, click here to visit the Cornerstone of Hope website to find various grief resources including support groups, grief counseling, events, and more.

Click here to register for Men Grieve Too.

Click here to view more information on Heart of My Heart.