Today marks a very special day for Good Grief, the Wilby Family, and the greater Princeton Community. 10 years ago, on April 26, 2008, Margaret Anne Wilby died suddenly leaving 5 children, ages 4, 10, 16, 22, and 27, and her husband Pete. “Margaret was the most wonderful mother anyone could ever know,” said Pete as he remembered his wife. “She was involved in everything. If we cared about it, she did it. She would be the coach even if she never knew how to play.” Kyla, who is now 14-years-old, added enthusiastically.
The Wilby Family of Princeton Junction
This 10th anniversary of Margaret’s death, Pete Wilby, business leader, philanthropist, and longtime supporter of Good Grief, has made a major gift to name Good Grief’s Princeton Center after his late wife, The Margaret Anne Wilby Center. The Wilby’s gift will support services for grieving children and families in the greater Princeton community and will help to secure Good Grief’s permanent home located on 5 Mapleton Road in Princeton.
Ten years ago, there were no support services for grieving children and families in the Princeton area. It was not until the fall of 2012, four years after Margaret’s death, that Good Grief came to Princeton. The much-needed expansion was in response to the high demand for grief support services that were lacking in the area. Pete and his youngest daughter, Kyla, were among the first to enroll in Good Grief’s peer support program, called Nights of Support. “I’ve never walked out of a Night of Support without seeing a visible change in Kyla, it means so much to her. We even rescheduled a trip to Disney World so that she wouldn’t miss her night at Good Grief!” Pete reflected.
Within two years of renting space at Trinity Church, it was apparent that Good Grief needed a center in Princeton to serve the community’s grieving children and families. In 2015, Good Grief moved to 5 Mapleton Road and launched a $2 million Capital Campaign to ensure a permanent home in Princeton.
The permanence of Good Grief’s makes a significant impact in the lives of children who have had their lives turned upside down by the death of a parent or sibling. “I love having a place that feels like home,” said Kyla. “It feels really comfortable and that is so important for everyone in my group. When new kids come in they are nervous and I tell them ‘Good Grief is really going to help you. We’re your friends and each day is going to get better. It’s safe here’”
Statistics show that 1 out of 7 children will experience the death of a parent or sibling before the age of 20, which would equate to 280,000 grieving children in New Jersey. Mercer and Middlesex counties are two of the top three New Jersey counties most populated with grieving children, creating a tremendous need for grief support in the greater Princeton area. In the 5 years in Princeton, Good Grief has served over 500 children and adults, covering a 1,514 mile radius in Central New Jersey, and Eastern Pennsylvania.
“Knowing the pain of grief and the need for support firsthand, the Wilby’s have generously given the children of Good Grief and the families throughout Central New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania a place to rebuild their lives,” said Joe Primo, Good Grief CEO. The Wilby’s gift is instrumental in working towards a future where no child ever has to grieve alone. When asked to reflect on the impact of their gift, Pete Wilby looked at Kyla and said with a smile, “Now that Good Grief has a home, we want to make sure that it is able to serve as many grieving families as possible. My wife, Margaret, put her all into our children and in helping the kids in our community. I know that if she was here today, she would be supporting and volunteering for Good Grief and its important mission.”
To learn more about the Good Grief Princeton Capital Campaign or to come for a tour of the Good Grief Margaret Anne Wilby Center, please call 609-498-6674 x8010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good Grief is respected as a national leader in delivering grief services to children and their families. It is the leading provider of these services in New Jersey, serving over 1,000 children since its founding in 2004. Good Grief is a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit organization whose mission is to provide unlimited free support to children, teens and families after the death of a parent or sibling. Servicing more than 200 Communities. Good Grief operates centers in Morristown and Princeton. For more information www.good-grief.org.