Families & Caregivers

Good Shepherd Hospice to Host Grand Opening for New Bethany Center for Grieving Children – Lakeland

New center provides free bereavement services to children and families

The Chapters Health Foundation today announced plans to hold a grand opening ceremony on June 30th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the new Good Shepherd Hospice Bethany Center for Grieving Children in Lakeland located at 3470 Lakeland Hills Boulevard.

The Bethany Center for Grieving Children, with additional locations in Auburndale and Sebring, provides counseling, hope and healing free of charge for all children and families who grieve the loss of a loved one. Experienced grief counselors and trained volunteers guide children and families through the grief process.

The Bethany Center is named after Bethany Ann Traviesa, a wife and mother. The center began its services with one grief counselor in 1991 in Dixieland, following Traviesa’s death. It steadily grew and became part of Good Shepherd Hospice in 2001. It left Lakeland to become part of the hospice’s Auburndale facility. Its return to Lakeland represents the result of an extensive fundraising campaign totaling approximately $550,000.

“It was 30 years ago that Beth Traviesa, thinking of her 3 children, envisioned a place for grieving children,” said Fran Gompf, an original founding member of the Bethany Center for Grieving Children. “It was Beth who organized the first meeting, right down to the pizza they would share while being counseled. Lakeland was her home, and it needs to be the home of this amazing facility.”

“This project has been an adventure as we navigated the campaign effort and construction through the pandemic, but here we are,” said Paula Creamer, Director of Philanthropy for the Chapters Health Foundation in support of Good Shepherd Hospice. “It is marvelous and a must see. We are so grateful to our community for embracing this project and the Good Shepherd Hospice mission to ensure our children have a place to heal and hope for tomorrow.”

The new Bethany Center in Lakeland features a range of interactive resources for children including but not limited to:

  • An expressive art studio filled with an array of art materials for children to use for free expression.
  • A play therapy room, complete with a state-of-the-art interactive sandbox, play kitchen and other amenities that enable children to play and engage with one another in a safe environment.
  • An interactive gaming floor that encourages sports, games and physical activity to reduce stress, tension, anxiety and depression.

About Good Shepherd Hospice

Good Shepherd Hospice, an affiliate of Chapters Health System, is a community-based, not-for-profit organization that supports more than 4,200 patients each year in Polk, Highlands, and Hardee counties as they face the challenges of advancing age and illness. Since 2008, the organization has been accredited by The Joint Commission, the nation’s premier healthcare accrediting body.

About Chapters Health Foundation

Chapters Health Foundation is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization committed to supporting Chapters Health System, a progressive leader in home health, palliative care, hospice, and grief support. Chapters Health Foundation provides more than $7.4 million annually to help offset the accumulated costs of unfunded and underfunded programming including but not limited to charity care, helping to meet the needs of patients and families who cannot afford hospice services. Chapters Health Foundation also provides $1.3 million in funding for the provision of grief support across Chapters Health and in 2020, provided more than $1 million to assist with underfunded pediatric and adult palliative care services. To learn more, visit www.chaptershealth.org, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


To view a PDF of this release, click here.


Austin Mudd

Media Relations Specialist

Chapters Health System

[email protected]

P: 813-871-8327; C: 813-310-4690