About ASHLEY’S Friends

Our History

stickgirlASHLEY’s Friends was established in 2002 and is named in honor of Ashley Farmer, who died in 1996.  Ashley was born at 23 weeks, much too early to survive.  While she lived for only a couple of hours, she is survived by many family members who will be forever impacted by her short life and premature death.  Each letter of her name also represents the purpose of our work, which is to:

Acknowledge the reality of death
Search for meaning in life
Have a support system
Live with memories
Embrace thoughts and feelings
Yield to new self-identity

(Based on the “Mourners Six Reconciliation Needs” by Dr. Alan Wolfelt)

There are important steps all people must take on their journey through grief, and we commit to walk along side children and families who seek out ASHLEY’s Friends.

The Doug Blanchard Memorial Foundation was created by Jackie Blanchard and their children, Dr. Dawn Koger, Michael Farmer, Bart, Bret and Autumn Blanchard, after his sudden death at the age of 54.  Doug was a retired police officer, a golf enthusiast, a sports fan, and most importantly a loving husband, father, and grandfather.  The foundation’s purpose was to create a legacy that honored Doug and his life, while making a difference for families in need.

ASHLEY’s Friends’ program and peer-support groups were developed by Dr. Dawn Koger. As a child, Dawn suffered the death of her own father and several years later, her step-father. After obtaining both a Master’s Degree in Social Work and a Ph.D. in Family Studies, she set out to help other children facing similar circumstances.

Since its doors first opened, ASHLEY’S Friends has helped over one hundred families cope with the death of loved ones. Each year, the families — and the support — continue to grow.

ASHLEY’s Friends receives no reimbursement from insurance or government and relies entirely upon the generosity of donors and fundraising for support.

Emmaus Ministries

Emmaus Ministries was founded in 1993 to provide opportunities for personal growth and spiritual healing for people “in transition”, especially to those facing or recovering from a life crisis such as death of a loved one, loss of a job, divorce, or illness.

In October 2002, the Doug Blanchard Memorial Foundation and Emmaus Ministries launched launched our children’d grief program (Ashley’s Friends) for children ages 5-18 and their families. Meetings are held each Monday from 6:00-7:45 P.M. (see FAQS or schedule of events tab for specifics). All facilitators and kitchen helpers are gracious volunteers and receive no compensation. Both organizations have 501-C 3 non-profit status with the Internal Revenue Service. Donations to this program may be made to:

The Doug Blanchard Memorial Foundation- FEIN

Emmaus Ministries FEIN 38-300130501

Address: 7900 Dwyer Road, Howell, MI 48855-9053

*DBMF is a registered non-profit with the State of Michigan.  Our identification number is 38-3416182.