Our Beginning

The Circle of  Life  Coalition was  founded from the activities and efforts of a group of healthcare professionals who from March of 2000 until January of 2008 met once per month to discuss how they could better educate the public about end of life care issues and concerns. They called themselves The Berks County End Of Life Care Coalition and their primary method of educating the public was an annual seminar that was held each November.

In 2008 it was decided to incorporate, apply for our non-profit status and change the name to Circle Of Life Coalition. Our purpose is to provide education, information and resources about all facets of end of life care. We want to continue the community of healing and support that the Coalition started in 2000. The majority of people facing end of life issues do not know about the resources available to them. The general public does not understand hospice and pallative care services. Many people believe that hospice is simply using medications to make the patient feel comfortable but that is only one aspect. A team of dedicated professionals surround the patient and family with an array of resources including counseling, support groups and spiritual guidance. One of the many goals will be to educate the community in the differences from perception to reality.

The understanding of advance directives, living wills, funeral planning, skilled care versus home health care and non-medical care are virtually unknown to the public until they need the service. Many times they do not find out until it is too late. This is can be devastating to a family when they feel they are alone and that there is no one to help.

It is estimated that almost 96% of the general population in the United States remain uninformed about these services. Within our community people have always considered death and dying to be a very private matter and while it is, the Circle of Life Coalition can provide resources and information without invading that privacy.

It is also estimated that only 38% of people within any given community actually make plans such as a will, advance directive and even funeral planning to insure that their spouse, family members or even friends are not faced with all of the issues relating to a loved one’s end of life.

The Circle Of Life Coalition believes that our community desperately needs an organization such as ours. Together with volunteers from organizations that provide these services we can accomplish our mission of education, information and resources within our community.

Our goals are to develop a speaker’s bureau. Apply for grants that directly relate to our mission and goals. Create a library at a physical location of written information, books, manuals, etc. We wish to increase our base of volunteers and to make contact with churches, schools, financial institutions, funeral directors, florists, medical supply companies and many more to form a relationship for referral if they find our services may meet their clients needs.

The Circle Of Life Coalition is new and unique in concept. The public generally does not want to be educated about end of life care and related issues. It is our contention that planning for end of life begins today with living our lives to the fullest potential and making sure we have planned today for our future tomorrows.

Please keep checking this site for more information about the Circle Of Life Coalition.

Thank you,

Gary R. Hawkins
Coalition Chairperson 2008-2013
Co-Founder