About Us

CGEA Mission

The mission of the Children's Grief Education Association is to provide grief education and support to bereaved children, their families and professionals in schools and community organizations through local, national and international outreach and training.

CGEA Core Values

Compassion offered with love and empathy.

Respect for individual differences and diverse cultures.

Stewardship through responsible use of financial, intellectual and spiritual resources.


Who We Are

Mary M. Lyles, PhD, LCSW provides passion and resources from her personal losses and more than 15 years experience providing therapeutic care for children and families.  She has worked with over 2,000 grieving children and their families.  She trains volunteers, graduate-level interns and others through workshops and online education to assist grieving children and their families.

Mary's publications on behalf of grieving children are being translated and utilized in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Guatemala.  Her publications include an online education course, Navigating Children's Grief and the Compass Group Curriculum.

Mary completed a PhD at the University of Northern Colorado.  She also attended the University of Houston where she completed her Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a minor in Biochemical and Biophysical Science, and Master of Social Work.  Her clinical education includes a one year internship at Baylor College of Medicine, Menninger Department of Psychiatry, Houston, Texas.  Mary is a co-founder of CGEA and a member of the American Psychological Association.  She continues an active private practice, where she provides psychotherapy for children and adults.

Don R. Lyles, M. Div., BCC (Board Certified Chaplain) continues a life-long ministry through his service as a chaplain at St. Anthony Hospital, Denver, Colorado, a Level-1 Trauma Center, where he provides pastoral care specializing in cardiac services.  Don, co-founder of CGEA, also teaches and practices Tai Chi for health.

CGEA began as a nonprofit organization in 2004.  In order to expand opportunities for service, the nonprofit donated remaining assets to the Heartlight Center, and one of the original co-founders, Shane Phillips now serves in that organization to further promote the well-being of those who grieve.  Shane, is Vice President of Private Wealth Management with JP Morgan. Shane knows the impact of loss all too well. At 16, his parents and only sibling, Mindy, were killed in a plane crash. Shane's story was featured in Kiplinger's Magazine in 2002.  His personal struggle has imbued him with fortitude and dedication to bringing support and encouragement to grieving children. 

Hear Radio Interview with Shane Phillips: "From the Ashes of Despair" 

Don & Mary Lyles continue the web-based services of CGEA in hopes of reaching out to those who have limited access to grief support.





The loss of a loved one is a universal human experience. How thoughts and feelings about the loss are expressed vary by culture. We encourage you to adapt information in this site to what fits for your beliefs and customs. Information in this website is not intended to diagnose or treat mental health concerns.  Seek prompt professional attention in your community for mental health care.
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