Our Mission

The Grief Compass is a Chicago based non-profit organization dedicated to supporting individuals, families, and communities. Our programs offer education, guidance and support to people navigating loss and are structured around the belief that everyone experiences loss and many benefit from focused grief support. 


While the non-profit designation was officially approved in 2021, Sheri Khan has worked with fellow grievers since 2013 after the tragic loss of her daughter, Sofia. It is in Sofia’s honor that we do this important work. 

Sofia died in 2010 when she was 9 years old. Her family was on vacation near Holland, Wisconsin when Sofia drowned in Lake Michigan during a kayaking accident. Sofia’s body was never recovered from Lake Michigan. The U.S. Coast Guard and four separate dive teams heroically searched for her. All to no avail. Today, near Logan Square’s Haas Park playground in Chicago lives a beautiful garden bearing Sofia’s name. The Garden is dedicated to the community and to remind people that they’re not alone in experiencing grief. 

Photo by Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune

To read more about Sofia, the Garden, and Sheri Khan’s work, visit The Chicago Tribune articles here. 


  • ‘It shook my foundation’: After girl’s drowning, Logan Square garden honors her memory, offers hope to others
    PDF | Tribune
  • Column: What one mother’s grief can teach us about responding to Chicago’s heartbreaking violence

Guiding Principle: The Grief Compass is guided by the principle that grief is a universal experience, and we can create space and energy for healing and honoring. 


Sheri Khan, Founder

A few years after her daughter Sofia’s death, Sheri enrolled at DePaul University to earn a master’s degree in education with a focus on mental health to better understand her own grief and help others through theirs. She graduated on the eighth anniversary of Sofia’s death. Today, she practices as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), offering counseling via The Chicago EMDR Center and support via The Grief Compass. 

Noah and Zane Khan

Sofia’s older brothers, Noah and Zane, have continued to heal from the loss of their baby sister and have found healing through their service to others. There are no words that can ever adequately express their heartbreak as they move onward with their lives, keeping Sofia both in their hearts and living in her honor. Noah, now 24 years old, is our event guru as he seeks all the ways for us to offer kindness and support to our community. Zane, 22 years old, is our design extraordinaire, putting his technical and design skills to the best of uses, all with the biggest, loving of hearts. 

Barb Niccum

Bio coming soon! 

Dr. E. Bello

Bio coming soon! 


The Grief Compass provides support to select Chicago Public Schools through our community partnership with Communities in Schools of Chicago. The mission of Communities in Schools of Chicago is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. This partnership offers The Grief Compass the opportunity to speak with teachers, school counselors, and families about loss and grief and the ways they can support both themselves and their children.