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Project Jason's Key to Healing Retreat VII, July 29-31, 2016

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The Project Jason Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the 7th annual Keys to Healing Retreat will take place on July 29-31 at the Savior Pastoral and Retreat Center in Kansas City, KS.

Note: If you have not registered your missing loved one for services with us, you must do that prior to registering for the retreat and then obtain verification of eligibility from us. To register a missing loved one:
Eligibility: Immediate adult family members of missing persons registered with us for services.
To register:
Watch this webinar to gain a better understanding of the retreat:
Project Jason's Keys to Healing: Mind, Body, and Spirit ~  Kansas City, KS, July 29-31, 20162014RetreatLogo_zps6b8e4d79.jpg


When someone you love disappears, you're not handed a manual and given clear cut instructions on what to do and how to do it. Finding qualified help in the midst of what is likely the most traumatic event in your life seems like an impossible task, and especially to seek this help in tandem with the search for the missing loved one. You may find help with the search and investigation, but when the door closes at night, friends have gone home, and you still don't have the answers, you're now alone to attempt to make sense of a senseless event.

It's not making sense, though, and you wonder if the way you're feeling is normal. You question your own sanity as you deal with symptoms such as inability to sleep and memory issues. You may experience a roller coaster of emotions such as guilt, fear, anger, anxiety, and just plain numbness. No one truly understands, and you doubt your ability to go on. You want the nightmare to end, but another day begins in the same way. Is there help for you in your unique and life-altering situation?

The professionally trained staff at Project Jason know the difficulties we face in this situation. We know the emotions and the frustrations. None of us knows how long this journey will last, so it's important that we do all that we do what we can to keep ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually strong for the day we have our answers. These are the Keys to Healing, the keys to help you face each day without your missing loved one.

Your well-being is the most important element in what we do: support. The Keys to Healing retreat, and all it offers, is the best life training offered anywhere for persons living with the ambiguous loss of a child or adult loved one. In addition to the training sessions, you'll meet with other families who know and understand how you feel. You'll be in a safe and private environment that nurtures your mind, body, and spirit and gives you the tools to move forward in a manner healthy for you, while continuing in the search for your loved one.
You will find peace and camaraderie at the Keys to Healing Retreat.

Sessions will be conducted by professional instructors, including a licensed counselor. As the Keys to Healing Retreat is for healing the mind, body, and spirit, past retreats have featured massage therapists, personal trainers and nutritionists, demonstrations of anti-stress techniques, and spiritual advisers. The 2014 weekend will treat attendees to professionals with similar unique mind, body, and spirit specialties.

Our core instructor is Duane Bowers, LPC. We believe, and past attendees agree, that Duane is the most knowledgeable counselor in the country in respect to understanding the unique emotional issues families of missing persons encounter. Among his many services to families dealing with grief is providing support to families of abducted, missing, exploited and murdered children through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and to families of missing persons of any age through Project Jason's Healing Harbor. Bowers is the author of "Guiding Your Family Through Loss and Grief" and "A Child is Missing: Providing Support for Families of Missing Children."

Come to a place where everyone understands without having to explain a thing, and often, words are not needed.

Honor your missing loved one at a special and moving ceremony

Eligibility: The retreat is open to immediate family members (spouse, biological parent(s), legal guardians, adult siblings, adult children and the spouses of all mentioned) of still missing persons whose cases are listed with law enforcement agencies in North America and who have registered with us for services. The attendee needs to be age 18 or older.

If you haven't registered for services with us in the past, click here first:

Have questions? Ask us at

I have been blessed during the ten years since Jason's disappearance to have had a good support system, faith for the journey, and training to gain an understand of what is happening inside me and how to handle a variety of situations as they come along. I have learned to laugh again and experience joy, while at the same time keeping the search for my son active. I could not possibly box up what I learned and send it to you, but I can give it to you in the Keys to Healing retreat.

So, this is my gift to you from me and Project Jason. I hope you'll be able be able to join us. 

Kelly Murphy, Mother of Missing Jason Jolkowski
President and Founder,
Project Jason

All missing persons are loved by someone, and their families deserve to find the answers they seek in regards to the disappearance.

Group photos from past retreats:

Project Jason Keys to Healing 2013
Project Jason Keys to Healing Retreat 2012
Project Jason Keys to Healing Retreat 2011

As you can see by watching the faces in this video, the 2009 retreat was a success. Now we need the public's help to provide this service to more families.

Keys to Healing video filmed by Christina Fontana, director of "Project Jason, A Voice for the Missing".

Click on the photo above to view a photo slideshow from the 2010 retreat
Information and Class Descriptions from the 2014 retreat:

Information and Class Descriptions from the 2013 retreat:

Information and Class Descriptions from the 2012 retreat:

Information and class descriptions from the 2011 retreat:

Information and class descriptions from the 2010 retreat:

Information and class descriptions from the 2009 retreat:

If you haven't registered your missing loved one for services, click here:

Have questions? Ask us at

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Pricing for 2016

Payment Plans
Project Jason is offering monthly and convenient payment plans for attendees. (See registration form for details)
Pricing for the Project Jason Keys to Healing 2016 Retreat

The pricing is done on a per person per room basis, as that is how we are charged by the retreat center. As the center has a limited number of rooms, we encourage attendees to share a room if possible so that we can keep the retreat open for as many families as possible. The prices are in bold below.


1 person in a room  $225.00
2 persons in a room $350.00
Save $50 each person if you share a room!

What the Retreat fee covers: Your retreat fees cover transportation to and from the Kansas City airport or an airport hotel, your room at the retreat center, all classes, talks, related activities, snacks, beverages, and meals.

Note for those making flight arrangements: The retreat begins Friday afternoon at approximately 4:00pm and ends Sunday at approximately 1:30pm. The Kansas City airport is about a 35-40 minute drive from the retreat center. Given the need to arrive at the airport one hour prior to your flight, the suggested outgoing flight time for Sunday is 3pm or after.
For your incoming flight the best time frames for arrival are 11:30am through no later than  2pm. These times may not work for you and are suggestions to get the most of time with us, and not miss one precious moment. We can check in on Friday, beginning at one, (rooms may not be ready yet) and must be out of the facility by 2pm on Sunday.
The retreat center cannot act as a hotel, so attendees who may need to fly in the day before or depart the day after will need to make their own arrangements at a hotel near the airport if they would like transportation to/from the center.
For attendees driving in
If you're driving to the center, we suggest arriving on Friday at around 2pm. This gives you time to explore the grounds, meet other attendees, set up your missing loved one's display, and get settled in your room as soon as it's available.
On Sunday, the retreat ends at 1:30.

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2016 Keys to Healing Classes and Theme



Throughout history, people overcame adversity to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others. We call them courageous.  Courage is defined as the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. While we honor a courageous person from history with each of our class offerings, we also recognize that every family member of a missing person falls within that definition.

Unleash Your Brain Power

Bessie Coleman was the first black woman to earn a pilot's license. US flying schools denied her entry so she taught herself French and moved to France, earning her license in seven months. She specialized in stunt flying and parachuting and remains a pioneer of women in the field of aviation.

Families of the missing encounter many obstacles on their journey and need to use their wits and creativity to find solutions, however, the effects of trauma on the brain may hinder normal functioning.

This class will aid the attendee in understanding the impact of this trauma and what they can do to counter-act these natural occurrences.

Peace Within: Honoring my Safety Zone

Ghandi was the leader in the fight for India's independence from British rule. He advocated for peaceful protests, despite all the injustices the Indian people suffered in the process. He inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

There are many perceived injustices and frustrations for families of the missing brought about by other people.  We cannot be responsible for their actions or reactions, but we can be for our own.

This class covers the various frustrations encountered by families of the missing and how the individual can choose to react and cope with what may not be in their control.

Creating a new life: Living life with ambiguous loss

Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish friar who died in Auschwitz during World War II. Prior to being arrested, he helped hide close to 2,000 Jews at his friary. Three prisoners escaped from the camp so Nazis chose ten men to be starved to death in a bunker. When one of them called out "My wife, my children!", Maximilian volunteered to take his place. A janitor was an eyewitness to the friar's last days, and reported that he comforted the dying men, keeping their spirits up, and after 2 weeks, was the only person left alive.

Having a loved one disappear and coping with ambiguous loss is certainly one of the most difficult events in a person's life. It often feels like we can't go on a moment longer. We all want to make sense of it, and somehow make a difference for our missing loved one and for all who suffer this tragedy.

This class offering covers how we can best honor our missing loved one, honor ourselves, and help make life as it is the best life possible.

Take Flight: Building the Resiliency to Move Forward

The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were aviation pioneers from Dayton, OH, who are credited with inventing and building the world's first airplane. After hundreds of adjustments and tests over the course of many years, they were successful. They were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.

It can take some trial and error, time, and self-understanding to continue life in a meaningful way, despite the absence of our missing loved ones.  This summary class provides practical tools for the journey.


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How close is the retreat to where I live?


The 2016 Keys to Healing location was chosen to keep in line with our goals of hosting the retreat in different areas to reach more families and also because of its central location within driving distance of many US cities.
The map below gives you a snapshot view of how close the 2016 location is to you in terms of estimated driving hours. With rising airline costs, delays, and other problems, we encourage attendees to take a road trip and come join us!
Click on the map above to enlarge it.


List of cities and estimated drive times:


Albuquerque, NM  12 hrs

Casper, WY  12 hrs
Cedar Rapids, IA  5 hrs
Chicago, IL  8 hrs
Cincinnati, OH  9 hrs

Dallas, TX  8 hrs
Denver, CO  9 hrs
Detroit, MI   11.5 hrs
Indianapolis, IN  8 hrs
Memphis, TN 8 hrs
Milwaukee, WI  9 hrs
Nashville, TN  9 hrs

Oklahoma City, OK  5 hrs
Omaha, NE   3 hrs

Rapid City, SD 10 hrs

Sioux City, IA  4.5 hrs
St Louis, MO   4 hrs
Address of Retreat Center:


Savior Pastoral Center

12601 Parallel Parkway

Kansas City, KS 66109

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What Attendees Have to Say

The families who have attended the retreat will tell you in their own words how life was for them and how the retreat helped them know they can go on.

"On June 26, 2007 my entire life changed, my 26 year old son disappeared.  This began a new chapter that altered the path of my life completely.  Through the beginning days of darkness I struggled, and with the instruction from Law Enforcement that they have limited resources and that they would do all they could but that the family must do the rest ringing in my head."

"Every aspect of the retreat had impact on me personally, and I took away from it tools that will help me over the coming months and years to not only cope, but to move forward with more strength, health and armed with knowledge that not only I can use, but that I can share with others to help in their walk."

Christy Davis, Mother of missing Michael Austin Davis

“I feel as though the Keys to Healing Retreat made such a major impact on my life and family!  Before the retreat I was going down a negative and destructive path.  I was devastated by the loss and presumed death of my loved one.  Because of the retreat, I have started making better choices, and my husband and I are working on our marriage instead of being determined to end our marriage.  I felt so alone and afraid…I felt incapable of dealing with the pain and emotion of losing my loved one.  Because of the retreat, I feel like my family is on the road to healing….although I don’t know when, or even if this traumatic event will end…I know that my husband, child, and I will survive and hopefully even thrive.”

Carolyn Johnson, Mother of missing Clinton Nelson

“During the early days of my daughter’s disappearance, I was frantic for something to do, or someone to connect with who could help us. The only resources I was finding were located in Australia!  I think I gave up. I was struggling personally, not only with my guilt and fears for my missing child, but also with cancer. The latter two are history, but my missing child is always there. The few people that I could share with were helpless and sometimes cruel, so I just closed up. I had no money for reward or a trip to the state where she disappeared, and I just got angrier and angrier!

Through the experience of the retreat I had to come to terms with that anger and frustration.  Yes ‘dumping all this’ may not resolve my daughter's fate but the process certainly was enlightening.  I didn’t realize how destructive my silence and anger were. Also, the strength of the other families affected me profoundly.  The education at the retreat reinforced what I was experiencing but also provided insight and constructive things I can practice to become a better ‘me’, even a ‘me not knowing what has become of my child’.” 

Malinda Hoyt, Mother of missing Emillie Hoyt

"I have spent the last 5 years with severe depression, feelings of guilt, and long stretches of insomnia. You see, when you have a missing child, spouse, or loved one, you have no answers you feel helpless and all alone. I took myself away from the entire world and I buried myself in a world where no one could touch or reach me, not even myself. I became my own worst enemy. I hated the person(s) responsible for taking my little girl away from me, and I hated the police department for not doing enough. Most of all I hated myself because I wasn't able to search for her financially or mentally.

The Keys to Healing Retreat was like the weight of the earth being lifted off my shoulders. I saw others just like me who had been through the same pain, the same loss and the same fears. I felt as if I had awoken from a very long sleep. I even looked in the mirror for the first time in a very long time and I saw a person who wanted to live...I felt rebirth, a second chance back to live after attending the retreat. I can now communicate with the children where as before I only existed with them when necessary, and then I locked myself away in my room. I ask if you read this please help, look deep into your heart and soul and remember that this too could happen to you or someone you know.”

Elizabeth Rivera, Mother of missing Elsha M. Rivera

“We were helpless when Jesse disappeared, and our lives seemed to be over. Project Jason helped us see that wasn't true. At the retreat, we found out it is okay to smile and to laugh and to appreciate what we have. Yes, we miss Jesse, but we were able to see that he would not want us to live lives of darkness and sorrow.  And we learned about the resources that can help us look for Jesse while still being a part of all the good things that are a part of this world.  Just recently, friends from church lost their son in an auto accident.  We are now ready to help these people as we were helped.”

Don and Donna Ross, Parent of missing Jesse Ross

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Wish List and Needs for the 2016 Retreat

Corporate sponsors from family-friendly companies

Private donors (not to include families of missing persons)

Our ultimate goal is to offer the retreat for free to families of the missing. The more donations we receive, the closer we can come to reaching that goal.

Local printing done for retreat handbooks and vigil program

White 1" binders with clear display cover for inserts, one for each attendee and staff members

Donation of an oversize passenger van rental OR local transportation company to transport attendees from the Seattle airport to the retreat center and back

One single wrapped rose for each attendee family

One quality 8x10 photo frame for each represented family (would prefer frames to be alike) OR one (each attendee) quality 8x11 lucite stand for tribute posters

10 boxes of good quality facial tissue  

Pens, markers, and clip-on name badges sets

Sheet cake with Keys to Healing logo (serves around 40)

Licensed manicurist for free manicures and/or pedicures
2 licensed massage therapists to provide free chair massages onsite

Licensed professional to give free facials

Coffee mugs with Keys logo imprinted, one for each attendee and volunteer staff  

T-shirts with the Keys logo imprinted, one for each attendee and volunteer staff

Pens with the Keys logo imprinted, one for each attendee and volunteer staff
Pins with the logo or other small memento type gifts

Donation of frequent flyer miles

Items for "Pamper Me" gift bags, such as trial size shampoos, body and foot lotions, mini scented candles, mints, gum, chocolates, facials, body wash or scented spray, bath sponges, and any other small size items which represent personal comfort.

One of each gift for is needed for each attendee. Example: If we have 35 attendees, we would need 35 of each donated item.  

Gift bags, one for each attendee (for the "Pamper Me" bags noted above)


Adult Coloring Books and colored pencils, one set for each attendee

Product donations or mailed monetary donations can be sent to Project Jason, PO Box 59054,Renton WA 98058
Online donations can be made at

If you'd like more information, or to discuss a corporate sponsorship, please email

Thank you for your support!

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Bonus Speaker


A Different Hope
Presented by Ward Foley

Although Ward Foley doesn’t know your experience of having a missing loved one first hand, he has had to call upon God many times in his life to show hope to him when none could be found. When life hands you pain or adversity, it doesn’t mean that it’s over!  Whether you were born with a crippling disease that is unpronounceable, suffered a terrible accident, or bear the heartache of a missing loved one, there is still a spark of hope to be ignited!  There is still life to be lived, there is always hope, and sometimes, there is laughter. Ward’s permeating authenticity empowers people to believe. Believe in themselves and engage in a fuller more meaningful life regardless of the challenges before them. 



Ward speaking to 2011 Keys to Healing retreat attendees

The Story of Scarman

"God never gives us more than we can handle."

This is the motto that Ward Foley lives by daily.  Born with Arthrogryposis, a rare non-degenerative condition, he has  persisted through numerous surgeries, disfigurement and pain.  He survived uncountable trials in the effort to live a ‘normal’ life, and triumphed through it all. Now, Ward’s mission is to empower others.

Every scar has a story behind it and is cherished by Ward as part of the process that made him.

Ward has given hundreds of presentations throughout the U.S. and Canada for more than twenty years, at businesses, colleges,churches, and schools.  He is also a frequent guest on TV and radio.

Author, speaker, husband, father, and friend, Ward has also been a Little League coach, cross-country bicyclist, and more – all as part of his lifelong campaign to share happiness and peace.

Learn more about Ward and his "lucky scars":



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And what everyone loves: Free massages!

We're grateful to Darcy for giving of her time and talents to help our attendees feel pampered.


Our Official Keys to Healing Licensed Massage Therapist:

Darcy Rice is a licensed massage therapist practicing in Omaha, NE. She was very touched by the mission of Project Jason and assisted us for the first time at the 2013 retreat in Omaha. She is looking forward to bringing her healing touch to the retreat this year. She has performed more than 5,000 hours of massage and her clients see her for everything from stress relief to chronic pain.

Darcy stated: "After experiencing the very emotional and moving retreat that first year I volunteered for Project Jason, I knew that I had to help anyway I could, whether that was by a simple prayer, share of a post or volunteering my time any chance I get. Volunteering at this event and meeting the families of the missing has taught me to rely on my faith, family and friends more than I have ever done before. I pray for all that are involved in this project everyday."

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