Children, teens, and their caregivers are invited to attend one of our 11 week groups. We know bereaved children and caregivers often struggle with the pain of their sadness and the pain of feeling different and alone. In the program, families meet with others who have a similar experience, who understand their feelings, and ease their sense of isolation. Group members are encouraged to share at their own pace, learn from each other, and discover new strategies for coping. The following is a sample of a group night.
6:15 – 6:30 PM: Family members join together for a light dinner and conversation. After dinner, participants break into individual groups.
6:30 – 7:45 PM: Children and teens divide into groups according to age, and caregivers meet in their own group. All groups are led by mental health professional and trained assistants. Caregivers meet to discuss parenting issues and how to manage their own grief. The children and teens play games and do art and writing activities based on grief related themes. In a supportive environment, they are made to feel safe to share their feelings and allowed to have fun.
The following is an example of a child and teen session after finishing dinner:
Welcome Ritual: Introductions, group cheer, poem, or song.
Check-In About Feelings: Children talk about coping strategies they used during the week.
Icebreaker Activity: A fun, engaging game such as group juggling or twister.
Grief-Related Activity: Group members engage in a grief related Q&A game, followed by an activity such as creating a memory box. The chosen activity is followed up with peer sharing and a group discussion.
Closing Ritual: Candle lighting and reflection time.
Families are expected to make a full 11-week commitment in order to develop trust in each other and gain a sense of security. After participating in their weekly group, participants are welcome to join a monthly drop in group.