As there are no free grief services specific to children and youth in the Nipissing and Parry Sound district, their main objective is to support children and youth with helpful resources for grief and loss. The project includes creating a package in English and French (tailored to ages: 3-5, 6-9, 10-13, and 14-16) which includes: a grief workbook, a blanket, an electric candle, a writing journal, pens and pencils, an age-specific toy, and a pamphlet of resources for children and their families about grief and bereavement. This project aims to provide practical support to children, youth and their families, and a way to break down broader level myths and stigma around grief in children and youth. The grief packages can be used as a method of starting a conversation with people who regularly interact with this population, such as schools, and other local organizations.
Children who experience grief through the death of someone they know, need unique support. This project aims to assist in building connection and community within the children/youth bereaved community. In this project, children and youth who have experienced bereavement (and provided consent) will have the opportunity to share their story and experiences through a video diary. These diaries will be shared with other bereavement groups and children/youth involved with one-to-one support. The project hopes to create greater connections and awareness for the child grief community, assist in diminishing the taboo topic of death and children grief within society, and create another layer of support for children.
Kids Grieve Too and Teens Grieve Too groups help children and youth address grief that accompanies a death and provides them with tools to deal with future emotions. In these programs, participants take part in different activities, while parents and guardians are offered support in another group setting. Both programs run for 6 weeks and offer a grief support group for parents and guardians as well. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a greater need for age-appropriate peer grief support. Palliative Manitoba has understood this and created a training program for professionals in the industry to learn how to facilitate support groups in their own communities in Manitoba. The program will allow children all across Manitoba (including many rural areas) to access support, work through their grief and gain the tools needed to successfully handle future losses in a constructive, healing manner. The training program will also be translated in French, so it can reach and support more Manitoba families.
Kids Grieve Too is a therapeutic and educational support group for children ages 4-12 who have a family member who has died from cancer. Using an evidence-based curriculum, children are able to explore emotions, fears and connect with a community of peers with shared experiences around the loss of a family member from cancer. The program explores the many misconceptions children have around cancer/death, provides education, coping tools and skills, as well as empowers children by normalizing their feelings and experiences of grief. In order to engage the children online, children will receive a package mailed to their home full of therapeutic program supplies, which will be utilized during the weekly support group sessions. Supplies will include art-based activities and materials which will promote self-expression, emotional intelligence and effective coping strategies. Parents and caregivers will also be provided resources that help foster a further dialog at home and assist with promoting healthy coping strategies and maintaining connections within the family home.
The death of a loved one is one of the most devastating life experiences for children. It disrupts a developmental path and can have long-term negative psychological consequences. The Standing Alone and Receiving Support (STARS) Family Program is a 1 hour per week, virtual grief support group for children and youth in the City of Kawartha Lakes. The objective of STARS provide a safe, supportive virtual space for children to express their grief, and learn about the grief journey. The program runs 4 times per year in 8-week sessions. The STARs program will focus on art and play through activities exploring what is life and death, preparing for special memory days, how to interact with big feelings, finding support and supportive people, calming exercises and moving forward with a new self-identity. It will also include discussions of pandemic grief. Children participating in the program will receive kits of handouts, art materials, journals and tactile items to engage in the program. Parents or caregivers will receive letters with tips on how to talk to their child and engage in the activities.