On Friday, May 4, we participated in Philadelphia’s First Friday by displaying artwork created by The Center’s children and families at DNB First – Old City Branch.
This artwork was inspired by the book The Family Tree: The Night of the Storm by author Laurie Copmann. Families worked together to create a swing and coping buddy to commemorate the life of their loved one who died. Each piece is unique to the family’s grief journey and serves as a place to hold and honor their memories.
The artwork was created with help from The Center’s clinicians. These pieces were then hung from the ceiling of DNB First so visitors can see and appreciate this inspiring display. The artwork will stay up through the month of May.
We want to thank all of the families who participated in this event, DNB First for providing a beautiful space to house the artwork, our Young Professionals Board for organizing the event, Laurie Copmann and Shirley Kraus for providing us with books and display materials, and our donors for supporting The Center to create activities like these for grieving families.
You can only avoid your grief for so long, before it sneaks up and eats away at the best parts of your heart. The healing only starts when you find the strength to face the pain and accept that it’s too heavy a load to carry if you try to do it on your own.
You need to put it down and lean on a friend or two. You’ll never be the same, so don’t pretend that’s possible. But someday, you will find yourself crying less at the thought of this awful loss and smiling more often at the notion of what will be. This person touched your life in a way that you will never forget, and your heart will grow stronger in knowing that. Eventually, the grief will grow lighter. I know this is true, because it is what happened to me.
So, let go of your fear of failure or of making a mess or inconveniencing other people. Forget about what you thought was important. Your world has caught fire and shattered and splintered. It is so broken that the smoke will leave you breathless, choking, tearstained and lost.
But do not run from it. Get up, get out, get help. No one will ever begrudge you trying to save your own life.
Places like The Center for Grieving Children help you make the healing connections that will help you move forward. Don’t be afraid to get the help you need.
Darcie Rudolf, MA
Family Services Clinician
Every morning I start out my day by dropping my kids off at school. It’s usually a pretty seamless operation, except for the intermittent grumpy days. Today was different. After first dropping off my little guy, I made my way to drop off my 2nd grader.
As I exited her classroom after a hug and kiss, she came out running out to me. She proceeded to do this four more times. Finally, on the fifth time as I once against asked what was wrong, she said, “I’m scared. My family isn’t here at this school. Only my little brother is, and he’s in a different building than me. I’m scared.” Knowing that a friend at school who watches the nightly news had told her about the Parkland shooting, I found myself in the hall of an elementary school assuring my daughter that she is safe at school.
Our nation’s hearts are grieving with the families of the Parkland shooting victims. And while it’s become a catalyst for dialogue led by an amazing group of high school students and survivors, the story has stayed in the headlines and likely will for some time. And while we aren’t always aware, the news around this shooting and the loss of life often finds a way to our children’s eyes and ears.
So what should we parents do? How do we protect our children while realizing that we cannot completely shelter them? Below are some tips about ways to support your child as our nation grieves the Parkland shooting:
Tip #1: Reassure your child. Children of all ages want to know that they are safe.
Tip #2: Be honest. Answer all of your child’s questions directly and honestly.
Tip #3: Pay attention to your child’s developmental level. As a parent, you know what your child understands, how much detail you need to provide and what they can handle. Consider modifying your level of detail as well as the wording you use when talking about the incident.
Tip #4: Open the lines of communication. Find out what your child knows first and don’t be shocked if it’s more than you expected, as happened to me lately. By allowing your child to tell what they know, you’ll find out if they have any misinformation and you will avoid exposing your child to what he or she may not actually know. Don’t assume silence means that your child is not aware.
Tip #5: Limit media exposure. While avoiding media is extremely hard with our 24-hour news cycle and prolific social media, it is still important. No matter the age of your children, try to avoid the exposure to graphic images on media outlets.
Tip #6: Talk to your children’s school. Find out what they’re doing, both to use in reassuring your child and yourself but also so you can prepare your child for days when they will have active shooter and shelter in place drills.
Tip #7: Take care of yourself. Your child’s safety and emotional well-being is inextricably linked to yours. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself, including limiting your own exposure to graphic images or descriptions and finding moments of self-care. Finally, it is ok to cry in front of your children and explain that you are expressing emotions. Just avoid hysterical moments in front of children if you can, as that can be disturbing.
I hope these tips can help you and your children as we work to make sense of what is happening around us.
– Darcy Walker Krause, Executive Director
The Center for Grieving Children Wins 2018-2019 Barra Award for Exemplary Nonprofits in the Greater Philadelphia Region
December 5, 2017 – Philadelphia, PA — The Barra Foundation has announced that The Center for Grieving Children is a recipient of a 2018-2019 Barra Award. The Center joins 43 exceptional nonprofit organizations in the Greater Philadelphia region that will each receive $50,000 in grant funding. Barra Awardees are nominated by their peers in the social sector and are then invited to submit an application to the Foundation. The application questions focus on the organization’s leadership, performance and adaptability.
“We are very grateful for the recognition and funding from The Barra Foundation,” said Darcy Krause, Executive Director for The Center for Grieving Children. “This money will go a long way for the grieving children of Philadelphia.”
In line with the Foundation’s mission to invest in innovation in the social sector, the Barra Awards provide unrestricted funding and introduce awardees to a diverse network of social sector leaders. “Without unrestricted capital, nonprofits have little margin for error or appetite for innovation. Through the Barra Awards we hope to provide organizations with some financial breathing room and their leaders with opportunities to learn from their peers—a diverse and inspiring network of entrepreneurial thinkers from across the nonprofit sector,” said Kristina Wahl, president of The Barra Foundation.
Since its 2013 inception, the Barra Awards has granted more than $6 million to area nonprofits. Awardees represent a range of nonprofits from the Arts and Culture, Education, and Health and Human Services sectors in the Greater Philadelphia region.
A full list of the 2018-2019 Barra Award winners is available here.
To learn more about the Barra Awards program, click here.
About The Barra Foundation
The Barra Foundation invests in innovation to inspire change that strengthens communities in the Greater Philadelphia region. Through its Catalyst Fund and Barra Awards, the Foundation provides approximately $4 million in annual grants that are focused on supporting innovation in and across the fields of Arts & Culture, Education, Health and Human Services.
About The Center for Grieving Children
The Center for Grieving Children was founded in 1995 at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and incorporated as an independent nonprofit in 2000. The only organization of its kind based in the City of Philadelphia, The Center helps children grieving a death to heal and grow through their grief while strengthening families, communities and professionals’ understanding of how best to respond to their needs. To this end, The Center runs free grief groups for youth ages 5-25 in four locations and in partnership with schools across the city. It also provides training and support to schools, communities, and professionals who interact with grieving youth and families. To learn more about The Center, please visit www.grievingchildren.org
A new study shows experiencing the death of a sibling at a young age can have physical health impacts later in life.
Our Executive Director, Darcy Walker Krause, was quoted in the story by Healthline, saying the research highlights the importance that "childhood grief isn’t overlooked or misinterpreted."
Philadelphia, PA, March 3, 2017 — In recognition of the New York Life Foundation’s $100,000 Grief Reach grant, The Center for Grieving Children visited New York Life’s local office in Bala Cynwyd for a check presentation. The event highlighted the continued partnership between the local New York Life office and The Center for Grieving Children to support Philadelphia’s grieving youth.
As part of New York Life’s Volunteers for Good program, which provides grants, in-kind donations, and employee volunteers to make a difference in local communities, Volunteers for Good Coordinator Faith Romolini and her team recently coordinated a supply drive and donation of dozens of backpacks filled with art materials
“We are extremely grateful for the continued partnership with the local office of New York Life,” said Darcy Walker Krause, Executive Director of The Center for Grieving Children. “They are a committed partner and provide invaluable volunteers to better support the needs of underserved youth in the city.”
Pictured: New York Life’s South Jersey General Office Managing Partner Robert G. Karalius, ChFC (first row, far right), Volunteers for Good Coordinator Faith Romolini (first row, second from right), and Volunteers for Good team members of the New York Life’s local office present a $100,000 Grief Reach grant check to Darcy Walker Krause, Executive Director (first row, second from left), and her team from The Center for Grieving Children to fund expanded grief support services to children and families in Philadelphia.
About The Center for Grieving Children
The Center for Grieving Children was founded in 1995 at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and incorporated as an independent nonprofit in 2000. The only organization of its kind based in the City of Philadelphia, The Center helps children grieving a death to heal and grow through their grief while strengthening families, communities and professionals’ understanding of how best to respond to their needs. To this end, The Center runs free grief groups for youth ages 5-25 in four locations and in over 70 schools in the city. It also provides training and support to schools, communities, and professionals who interact with grieving youth and families. To learn more about The Center, please visit www.grievingchildren.org
About the New York Life Foundation
Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided $240 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program. To learn more, please visit www.newyorklifefoundation.org.
- Platinum Sponsor ($12,500): provides a grief support group for 12 children
- Gold Sponsor ($7,500): brings grief groups into area schools
- Silver Sponsor ($5,000): supports four families for an entire year
- Bronze sponsor ($3,000): purchases arts and crafts for children
- Hole Sponsor ($1,000): buys supplies and snacks for a group
- Dinner Only ($85): provides 2 support groups with memory boxes to save special memories of their loved ones
You can also support this event by volunteering or donating an in-kind item. For registration details and more information, click the button below.
If you have any questions please contact Austin Egan, Director of Development & Communications, at email@example.com or 267-437-3123 extension 4.
Location: White Manor Country Club, 831 Providence Road, Malvern, PA 19355
12:00pm - Registration and lunch
1:00pm - Shotgun Scramble
5:30pm - Open Bar & Silent Auction
6:30pm - Dinner, Live Auction, and Raffle
*This story originally appeared in the March 23, 2015 edition of the Philadelphia Daily News.*
By Dan Geringer, Daily News Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org,
Posted: March 23, 2015
When Darcy Walker Krause was 15, her mother died suddenly from a heart attack.
Twenty years later, Krause is herself the mother of two, including a newborn, yet there are times when her own mother’s death still affects her.
“There are many moments in the last 20 years that I have missed my mom,” she said. “What comes to mind the most are major life events like graduations, my wedding and certainly the birth of each child.
“She’s not there to visit me at the hospital,” Krause said. “She’s not there to call and cry to in the tough first days. And she’s not there to hold my child now or offer me advice.”
Because Krause internally understands the long-term effects of childhood grief, she felt the need to help children who are dealing with a loved one’s death.
So, she left her five-year law practice, earned a master’s degree in social work and became executive director of The Center for Grieving Children.
Although it had existed in different locations since 1995, Krause said the center’s East Falls headquarters, on Henry Avenue near Indian Queen Lane, was only serving 50 children a year when she arrived in 2012.
Since then, it has dramatically grown to grief counseling 450 to 500 children annually and has satellite programs at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Karabots Pediatric Care Center, on Market Street near 48th and at the St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children’s Center for the Urban Child, on Erie Avenue near Whitaker.
“We will run more than 40 grief counseling programs this year at 30 to 35 schools in underserved neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia,” Krause said.
Grieving children meet in separate peer groups from their caregivers, she said, “so a son is able to say ‘Mom cries all the time and that makes me really sad’ or ‘Mom’s driving me crazy.’
“One child felt like something was his fault but he didn’t tell his mom. He told his peer group. We were able to negotiate that out. We told him, ‘We’re going to let Mom know. This isn’t your fault.’”
Krause said children need that safe space. “They need to be among peers who have gone through what they’ve gone through and are part of the journey,” she said.
That journey, Krause said, is not from grief to closure. She doesn’t believe in closure.
“Throughout life, you feel the loss,” she said. “Grief is a lifelong journey that doesn’t necessarily end at some point.
“I often miss my mom when friends are talking about their moms, or on Mother’s Day, or on her birthday,” Krause said. “April 9 this year will be the 20th anniversary of her passing. It’s on my mind a lot with the new baby and this milestone anniversary.”
Instead of closure, Krause said: “I believe there’s some acceptance of this is how life will be. You develop a coping mechanism.”
“If you keep looking for closure and you don’t find it, how frustrating is that? You’re going to have difficult days. And you’re going to have awesome days. And that’s fine.”