This is anything but a mild winter! With so many snow storms and icy conditions, we’ve all had our fair share of “snow days” and it doesn’t seem to be over yet!

For future reference, The Center for Grieving Children follows the schedule of The School District of Philadelphia in order to ensure the safety of the children and families traveling to and from our peer support groups.

If you are in one of our groups, you can expect to receive a phone call in the event of a group cancellation; but for more immediate answers, please check your local listings for Philadelphia School District closings or visit www.twitter.com/PhillyEducation. If they are closed, so are we.

We hope you will all stay warm this winter!

The Center for Grieving Children is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that helps children grieving a death heal and grow through their grief, while strengthening families, communities, and professionals’ understanding of how best to respond to their needs.  All of our services for grieving children and families are free of charge, which is why support from our sponsors and donors like you is so crucial to the work that we do!  Fall Fest: Hope for the Holidays is on November 21st, 2013 and held in part by the following sponsors:

 

On behalf of the many grieving children and families we serve, we thank you for your support!

The Center for Grieving Children is delighted to announce the hire of Lauren DeMarco, MSW, LSW, as the new Program Director for The Center for Grieving Children.  Lauren comes to The Center from St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children where she worked as a Social Worker in the Cystic Fibrosis Center providing support to patients diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis and their families.  Prior to working at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Lauren was a Resource Specialist at Roxborough High School through the Devereux Foundation.  In this role, Lauren conducted one-on-one behavioral counseling, home visitations, grief and loss support groups, and crisis response with the school’s students.  While at Devereux, Lauren also had experience leading postvention crisis response in schools that had experienced the death of a student or teacher.  Lauren received her Bachelor of Social Work from West Chester University and her Master’s of Social Work from Temple University.

The Center for Grieving Children is excited to have Lauren as a part of our team!  She brings a warm energy, caring heart, and drive to grow the work that The Center does.  We look forward to introducing her to our families, partners, supporters, and friends.  We hope you will welcome Lauren to our community!  You can reach Lauren at 267-437-3123 x. 1 or lauren@grievingchildren.org.

How do you handle your grief?  Here is a list of coping skills created and compiled by kids at the Center for Grieving Children:

Draw… Read… Work… Put your head down…

Take a minute…

Look at pictures… Listen to your Mom!

Be happy… either CRY or don’t cry… Light candles

Put the fan on when you’re mad

Look at the stars or moon

Ask Mom for a toy… Get dressed… Go to school… Sing

Play video games… Go outside… Watch TV

Eat rice or ice cream… Go to the park…

Go to sleep… Take a bath…

Talk to someone… Listen to music

Dance… Play sports or exercise

Play with friends or family

Talk to friends or your group

Play with your Pet!


Our peer support groups are starting to wind down for the year and won’t begin again until September. In the meantime, save the dates for our FREE drop-in peer support groups this summer. These groups are open to the public and separated by age.

Groups will be held at The Center for Grieving Children
3300 Henry Avenue, Suite 110 Philadelphia, PA 19129
on

July 3rd
July 17th
August 7th
August 21st

From 2-3:00pm for ages 13-18 and from 4-5:00pm for ages 6-12.

Please call us at (267) 437-3123 with any questions.

Now accepting registration for our groups beginning September 2013.

We would like to thank Berkadia for supporting us in a big way for our upcoming 12th Annual Golf Invitational! Berkadia is a Plantinum Sponsor for The Center for Grieving Children at $10,000. The Center provides a safe and caring place where children, teens, and their families grieving a death can find the support to grow through their healing process. This thoughtful gift will help turn a time of tragedy and loss into an experience of healing and hope for many children. As fourteen-year-old Anthony said, “I found a safe place to share my story and hurt. I don’t
feel so alone anymore, and I look forward to coming here each week.”

On behalf of the children and families we serve, we thank you for your support.

Please join us for our 12th Annual Golf Invitational held at Torresdale Frankford Country Club on May 13, 2013 at 11:00am. For more information – 12th Annual Golf Invitational – May 13th, 2013

We hope to see you there!

Visit our sponsor at Berkadia.

There are several ways to volunteer at The Center for Grieving Children. We have opportunities for people interested in being a Grief Group Facilitator for children or adults, office volunteer positions, our Board of Directors or special committees such as Marketing, Resource Development or Special Events. For more information – see our Volunteer Packet.

Office Volunteer Application
Group Facilitator Application

Children’s Grief Group Volunteer Facilitators:
Who we are looking for?

Our volunteers are adults who care deeply about children and love to listen to them with all their hearts. They are capable of tolerating sadness and pain, as well as appreciating joy and some of the hidden gifts that result from growing through grief.

Our volunteers are willing to look at their own losses and continue to grow through them. They are open to sharing their humanity and to learning.

Our volunteers must attend a volunteer facilitator training program (held in September 2013). We ask for a commitment of one school calendar year (September through June) to The Center.

Work with staff to facilitate children’s grief support groups at The Center. Requirements for this challenging yet rewarding role include a placement interview, a security background check and completion of the volunteer facilitator training program. Click here for the Group Facilitator Application. Completed applications may be e-mailed to lisa@grievingchildren.org or mailed to: 3300 Henry Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19129. Once we have received the completed application, the volunteer will be notified of the next training class.

For more information on how to help grieving children or further questions on ANY of our volunteer opoortunities, please call 267-437-3123 or e-mail us at lisa@grievingchildren.org.

Our thoughts are with Boston. As our nation faces this difficult time of unanswered questions, children may experience a variety of emotions — confusion, fear, anxiety, helplessness, shock, anger, and sadness. Here are some tips for talking with your children and helping them through this time:

Tip #1: Reassure your child. Children want to know that they are safe. Sadly, the death of the 8-year-old child in the bombing may shake that. Reassure them that they are safe, and you are there to talk to them.

Tip #2: Be honest. Answer all of your child’s questions directly and honestly.

Tip #3: Open the lines of communication. First ask what your child knows. This way you will learn if your child has any misinformation about the event and you won’t expose your child to what he or she may not actually know as well. Don’t assume silence means that your child is not aware.

Tip #4: Limit media exposure. No matter the age of your children, avoid the exposure to graphic images on media outlets. This includes leaving a television on in a room where the child is. Even if your child seems to not be paying attention, children take in more than we realize.

Tip #5: Be patient. Be patient in dealing with your child’s reaction to this event, which will often be demonstrated in their behavior. Use age-appropriate ways of talking to them about the event and reassuring them.

Tip #6: Watch how you react. Children look to adults for cues on how to respond. Be a positive role model. Feel free to show empathy and sadness, but make sure to show emotions in a manner that will not scare your child.

Tip #7: What to expect. Teens and children often respond to tragedies. This response may be exhibited by defiant or irritable behavior, difficulty concentrating, appetite or sleep changes, or difficulty separating from caregivers. For those children and teens who have lost a loved one previously, particularly in violent circumstances, this tragedy may be a trigger for their loss and experience. These behaviors and reactions should decrease over time. If they do not or you need extra guidance, do not hesitate to contact your pediatrician or a mental health professional.

Tip #8: If needed, seek professional help. Should your child’s emotions become overwhelming or affect his or her ability to function, please seek the help of your family practitioner, pediatrician, or other mental health professionals. Please be aware that if your child was present or near the bombings, knows anyone affected, or has experienced anything similar, the reaction of your child may be stronger and last longer. You might want to contact a health professional in advance to talk about the needs of your child based on this experience.

As always, please feel free to call us at The Center (267-437-3123) if you have any questions.

Dear Friends:
It is my pleasure to introduce The Center for Grieving Children’s new Executive Director, Darcy Walker Krause. Darcy will take the helm from Rob Sheesley, the prior Executive Director and co-founder, who retired after nurturing the Center for 18 rewarding years.

Darcy was destined for her new role here. First, she understands the struggle of the youth we serve having lost her own mother when she was a teenager. It is this painful knowledge that gives her a passion for The Center and its critical mission. Her life has gifted her with the real desire to make a difference. Second, she has the skill set and drive to execute on her plans to grow The Center. Although she had started a different career path as a promising young attorney at Littler Mendelson in Philadelphia after graduating from Duke University Law School, she gave it all up to fulfill her dream. She enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice and obtained a Master’s of Social Work. Upon graduation she served as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Sibling Bereavement Project Coordinator at Peter’s Place in Radnor, PA.
We have big plans for The Center – growing our funding, growing the numbers of families we serve, and creating grief outreach groups that support all Philadelphia area schools and communities. We believe Darcy can fulfill these plans. Although we have been active in our city for many years, there are still too many suffering children in our community who need our services. Darcy is committed to taking The Center to the next level to better meet this need. Please take a moment to read Darcy’s welcome letter, also on our website, to see more about her plans for The Center.

I also want to take this moment to thank Rob Sheesley for his invaluable time at The Center. Rob founded The Center with his late colleague, Janis Keyser, in 1995 as a bereavement program for St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. Over the last 18 years, Rob has been the guiding light for the Center. I have worked with Rob for the last eight years and I know first-hand this job was always a labor of love for him. There was no one more committed to the children and their well-being. He was committed to his craft and touched many young lives who were in desperate need of help. How many of us can retire from a career knowing they have left a positive mark in the world? Rob certainly can. I would like thank him for all he has done and all he has given. We certainly wish him the best in his well-deserved retirement. We are also thankful he is only a phone call away when we need his guidance.

Sincerely,
Steve Doherty
Chairperson
Board of Directors

Dear Friends and Supporters:

It is with great enthusiasm that I begin my work here at The Center for Grieving Children. Having lost my mother at 15, I know what it is like to feel like the only one, to need resources that are hard to locate and to carry that loss with you every day. In fact, the research shows that without interventions like The Center provides, children who lose a parent, sibling or caregiver are more likely to have difficulties in school, struggle with interpersonal relationships, and experience long term mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.

The Center provides a safe place for grieving children to meet other kids and teens who have experienced a similar loss, process their grief, and develop resiliency and coping mechanisms with which to respond to their loss. As 8-year old Sameer told me at one of my first groups at The Center, “Before I came here, I thought I was the only person whose dad had died. After my first group here, I saw that there were other kids like me here and wanted to keep coming!”

We are at a watershed moment as an organization. We are in a new location, have new leadership, and want to see our work grow to reach more grieving children in the Philadelphia region. I am up to this task. I am working with our staff to develop marketing and outreach initiatives, so that the new community in which we are located as well as other areas of Philadelphia know we are here. I am also identifying partners with whom we can collaborate and identifying additional revenue streams for us to pursue to fund our programs. Finally, my Program Coordinator and I are developing a free 8-week grief outreach program that we are piloting this Spring at a local elementary school. We plan on expanding this program in the Fall to more schools in the Philadelphia School District and associated charter schools. We believe that this outreach work will expand the people who know of our organization and grow the number of grieving children we are able to reach.

It is an exciting time! I want to thank the Board of Directors for the opportunity to lead The Center and Rob Sheesley for founding and leading The Center to where it is today. Please feel free to give me a call, shoot me an email, or drop by to say hi. I look forward to meeting many of you. Thank you for your continued support!

Best,

Darcy Walker Krause
Executive Director

PS: Please remember that there are many ways to give to The Center. There are traditional means, such as donations, but we are always looking for volunteers to help facilitate groups, offer additional hands for office-related tasks, and help us plan special events!