Boys & Girls Club Blog

Children and Teens Grief Support Network Year Review

We are a little over a year from the kickoff of the Children and Teen Grief Support Network. This program is open to all youth in our community between the ages of 5-18 and their families who have experienced loss of a person. For the siblings under the age of 5, babysitting is offered.
A given evening will include a family meal and focused group sessions. The groups will do age appropriate activities that allow the youth to express their feelings and be around others with similar experiences. Sometimes we even have support dogs that come in to lighten the mood! There is also a support group for parents to talk about their personal experience and the impact they have seen on their child. After groups, families move into activities in the gym or gamesroom together. The evening concludes with a memory circle.
I have seen this program grow and the benefits that it brings to youth who have experienced grief. We have families that come from 30 miles away and a few miles away.  We have taken great pride in the fact that youth enjoy coming to our support groups. There have been youth who spent nights not wanting to talk about their grief at all but have slowly opened up to the group little by little. They are making great strides in processing their grief which is exactly what we hope for. Our teens have told us that they finally found a place that they feel comfortable enough to share what they are going through and find new ways to cope.
Amy Reed, Grief Support Coordinator and Donna Klawitter, Family support Coordinator, put a great deal of thought into providing an evening of support and comfort for our families. Our youth explore feelings through activities while the adults process information with each other who have shared experiences. Not only do the children hopefully benefit from this network, but we hope that this also is a place where the adults can benefit from too.
This program has grown with our Club Communities support. If you need more information on our Children and Teen Grief Support Network, please reach out to Donna Klawitter at 920-233-1414, ext.130. If you know of a child that has experienced loss of a person and needs some support please share our information with them. I am so grateful that we are able to provide this program for our community and look forward to watching it grow.
– Donna Klawitter