Grief is a journey we don't have to walk alone.
TREK Program for Children, Teens
& Their Caregivers
& Their Caregivers
The impact of the death of someone special can be emotionally devastating and have a profound affect on a youth's life - not only immediately, but throughout their lifetime. This kind of an event is isolating. Kids may keep their feelings inside and want to protect their parents or other family members from their grief emotions. Unless their school friends have experienced a similar loss, they have no way of understanding the pain and do not know how to talk about the loss with their grieving friend.
Children, adolescents and teens who do not resolve the difficult issues around grief and loss are at risk to themselves and to society, now or later as adults. In fact, in studies of youth who had experienced the death of a parent or sibling found these children are:
- 5x more likely to complete suicide (USDHHS)
- 9x more likely to drop out of high school (Nat’l Principals Assoc.)
- 10x more likely to engage in substance abuse (UK)
- 20x more likely to have behavioral disorders (CDC)
By supporting grieving children, the potential social, emotional and health problems associated with unresolved grief can be minimized.
Our TREK program for grieving youth is designed to help children and teens (ages 5 to 18) acknowledge and navigate their grief journey in healthy ways - with other kids their age who are experiencing grief. New friendships are formed through this companioning process and many of these bonds continue once the program is over.
Stories, drawing and playtime with other kids are creative ways for kids to process their grief. Our caring volunteer facilitators provide a safe and open environment that incorporates all of these techniques.
Young children may not always understand the finality of a loved one's death.
TREK Middle School
Middle school years are awkward enough for kids with all of the physiological changes taking place, they are moving to a new school and trying to figure out who they are as an individual and what "tribe" they belong to.
Use of games, physical activities, art and writing exercises help "tweens" explore and process their feelings alongside others.
TREK High School
High schoolers are no longer children, but they are not yet adults either. Leaving the security of childhood, the adolescent begins the process of separation from parents. At the same time the bereaved teen is confronted by the death of someone loved, he or she also faces more academic pressures and figuring out what they want to do after they graduate.
Facilitated conversations and thought-provoking exercises help teens relate to each other and form new friendships with those who are also grieving someone they love.
TREK For Caregivers
Just as you are told by flight attendants to put your oxygen mask on before helping your child, bereaved caregivers must face their own grief in order to effectively help their child(ren) deal with their grief. The Caregiver Group (which may or may not be a parent) is designed to support and educate caregivers about theirs and their family’s grief experience. Running concurrently with our youth groups for eight weeks, each session focuses on a particular topic related to the grief experience. Caregivers will learn what their kids are covering in their individual group, and how it might affect their behavior at home or in school.
The caregivers will come to understand how the death of a loved one impacts the family system, learn ways to share the grief experience within the context of family, and learn tools to help regain balance in the bereaved family after a death loss.