The death of a parent is one of the most traumatic events that can occur during childhood. Although children may not fully understand what death means or how it impacts their life, they do grieve. And, children grieve differently than adults and therefore need different kinds of support. As they mature, with caring support they will gain new understanding about their loss at each developmental milestone. At Rick’s Place, we offer such support to children in kindergarten through high school.
Rick’s Place is not a gloomy or sad place. Kids can have fun and their participation is within their own comfort levels. Each session offers activities and discussion related to some aspect of the grief experience and starts with an opening circle during which they share about their feelings in the present moment. Facilitators use creative approaches including art, music, play and poetry to encourage grief expression, memory sharing, feelings exploration, and self-care. Our “Littles” and “Middles” groups provide opportunities for gross motor activities and play that meets the developmental needs of the age group participants.
Children share memories about their special person who died, make commemorative art, and make friends with others who know what they are experiencing. The group gatherings help children recall the person who died, talk about their feelings, and remember that, even though the person’s body has died, their relationship with their loved one has not. Above all, Rick’s Place is a safe, compassionate environment for all children affected by the death of a close family member.
|“My daughter has gained so much. She understands she is not alone…that there are other kids who have lost a loved one.”|
|“I like being myself and not worrying about what others think of me.”|
|"This group has helped me a lot."|
|“At Rick’s Place I made a friend.”|
|"I am happy when I am in this group."|