Working through the grieving process toward healing and hope is an emotional and difficult journey at any age. It can be an especially arduous and challenging experience for children, who may not have the capabilities to adequately express themselves or process feelings in a positive way on their own.
Each November during Children’s Grief Awareness Month, events and activities take place across the United States to serve as a reminder that no child should have to walk that path alone. The month is highlighted with Children’s Grief Awareness Day on Nov. 15. The National Alliance for Grieving Children observes Children’s Grief Awareness Month by advancing its mission to act as a catalyst for a countrywide movement to educate, advocate and support grieving children, teens and their families.
Ele’s Place has been that resource for residents in the Greater Lansing area and throughout Michigan for nearly three decades.
Unresolved childhood loss is often linked with adolescent and adult depression, poor school performance, violence, truancy, alcoholism, drug abuse and suicidal thoughts or actions. Ele’s Place helps grieving children at risk of developing those negative behaviors by supporting them during their bereavement so that they may continue their lives with hope and confidence.
At no cost to families, Ele’s Place has helped more than 25,000 individuals through its programs and services at the four branches across Michigan, providing children, teens and young adults with the life-coping skills they need in a warm and welcoming surrounding.
“Children’s Grief Awareness Month is an opportunity to let children know they are not alone, they are not forgotten, and that help is always within reach,” said Kristine Kuhnert, director of the Lansing branch of Ele’s Place. “We are thankful to be able to fulfill our mission in a community that cares so much about supporting children in the healing process and recognizes the struggles children face when dealing with the death of a loved one.”
The website childrensgriefawarenessday.orgprovides a variety of examples of how individuals, groups or organizations can participate in Children’s Grief Awareness Day; however, the simplest step is to wear blue and tell people why you’re wearing the color to help increase awareness of the issue of childhood bereavement.
An additional measure of support for the cause is to donate or volunteer at Ele’s Place. Information about monetary donations, volunteer opportunities and wish lists for the four Ele’s Placed branches can be found atelesplace.org.