The comfortable home-like setting coupled with experienced group coordinators and volunteers at The Sharing Place provide children with a safe and caring environment that nurtures the healing process.
Grief support groups meet at The Sharing Place twice a month for 90 minutes per session. Groups are organized by ages and circumstances, which are identified during the initial family consultation. We currently host 28 grief support groups which serve more than 300 children, teens and their parents. The Sharing Place operates at capacity, and therefore we may not be able to immediately accommodate all the requests we receive.
About Grief Support Groups
Child Support Groups (age 3½ thru 12)
Children’s groups include 8-12 similar-aged children, an experienced group coordinator and 6-8 trained volunteers who meet twice a month for 90 minutes. Adults are encouraged to participate in the Adult Support Group which meets during the same time, in a separate room.
How a Group Session Works
Group sessions begin with an Opening Circle that includes age-appropriate expressive activities such as singing, storytelling, and drawing. This helps to create a safe and comforting environment to help the children focus on, and begin to explore, the wide range of emotions they encounter during their personal grieving process.
Group participants are encouraged to explore, express and share the difficult and often wordless feelings of grief with a wide variety of mediums and venues. The Art Room supplies children with opportunities for all types of drawing, painting, sculpting and model making for the “hands-on” creative expressions of the children’s grief. Group members explore their more extreme emotions through movement, rhythm, martial arts and even dance in the Volcano Room. With its padded floors, walls, and many pillows this is a safe place to let go of the loud, intense, often physical, and “wordless” feelings of grief. The Soft Room promotes the dramatic exploration of memories and feelings with its many toys, dress-ups, and other props for the children to use in role playing activities. Attending a group is often the first time children feel safe and choose to “share their stories” with peers and adult volunteers. The Activity Room is full of games, puppets, toys, and hiding places that permits the children to explore or retreat from their grieving process according to their immediate needs. The Sanctuary is a space for quiet reflection and remembrances where children display drawings, hang photographs, and display special memorabilia honoring their love one.
Finally, each group ends with a Closing Circle. Children, parents, and volunteers gather to honor anniversaries, hold hands, sing The Sharing Place’s special closing song and say farewell until next time.
Teen Support Groups (ages 13-18)
Designed to encourage a teen’s natural inclination to rely on each other for support, each teen group includes 10-15 teens and is facilitated by a group coordinator and 4-5 volunteers.
The teen groups discuss, explore, and share their experiences and feelings with each other, and address issues and challenges they may face during their daily life. Art, music and other teen-oriented activities promote discussion and ease the healing process. The teen groups close each session by sharing personal thoughts, readings or songs to carry with them until they meet again.
Adult Support Groups
The adult groups are designed to provide emotional and social support, and also provide a forum for participants to discuss specific issues or gain general information to understand the needs and behaviors of grieving children and teens.