The Hope After Loss program is helping Kids in Lloydminster and Vermilion learn healthy ways to deal with loss. The program offers support through 10 weeks of evening group sessions that deal with subjects such as feelings, memories and saying goodbye.
The program starts September 25th in Lloydminster and October 3rd for Vermilion for kids aged 6-16. Walking through Grief Society Program Director Shirley Scott says the children begin to open up and become connected with others dealing with the same thing.
“The first week or two they are pretty shy, not a lot of discussions. Usually, by the fourth week, they start trusting each other. By the tenth week, they have established bonds with each other and the families.”
The program runs twice a year, this being the fifth session the Grief Society has done. The sessions usually have ten kids participating, though Scott says they will allow twelve if enough volunteers are present.
Scott believes kids get lost in times of grieving and wants to see that they get the same support as adults.
“We see support for adults, we see councilling for adults but children seemed to get lost in the adult’s grief. I’ve always wanted to see this. VIBE in Vermilion which is a mental health capacity building has partnered with us to develop the program.”
Scott says children’s behaviours change and school life is affected. She became aware of the impact after seeing how her daughter was affected by a loss. The program helps the kids learn healthy ways to deal with anger and fears that can change their way of life.
“We’ve had really good responses from schools that say they see a difference in behaviour and academics. Families are saying that anger that was there is minimized and they’ve learned healthy ways to deal with it.”
Scott says parents also learn what their kids are going through and how to help. They’re asked to join the session 15-30 minutes before it ends but most stay the whole session.
Walking through Grief Society also offers a program to help kids with separation and divorce.
The deadline for the hope for loss program ends September 15th. For more information on the program, volunteering or to register you can contact Shirley Scott at 780-871-1750.