Winchester Group Donates $4500 to Grief Support Program
A Winchester group gave $4,500 to The Children’s Room to fund a high school-based grief program. The Children's Room serves families throughout the Greater Boston area facing catastrophic loss.
The Children’s Room, an Arlington-based nonprofit, currently manages a school-based program in Lexington with nearly 20 regular student participants. Collective Change's gift will pay for the training of school guidance counselors and social workers, who will then implement and run the program with the assistance of graduate-level interns. The Children’s Room will also fund the establishment of a school-based peer support program.
“This kind of work changes lives. Grief is not a problem that can be solved for a child or teenager. It is an experience that a young person lives – an experience that has ebbs and flows. It is important that we provide opportunities for young people to express their grief in a safe way,” said Donna Smith Sharff, Executive Director of The Children’s Room. “This gift from Collective Change will have a tangible impact on the community.”
The need for school-based grief services is acute. A recent national poll of grieving children conducted by the National Alliance for Grieving Children, of which The Children’s Room is a member, showed that children and teens who have lost a parent or sibling bear a burden of sorrow and anxiety that can last for years. Three quarters (75%) of the kids surveyed say they are currently sad – even though, for the survey sample, the loss was experienced on average more than two years ago. Additionally, more than two in five (41%) said that in reaction to their loss they had acted in ways that they knew might not be good for them either physically, emotionally, or mentally.
Results of the poll also suggest that schools are challenged to provide meaningful support to kids in grief. When asked to grade their school and teachers on “helping me deal with my loved one’s death,” many kids assigned them either a “C” (15%), a “D” (10%) or an “F” (23%).
“The establishment of a high school-based grief program as a result of our gift is exactly why we do what we do, said Debbie Johnston, who, along with four other Winchester women, founded Collective Change. “We work closely with non profit organizations to learn about their work and mission, and hosting a "Party with a Purpose" at which many people can give. Through gifts of all sizes, we create the opportunity for all of us to inspire change collectively.”
Collective Change’s “Party for a Purpose” for The Children’s Room was held April 26 and drew 60 participants who collectively gave $5,000 to fund a school-based grief support group.”