Hospice & Community Care is the grateful recipient of a one year, $10,000 Grief Reach capacity building grant from the New York Life Foundation. This capacity grant was awarded to fund the purchase of technology to develop innovative children and teen bereavement programming materials.  

The New York Life Foundation is committed to providing support to organizations offering childhood bereavement services or educational enhancement for students in middle school.  The Grief Reach grants were established to fund the expansion of direct service support to bereavement sites or programs throughout the country. To date, The New York Life Foundation has supported over 230 organizations and awarded $7.1 million dollars to support children’s bereavement initiatives.  

According to the New York Life Grief Reach website, 1 in 15 children or teens will experience a significant loss, a parent or sibling, before they reach the age of 18; and a majority of students will experience a loss before they complete high school. The Grief Reach Capacity Building Grant funds organizations working to address children’s bereavement by funding projects intended to support and prepare professionals so they can better serve this underserved population (New York Life, 2019). 

Greg Ayers, New York Life representative

Mr. Greg Ayers, local New York Life representative, shared “As an agent and an advisor for New York Life, I have witnessed firsthand the generosity of the company and I am so impressed. New York Life has a motto, We are not Wall Street, we are Main Street.” 

“When a death occurs, everyone is affected. New York Life is a company that recognizes that there are needs, not just products,” said Greg.  When the hurricane hit Texas, New York Life was scheduled to have a conference with over 5,000 agents from throughout the United States. The company donated the conference room to aid the relief efforts, donated hundreds of rooms to house individuals displaced by the disaster, and donated all the food and water purchased for their event. They truly care about the communities where they work and do business.” 

Hospice is excited about the new possibilities this grant has made possible. “This funding will allow us to explore resource development options so we can better meet the current needs of children and teens bereavement in our communities,” said Jane Armstrong, CEO of Hospice & Community Care. “Our goal is to make bereavement services available, as needed and on-demand, for our schools and our communities. Having a technology-based secure resource for teen and children’s bereavement serves as an opportunity to offer services while providing a buffer for those whose grief is raw and who may benefit from anonymity, to see that they are not alone and that the grief process is a normal and healthy way to deal with a loss.”

To meet the needs of a diverse audience, bereavement materials must be accessible and available in a meaningful manner to make an impact.  Rather than a single focus approach to grief management, Hospice is focusing on creating a multi-focused approach utilizing technology to create a suite of accessible grief materials for children and teen bereavement.  This may take the form of support groups, online materials, online support, and/or training for the benefit of our schools and communities.

A single facet bereavement plan, including support groups, phone calls, mailings, and individual meetings, may meet the needs of adult bereaved. But the needs of children and teens can vary greatly. Being available and present to our schools is an important next step, equipping schools, families, and counselors while aiding children and teens in need, struggling with a loss experienced much too young.  

“In a Web 2.0 society, we have the opportunity to expand and create bereavement resources, to reimagine what is possible in the form of a multi-faceted bereavement plan,” explained Jane. “And we can address the importance of accessibility so that more youth can take advantage of our bereavement resources.”

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