Following the death of a loved one, many times the surviving adult is overwhelmed with grief, making it difficult to provide help their child (ren) need to deal with the death. Sometimes children feel they are alone to face their pain and loss. Billy’s Place offers ongoing peer support/education groups for children and teens (3-18), and their family members. The groups are open to children and teens that have experienced the death of a mom, dad, brother, sister, or primary caregiver. Concurrent groups are held for the parents and caregivers. All families must register for groups before attending. The children participate in activities that are designed to help them discuss death through their play, art, storytelling, music and talking.
Peer support in itself helps children in the grieving process. Grief can often cause children and teens to feel isolated and different from their friends. Knowing they are not alone, different or weird for their thoughts and feelings helps them cope in this strange, new world that is missing someone they love. Groups are led by staff and trained volunteer facilitators who help to provide a safe environment for the children and teens to express themselves. All facilitators participate in a comprehensive training that teaches them about group facilitation skills and the impact of grief on children, teens and their families. Some facilitators have personal grief experiences and many are mental health professionals. Groups follow a curriculum based on Dr. Alan Wolfelt’s Reconciliation Needs of Grieving Children focusing on:
Children are divided by developmental ages into groups for 3-5 year olds, 6-9 year olds, 10-13 year olds, and teens. The groups offer a mix of opportunities for children and teens to share their personal story about their grief, validating their feelings and experiences and helping them to feel less isolated in their grief. These opportunities include sharing as well as a structured activity using art, music, storytelling, poetry, writing, and drama. All participants, regardless of age, are able to use the “I Pass” guideline, which means they get to decide when, and how much they wish to share with the rest of the group.
Adults meet in their own groups for the death of a spouse/partner, death of a child or as a primary caregiver to a grieving child. These sessions provide opportunities for mutual support and sharing, as well as education about the unique challenges of parenting grieving children and teens.
Peer support/education groups have proven to be highly successful in helping children learn healthy coping skills, not feel isolated in their grief, and gain a renewed sense of hope. Children are able to remember loved ones, validate feelings, and speak to open ears.
Billy’s Place is a grief support group for children ages 3-18 and their immediate family members. This free grieving service is being offered in the West Valley to help families who have experienced a devastating loss. Billy’s Place is a nonprofit organization.
The need arose after my son Billy and I began coping with the sudden death of my husband, Mike. Billy was only 15 months old and our lives were changed forever. As a team, Billy & I have worked together to use what we have learned in our journey to help others know there is hope.
Billy's Place is a tribute to children and families who will be forever changed and challenged by the death of their loved ones. At Billy's Place we are proud to provide an organization that helps children and their families cope with the death of a significant person.
Juli McGreal Schragel
Founder, Billy's Place
For more information contact Juli McGreal Schragel at 623.414.9838
or email at email@example.com.
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We would like to thank the following sponsors who believe in our mission to support the children in the West Valley. Without your help we could not accomplish what we are able to!