Be an Advocate. | Be a Friend. | Be a Supporter.
As many of you already know, November 19th is National Children’s Grief Awareness Day. At Kate’s Club, we decided just one day of awareness wasn’t enough, so we created the month-long advocacy campaign called Blue November. Throughout the entire month of November, we aim to create awareness by hosting a number of events, including our 4th Annual Memory Walk & Resource Fair and other fundraising events with our community friends and supporters.
In the spirit of going blue, we thought we’d share some ways in which you can create awareness of children’s grief, too.
1. Join us at our 4th Annual Memory Walk & Resource Fair: On November 15th, we invite Kate’s Club members and the entire community to join us in Piedmont Park for this annual awareness event. There will be many family friendly activities to promote awareness of children’s grief. This will be a large gathering of people joined together for one single purpose. Walk in honor of a loved one who has died, walk to be an advocate, walk to be a friend, create a fundraising team, or donate to help us empower the 1 in 20 children who will experience the death of a parent or sibling before the age of 18.
Event flyer – feel free to share this with your friends. Let’s overflow Piedmont Park with advocates, friends, and supporters, so that we can face grief together!
2. Educate yourself: There is so much literature online that’s readily available to educate you about children’s grief. Children grieve in many ways that are different than adults. In order to help grieving children, it is important to first understand how they grieve. The more you know about children’s grief, the more you’ll know how to help your friends who may experience the death of a parent or a sibling. Sometimes it is hard to find the right words to say to someone who has experienced such a loss, but we suggest to just be authentic and sincere – and be to just be there.
3. Raise awareness through social media: Become an advocate for children’s grief awareness in the quickest way possible: through the internet. Share your experiences with children’s grief through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Follow our social media accounts (Facebook: @KatesClubInc, Instagram: @KatesClub, Twitter: @KatesClub) for posts about children’s grief, and tag us in yours!
We are also using the hashtags #BlueNovember and #FaceGriefTogether on our posts throughout Blue November, and you can too! This is an awesome way to create awareness of children’s grief on a large scale.
4. Coordinate a “blue-out” at your school, workplace, or recreational organization: You can literally “go blue” by asking your classmates, coworkers, or peers to all wear a blue item of clothing on November 19th. This is a great way to show your support for National Children’s Grief Awareness Day. It also is a way to create an open discussion about children’s grief.
5. Use your time or resources to support a children’s bereavement organization, like Kate’s Club: Consider becoming a friend to grieving children through volunteering at your local children’s bereavement organization. Many organizations of this kind, though there are few, are nonprofits, so they rely on the support of their volunteers for day-to-day activities, mission-based programs, and special events.
If able, you may also consider making a 100% tax deductible donation*. Kate’s Club relies on the generosity of our donors, and they enable us to carry out our mission on a daily basis. If this sounds like something you are interested in doing, contact Rachel Ezzo, or visit the donation section of our website – there are many ways in which to give, and they all help empower grieving children.
*Kate’s Club is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.
This poem was submitted by Kate’s Club member, Gabriella, in honor of #BlueNovember and National Children’s Grief Awareness Day.
I’ve never been to a bereavement camp before. I didn’t know what to expect, especially since I’ve never gone to any camp as an intern before. I didn’t know whether my role would be one of camper support or running around doing whatever anyone needed from me. My role was a little bit of both of those but most of all, my role was one of an observer (and amateur photographer).
And you know what I saw?
Sure, I saw some meltdowns, tears, frustration and disagreements. Things like that are bound to happen when you are working with kids, grieving or not.
But those moments are not the ones that stuck with me.
I saw love, joy, courage, and compassion.
I saw an overabundance of laughter as kids participated in camp activities with friends new and old. They smiled as they did their cabin chants and created bonds that are not going to easily be forgotten. Many expect that grieving children are always angry, whiny, or crying. But these kids know the value of living life with joy.
I saw the littlest kids try new food at the farm and make some “Yucky!” faces at the tomatoes. I saw the older kids face their fears as they jump off the Pamper Pole or try the Giant Swing. I saw kids take chances by opening up about their losses.
I saw the campers comfort one another on the Luminary Walk by holding hands, walking with their arms linked, or hugging each other as they cried. I saw older siblings go to their younger siblings after the Luminary Walk to make sure they were alright. I saw campers relying on their buddies for support, even if it was difficult for them
I saw these kids, in the face of loss, decide that they are going to continue living. That they are going to struggle through their grief, but they are going to laugh. They are going to love each other through their loss, they are going to build friendships, they are going to hope for a better tomorrow, they are going to face their fears, and they are going to thrive.
Grief can throw us for a loop in all aspects of our lives, especially how we feel about ourselves.
Sometimes it makes us feel like we’re falling apart at the seams.
Sometimes it makes us feel alone.
Sometimes it makes us question who we are.
When we feel this way during our grieving, it’s difficult to remind ourselves who we are. It can be difficult to feel positive about ourselves when we feel the different emotions of grief.
But it’s important to remember that who we are is not based on our loss. We may be missing someone that makes us feel like we are missing part of ourselves.
But who we are is still here and is still good. We still can be the best person that we can be.
We recently did an activity at our Clubhouse that included a cake and creating a recipe for the Best Me.
Here’s our recipe:
Unlimited Love: Love yourself and love the ones around you. Treat yourself and others with kindness rather than negativity. Be patient in your grief. It is alright to feel confused and scared in this unknown place of grieving, but love yourself through it.
Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins which help mood regulation and allow us to feel better about ourselves. It gives us energy to get through the difficult moments.
Eating Healthy: Our desire to be comforted can often lead us to binge on unhealthy comfort foods. It’s important to put into our body what we want to get out. We need to put healthy food into our bodies to have a healthy body, mind and emotional state.
Good friends: No matter how much we try to do this on our own, we cannot go through our grief without friends. It’s important to have people who we trust that can be by our side through good moments and the bad
Let yourself feel: One of the most common ways to comfort someone in their grief is to tell them that they are being strong. It often hinders us rather than helps us because it gives us the impression that being strong means that we can’t show emotion. But feeling is the only way we can heal. Genuinely feel the range of emotions that come with grief and share those emotions with others.
Knowledge: Our mind can get stuck in a rut of repeating thoughts and negativity. In order to combat these try to learn something new such as a new word or a new activity. It helps us to find new things that we love and keeps us active.
Sleep: Sleep allows our body to reset. It allows us to recharge our minds and bodies. It is needed to be emotionally and physically well.
A Slice of Cake: A slice of cake doesn’t have to be a slice of cake; it can be reading a book or taking a drive. It could be anything that gives you a second to relax, a moment of happiness. It’s anything that brings joy and sweetness into your life.
Take all the ingredients and mix them together every day. Grieve well, think of yourself well, and live well. Be the best person that you can be.