Supporting Young People
Supporting Young People is a 4-week program for adults to learn how to help young people who are dealing with loss. It consists of four weekly meetings, approximately 90 minutes each with a PowerPoint presentation and time for sharing. Each week there is a homework assignment, which may take an hour or two to complete. It provides education on children and grief with original photos and stories of Shanti Vani, her family members and friends.
The importance of helping children with loss cannot be emphasized enough, especially in these times when so much has been taken away from them.
Supporting Young People teaches us how to support young people so they will feel heard and respected.
In this photo Julian is painting an angel statue for a family memorial garden. His baby cousin Loki died when he was four and his baby brother Vegas died when he was seven. Being able to talk openly about death has been important for him.
All children deserve to be cared for with kindness and compassion. In Supporting Young Children, we learn to give better support to the young people.
Shanti's Great Grandson, Julian
At the Gravesite of Loki and Vegas
Tips on Supporting Young People
There are many experiences in life that produce feelings of grief in a child --- the death or loss of a pet, friend, parent or sibling, moving, being teased or bullied --- and there are some actions that help children heal their hearts.
As adults, we have a responsibility to instill in children the ability to have a lifelong, healthy response to grief and to offer them effective tools for dealing with loss.
Some guidelines for adults include:
Listen with your heart, not your head.
Don't judge, criticize, analyze, advise, or interrupt.
Allow emotional expression, all of it.
Tell the truth about your own grief. Model honesty.
Remember that each person's experience is unique.
Be patient. Be quiet. Listen with spaciousness.
Allow for sadness and fear as normal and natural.
As parents and educators, we often feel conflicting feelings about the children in our care.
If we want healthy, happy children to grow into healthy, happy adults, we must support them in their grief.
In Supporting Young People, as adults, we receive the support and information necessary to support them well.
Transforming Grief - Peer to Peer
As one who has spent time in a mental institution, Shanti understands the trauma that can result from being captive in that system. The result of having psychosis was that she is now one of many "peers" or persons with "lived experience" who can educate her community about the conditions that hold us back and keep us stuck. Her time in the mental hospital opened her eyes to a world of people who are working to end "mental health oppression". As we support one another and tell our stories, we are breaking the stigma. Negative emotions such as guilt, anger, shame and self-pity only serve to keep us down.
If we are diagnosed, labeled, and medicated by professionals without lived experience, then we are not getting the support and connection that we deserve.
Peer to Peer is specifically geared toward people who have suffered in the "mental health" system. However, a history of psychosis or a diagnosis is not a requirement for participation in this program. We are all affected by stigma, and it is important that we all be well-versed in this information.
As a community of people who understand one another, together we can do our part to change the world.
Transforming Grief - Peer to Peer offers hope to our world. We hope you'll come aboard!
Transforming Grief - First Responders Speak
Transforming Grief - First Responders Speak is a 4-week course for the public servants who give us so much. For those of us who do not work as first responders, we cannot begin to imagine the difficulties faced by the dedicated public servants, who risk their lives and often sacrifice their own peace of mind in order to protect their communities. County Sheriff Deputies, City Police Officers, Highway Patrol Officers, Fire Rescue Teams, Emergency Medical Technicians, 911 Operators, Crisis Center Workers, Child Protection Agents, members of the Military, Veterans, and others dedicate their lives to providing care and service to the people in their communities. These are the people we call on when the problem is too big for us to manage. In their work, they face tremendous challenges beyond what most of us ever have to deal with. They face danger and heartbreak in their everyday work. They see things no one should have to see. They go from one call to another in a day's work and by the time the day is done, they may have little energy left to give to their families after accumulating so much distress.
How do first responders process through the feelings that arise and still do the work at hand? How do they treat every person with compassion and kindness while enforcing the law? How do they care for hurting people when they have problems of their own? How do first responders maintain their own mental, physical and spiritual health?
This course teaches the fundamentals of grief recovery while listening to the voices of our First Responders. They speak openly and honestly about their experiences out in the field, learn how to manage their own grief, and become better able to support those the people in their lives.