TULSA, OK–1 in 11 Oklahoma children will experience the death of a parent or sibling by age 18.* Childhood grief, when unaddressed, can affect academic performance, mental health, and even mortality rates in kids. Timely intervention can have a great impact on the lives of grieving children, which is why The Tristesse Grief Center is bringing grief counseling to Tulsa youth through its school-based programs.
The non-profit announced today, that they received a $100,000 GriefReach grant from the New York Life Foundation, administered by the National Alliance for Children’s Grief, to ensure that school communities have information and dedicated bereavement resources to meet the needs of grieving students and their families. When a parent, sibling, or a significant person in a child’s life dies it can be hard for them to express their deep sadness along with various other emotions.
With this grant, The Tristesse Grief Center will offer support to students who have experienced a significant loss by equipping them with a better understanding of grief, normalizing grief reactions, providing a safe space to share their stories, learn healthy coping strategies, and memorialize their significant person. As a result of these groups, students continue to support each other, learn new skills, and build a support system with their peers.
“Schools have a critical role in the grief journeys of children who have lost a loved one. Teachers’ and classmates’ responses to a student’s grief can either serve as sources of support and stability during a difficult time or as an additional hurdle to surmount,” said Audrey McCraw, executive director at The Tristesse Grief Center. The Grief Center improves outcomes by training educators and administrators on how to support grieving students, identify at-risk youth, and create a grief-sensitive classroom.
“The Grief Center is honored to have such an amazing partnership with New York Life-Tulsa. The past 18 months have looked different in terms of collaboration and volunteer opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are excited to introduce NYL ambassadors to our school communities as well as develop new school partnerships through this program,” said McCraw.
Vicki Jay, CEO, National Alliance for Children’s Grief shared, “We are grateful for the investment that the New York Life Foundation continues to make in positively impacting the lives of bereaved children and their families across the nation. For over a decade, funding from the Grief Reach program has worked to address the gap in resources and funding, increase access to bereavement support services in local communities, especially diverse communities, and innovatively seek to address the unmet needs of our youngest grievers. We are honored to be a partner in this work.”
About the New York Life Foundation
Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided nearly $390 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement, childhood bereavement and social justice. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good and Grief-Sensitive Schools programs. To learn more, please visit www.newyorklifefoundation.org.
About National Alliance for Children’s Grief
The National Alliance for Children’s Grief (NACG) is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the needs of children and teens who are grieving a death and provides education and resources for anyone who supports them. The NAGC is a North American network comprised of over 1,400 professionals, institutions, and volunteers who promote best practices, educational programming, and critical resources to facilitate the mental, emotional, and physical health of grieving children and their families. We educate, advocate, and raise awareness about childhood bereavement through our member and partner collective voices. For more information about the NACG, please visit www.childrengrieve.org.
About The Tristesse Grief Center
The Grief Center was founded in 2002, born from the wisdom and inspiration of a 14 year old young woman, Tristesse “Tess” Gonsalves. The Tristesse Grief Center is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization offering an innovative approach to address Northeast Oklahoma’s need for comprehensive grief support in the wake of loss. The Grief Center provides individual and group counseling, outreach and community education and a safe place for grieving hearts of all ages to tell their story, sit with their emotions, and begin to heal.