St. Joseph's Hospice of Sarnia Lambton

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Caring Hearts Children's Program

The Caring Hearts Children’s Program


The Caring Heart’s Program serves children and teens age 6-18 in the Sarnia Lambton-Community who have experienced the death of a loved one. The program seeks to be a resource for children facing their own death, the death of someone they love, and support in their grief after a loss.


The Caring Hearts Children’s Program encourages the participants to express their grief through various modalities such as creative play, art and music. The purpose is to provide an atmosphere of acceptance that acknowledges and supports the uniqueness of grief and that invites children to share their experiences. The children are supported on their grief journey by the Caring Heart’s Children’s Program coordinator, along with trained volunteers and program assistants.


 Each child who is referred for services has an assessment (the coordinator will meet first with the caregiver/guardian, and then with the child). From the assessment it is determined whether or not a child is appropriate for programming. The Caring Hearts Children’s Program does not provide professional grief counselling but rather grief support. The type of support best suited to your needs will be determined in cooperation with the Caring Hearts Children’s Program Coordinator. Services provided by the Caring Hearts Children’s Program are not intended to replace professional counselling services. If counselling is indicated, the coordinator will assist your family through a community referral.


St. Joseph’s Hospice is also a resource centre, and the Caring Hearts Children’s Program is available to provide psycho-education (in person/phone/email consultations, in-services, trainings, presentations, etc.) for parents, caregivers, clinicians/professionals in Sarnia-Lambton on children’s grief theory, and supporting grieving children. The Caring Hearts Children’s Program is also available to provide classroom talks on grief and loss in elementary and high schools.


Services offered by the Caring Hearts Children`s Program:


Anticipatory Grief Support
Children/teens experiencing the terminal illness of a loved one are provided with information at the end-of-life that is honest, timely, and appropriate to their developmental age and cognitive capacities. This format enables them to work through their feelings and enhances their knowledge and understanding in regards to their loved one’s impending death. Children/teens are able to maintain some control in an uncontrollable situation by becoming better prepared for what to expect. Children/teens who have been supported prior to their loved one’s death are able to manage their grief in a healthier manner.  The Caring Hearts Children’s Program also provides illness/anticipatory grief support to children facing a terminal diagnosis.


Bereavement Support Group for Children
This group supports children in understanding and managing their feelings and behaviours around grief. It allows children to connect with other children who are grieving, and to share feelings and experiences. Groups are organized by developmental age which allows the children to process their grief at their level of understanding with their peers. The age ranges are age 6-9, 10-13 and 14-18 (high school ages). The groups are facilitated over a six-week period where children use various modalities such as art, play and music to process their grief experience. Additionally, a summer kid’s camp and special events groups to celebrate major holidays are organized throughout the year.


Bereavement Support Group for Teens
Teen support groups are run for a period of 8 weeks. Teens meet with other teens in a supportive environment where they can discuss and work through their thoughts, feelings and behaviours around loss, grief and mourning. Additionally, teen bereavement groups may be offered within the high schools when requested or when there is a need for support within the school.


All children must have an assessment before entering any group. Please contact the program coordinator, Orley Culverhouse to set up an appointment.

 

Contact Info

Orley Culverhouse
519-337-0537
oculverhouse@sjhospice.ca

Programs calendar for September 2017

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September 2017

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