Bereavement Support Groups
The Lighthouse Community
Grief, in the wake of the death of a family member can be a difficult time of change and uncertainty for children, teens and their families. Often isolating, grief needs time, space, support and connections to others so that children and families can begin rebuilding their lives.
The Lighthouse provides a place where children, teens, and their parents and guardians who have experienced a life changing death loss can come together to be part of a community. Through participation in facilitated peer groups, they find understanding, stability and support.
Any child or teen who has experienced the death of an immediate family member or very close friend can join a group. Parents and guardians are welcome to attend the adult peer support groups which are offered at the same time as the children/teen groups.
Often, family members feel the need to protect one other from their feelings. At The Lighthouse, children and youth have their own space where they can feel safe to share their feelings with peers who have also experienced a life changing death. This expression of feelings, thoughts and experiences helps them reach an understanding of their loss and builds hope and encouragement for their future.
The Lighthouse – A Private Space
All conversations at The Lighthouse are confidential so everyone can freely share their thoughts, feelings and experiences. Regular attendance is important for building a supportive peer group. We therefore ask families’ commit to their group by attending regularly.
Our Peer Support Groups
At The Lighthouse we realize that everyone grieves differently, and in their own time. For this reason, The Lighthouse groups are ongoing and open-ended. Families are able to stay with the Lighthouse community for as long as they need to actively explore their grief, with no time limits. Some children or teens may leave the Lighthouse for a period of time and return at a later age and stage, when they have a greater understanding of death, and new questions or concerns related to their grief.
Our support groups are facilitated by professional staff and trained volunteers.
- Groups are held in a welcoming, safe, home-like environment.
- Groups meet every other week throughout the school year.
- There are separate groups offered according to age and developmental stage.
- Specific groups are offered for sudden loss and sibling loss. Suicide loss groups are offered with sufficient demand.
- Grief related themes are explored in the children’s and teen groups through games, art activities and discussion.
- Families are invited and welcome to use the Lighthouse library of grief related books and DVDs.
- Our peer groups and services are offered free of charge.
“In July 2015, I lost my husband to cancer. It’s impossible to convey how difficult it was to tell my children who were 7 and 4 at the time that their dad died. As parents, we are constantly worrying about our children, as a parent of grieving children; this concern is heightened in a way I never thought possible. I contacted The Lighthouse not long after my husband died. From the moment we left our introduction interview and tour, the kids asked ‘”how long until we can come here?” Quite simply they love their Lighthouse days and really enjoy being with children who are in similar circumstances.”
-A Lighthouse mom
Joining a peer support group