One of our signature programs each year is with Outward Bound. Hope for Grieving Families supports families with children in the DMV who have lost a parent, child or close family loved one.
Hope for Grieving Families has developed a partnership with Outward Bound to create both a 1-day and 7-day program for our grieving teens. Each summer, we send 30 tweens and teens on a 1-day Ropes Course adventure and then in August we send a group of 10-12 high school aged teens for a 5 or 7 day expedition in the Appalachian mountains. These teens will hike, backpack and canoe working together to make dinner, build the campsite and rely on teamwork to get through some challenges. They will have time to discuss their grief together and time for reflection. This has been a life-changing experience for our teens. These outings help establish strength of character, resilience and team bonding and most of all friendships with other grieving teens. The underlying bond of shared grief allows the kids to feel supported and understood.
Children experience grief differently than adults and allowing grieving teens to connect with each other creates not only a special bond of friendship, but also help these children build coping skills, learn self-advocacy and increased resilience from these peer support groups
1 in 13 children will lose a parent by the time they are 18. Research shows that most children who have experienced loss in their life benefit from peer-to-peer support. Peer support is not grief counselling. It’s the bringing of people together who share similar experiences with the goal of creating a community that supports and grows with each other through their grief. Children can experience comfort from having others who understand grief and loss. Without a peer support group, children can feel anxious, isolated and overwhelmed.
Some of the testimonials we have received after the trip include -
Parent of one of the participants stated - "The experience was not only healing but bonding since they knew each one of them had lost someone they loved. When I picked her up at the end of the 5 days, my daughter spent about 45 minutes in the car telling us wonderful stories about this experience with these new friends. The impact I have noticed on Elise is that she presents as more confident and joyful. The teens look forward to and enjoy gathering every month or two for reunions. We are grateful to Hope for Grieving Families for organizing this, thankful to all of the supporters and sponsors for making this possible and are truly blessed by their mission."
Another participant stated "An unforgettable accident caused the death of my dad. Some time passed until I decided to go to the camp where I met you all. Together we created friendships that I didn’t even know were possible. You helped me and I thank you for that!"
Peer to peer support is so valuable to grieving families. We strive to build that community of support and ask that you consider Hope when it comes time for donations this year. Thank you!