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Unique Programs and Projects

Unique Programs and Projects

Kate Eastman                                               Alan Johnson

programdirector@jasonprogram.org         Johnson.alan@tchden.org  

These are several UNIQUE PROJECTS AND PROGRAMS for SIBLING BEREAVEMENT. If you want more information about any of these programs, their resources, or training, please contact the persons listed. Please respond to those who mentioned their needs, if you can offer suggestions and insight. If there are any other projects or programs about which you know, please e-mail Kate Eastman (Kate@jasonprogram.org) or Alan Johnson (Johnson.alan@tchden.org). Thank you.

I.  Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Jacksonville, FL, Community PedsCare
Sharon Simmons, Chaplain [Sharon.SimmonsChaplain@bmcjax.com; tel. 800-274-6614]


  • Bereavement basket for family, containing pamphlets and books specifically for siblings.
  • Children%27s Hospital%27s annual Walk to Remember (for families who have experienced perinatal loss).
  • Annual remembrance service.


  • Regular in-services on issues such as setting boundaries and maintaining confidentiality.


  • “The
    Next Place
    ,” W. Hanson (sibling grief); “When Death Walks In,” (for teens); “Talking with Your Kids about Funerals.”

II. Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County, Washington, The Carousel Program
David Hovland, LICSW, Pediatric Bereavement Specialist [David.Hovland@providence.org; tel. 425-239-3341]


  • Program includes kids and teens of all ages with a seriously-ill loved one (who may or may not die, who may be in other family relationships to kids), kids who have experienced a death of any family member, and kids who have experienced a trauma (which may or may not include a death).
  • Free annual “grief camp” called CampErin.
  • A Saturday Gathering (bi-monthly).
  • School Crisis Team that facilitates interventions and groups in local schools.


  • Social work staff receives extensive and ongoing training as part of the Providence System. Volunteers (who are the “backbone” of most groups and camps for kids) receive from 15 to 20 hours of child-bereavement training. Additionally, there is pre/post support for groups/camp (planning/debriefing) for staff and volunteers. 


  • Boulden Publishing has a series of tools for kids exploring and learning about their feelings. Their various versions of “feeling faces” are invaluable, but would need to be adapted if used with older children. A poster from them says, "Anger: What%27s Behind It?" with a graphic representation of how sadness and other processes can be “behind” some of the anger (kids often experience increases in) after a loss.
  • Showing loss related artwork from other children to kids currently grieving.
  • Utilize manual, "Grief Exercises and Activities for Kids,” written by D. Hovland. This manual contains fun, interesting, interactive “workbook” style handouts to complete.

III. The Children%27s Hospital, Denver, CO 
Geri Nelson, LCSW, Coordinator of Bereavement Services [Nelson.Geraldine@tchden.org; tel. 303-861-6978]


  • 7-week, concurrent sibling support group that moves along with a 9-week parent grief support group.
  • “Family Evening Together” with a national speaker for parents, includes a time for siblings to get together to work on an activity guided by a Child Life specialist.
  • Annual Memorial service includes a “sibling time” where a book is read and the children are gifted with something special as a concrete memory of their sib.
  • All day photo album workshop where older siblings partnered with parents to complete an album.


  • Hospital-based bereavement coordinator receives in-house names of those children who die from Medical Records. Social workers, Child Life specialists, and Pastoral Care submit names of those children who died outside the hospital.


  • Favorite sibling activities to do within a 1½ or 2-hour block of time.

IV.  HospiceCare of Southeast Florida, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Mark Ritchie [mritchie@hospicecareflorida.org; tel.
(All services are available to the community in general regardless of hospice enrollment.)


  • Family bereavement counseling.
  • Support groups for children in school settings.
  • Annual children%27s weekend bereavement camp.


  • “Talking with Your Children about Death and Life,” (CareNotes).
  • A Workbook, “It%27s OK to Feel Sad,” (Channing Bete Co., English and Spanish).
  • “Helping Your Child Grieve”; a coloring book, “When Someone You Love Dies”; Sad Hug, Mad Hug, Happy Hug,” (all from NHPCO).

V.  Hospice & Palliative CareCenter, Winston-Salem, NC, The CarouselCenter
Diane Spaug [Diane.Spaugh@hospicecarecenter.org; tel.


  • On-line illness or grief-related chat rooms for teens.
  •   Music therapy and art therapy.
  • Sand Tray Therapy with Art Therapist (Board Certified, on staff).


  • To find the right time of day and day of the week to serve children/siblings for support group.
  • To figure creative ways to serve the grieving children in the community.

VI. SamaritanCenter for Grief Support, Marlton, NJ
Lynn Kiernan [lkiernan@samaritanhospice.org; tel.


  • "Big Hurts Little Tears” is a group for kids, not exclusively for sibling bereavement but does include sibling loss. It consists of 6 sessions. This is for younger children and includes age-appropriate activities.
  • Children%27s grief groups in the schools for children who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Groups are designed based on ages of youth. They range from Kindergarten through High School. Many of the children have experienced the loss of a sibling.
  • Community counseling program for any individual/family to receive specialized bereavement grief support services.


  • To know how to develop and implement specialized sibling-specific support groups.

VII. BRIDGES: A Center for Grieving Children, Tacoma, WA 
Lynne Riegel, CP [lynne.riegel@multicare.org; tel. 253-272-8266]


  • A family support group meeting twice a month for as long as they choose. This is not a drop-in group. Families come by referral. Sibs ages 4-18. Average length of stay is 12-14 months.


  • Volunteer facilitators have 32 hours of formal training.


  • “Mick Harte Was Here,” by Barbara Park. 
  • A Sharing Night: bringing of linking objects.

VIII. Children%27s Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL, 773-975-8829
Kristin James, Heartlight Coordinator [KRJames@childrensmemorial.org; tel. 773-880-4309]


  • A support group for sibs meets concurrently with the parent group, open and meets twice a month. Support group for Spanish families is also offered.
  • Every family who has received care at Children%27s MemorialHospital is followed for 2 years through phone calls and at least 10 mailings.


  • All new nurses receive a minimum of 2 hours in training about supporting grieving families. 
  • Annual 6-week training for staff and volunteers.
  • Bereavement Committee meets monthly and sponsors Remembrance Week, a week of self care activities and workshops.


  • New handouts, poems, and songs for mailings/memorial service.
  • Resources in Spanish and Polish.

IX. IHC Hospice, Salt Lake City, UT
Stephanie Lucas, ACSW, LCSW, Bereavement Coordinator [Stephanie.lucas@ihc.com; tel.


  • Beginning a sibling bereavement program. Are groups the best? Is one-on-one best? What activities seem to help children the most?

X.  BJC Hospice, Wings Pediatric Hospice and Supportive Care Program, St. Louis, MO
Andrea Tritinger, MSW, Bereavement Specialist [Amt1856@bjc.org; tel.


  • Supportive counseling for siblings with expressive therapy techniques such as books, art, music, writing, and relaxation. 
  • An annual picnic for siblings.
  • Appropriate age sibs attend a weekend camp and a one-day teen grief retreat.


  • Activities to memorialize the deceased sib include: beeswax candle making with a letter to the sib, stepping stones, memory boxes, and photo collages. 

XI. Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, Kids Path
Sally Cobb, Horticultural Therapist [scobb@Hospicegso.org]
Meghan Davis, MSW, Assistant Director [MDavis@Hospicegso.org; tel. 336-544-5437;www.kidspath.com]


  • Healing gardens and establishing a “FriendshipGarden.”
  • Developing a MemoryGarden.
  • Counseling (including play, movement, and expressive arts therapy) for sibs. 
  • Partner with Family Support Network for monthly “SibShops” for children who have a sib with a disability.


  • Developed resource guides for adults supporting children who are coping with death and illness.
  • A puppet show, “Aarvy Aardvark Finds Hope,” for all third grade classes in our county for education and to identify children in the school system who have experienced a loss and may require additional support.


  • Interested in staffing ratios and caseloads for children%27s counselors.

Creative interventions used in support groups and partnerships with other local agencies to best meet the needs of siblings in their areas.