The mission of Erin's House is to provide support for children, teens, and their families who have suffered the death of a loved one.

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Contact Info

5670 YMCA Park Dr. West
Fort Wayne, IN  46835

260.423.2466


Info@ErinsHouse.org

Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

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Copyright © 2018 Erin's House for Grieving Children a 501(c)(3) organization · All Rights Reserved · Privacy Policy

CLASSROOM COMPANIONS

Because there are no grades in grief

Almost all children experience the death of an important person in their life. In a recent study conducted by the American Federation of Teachers and New York Life Foundation, statistics showed that nearly 70% of teachers have at least one grieving child in their classroom.  It is likely you work with grieving children every day, even if it does not seem obvious.

 

Experiencing a death as a child increases the probability for many stressors and adversity, and can disrupt a child’s development. While school can offer children a healthy distraction and a predictable environment, many children struggle to adapt to their learning environment after a death. Difficulty concentrating, being distracted, forgetfulness, and having trouble learning are just some of the challenges students face. Additionally, students are faced with the task of navigating emotions and feelings of isolation.

ABOUT CLASSROOM COMPANIONS


Not all students are able to attend Erin's House on-site peer support groups, so we bring the program to the school. The 6-8 week in-school program provides students with the opportunity to explore and express their grief through a variety of outlets. Like all of Erin's House services, Classroom Companions in-school program is offered at no cost to the schools or to the students.

The in-school program is a peer support group that meets bi-weekly for 6-8 weeks. School groups are offered for students K-12 and are facilitated by 2 Classroom Companion volunteers/staff. Each week has a different theme with related activities determined by age and developmental appropriateness. 

 

OBJECTIVES

  • Opportunity for students to connect with peers who have also experienced a death; enhancing their sense of belonging at school

  • Provide a safe, nonjudgmental environment for students to express their grief

  • Explore and normalize grief reactions and experiences

  • Educate students about grief manifestations and triggers

  • Learn new coping skills to adapt to life after a death and manage emotions

  • Find ways to honor and memorialize that align with student’s needs

REQUIREMENTS

 

Schools interested in bringing the Classroom Companions program to their school must meet the requirements listed below: 
 

  • A minimum of five participants are required in order to initiate group services. It is suggested that students are within 2 grade levels of each other.

  • A consistent meeting time that allows for no less than 50 minutes long.

  • A prearranged space that can allow for an uninterrupted/private group meeting.

  • An official MOU signed by both parties prior to services. (A sample MOU and curriculum may be provided upon request.)

ENROLLMENT


We will be offering our programming to a limited number of schools each semester. Groups will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis and depending on staff/volunteer availability. You must have the required paperwork submitted and dates finalized before the enrollment period ends in order to qualify for services. 

  • Enrollment for Fall Semester is now closed.

  • Enrollment for Spring Semester will end January 31st in order to allow for a total of eight group meetings.

If you or your school is interested in the Classroom Companions program, please fill out the interest form below.

Become a Classroom Companion

For Erin's House to provide our Classroom Companions program, we need compassionate volunteers who are looking to make a difference in the lives of grieving children. We are seeking individuals who are available during day-time school hours and can commit to all 6-8 group meetings to give students consistency. Classroom Companions receive training to equip them with tools to effectively support grieving children and teens in a school setting. And, of course, Erin's House provides all activities, supplies, and gas compensation (for schools outside of Fort Wayne) so that all you need to give is the love in your heart to help heal the hearts of children and teens.

 

Other Services Offered to Schools

Schools are in a unique position to provide support to grieving students, and to provide preventative interventions through understanding, compassion, and a non-judgmental environment. Erin’s House partners with schools in order to support their efforts to be a grief sensitive school. In conjunction with our Compassionate Classrooms in-school program, we also offer a variety of training and resources to enable access to grief support to those who cannot attend our regular programming.

  • Customized grief training and education for schools and parents

  • Grief education materials for staff, students, and families 

  • Phone consultation with schools and staff about needs and resources

  • A one-time service to support schools immediately following the death of a student or school personnel 

  • Tours of Erin's House for classes and school professionals

  • Grief Book Bags as a resource for students and families after a death (limited 1bag per school)

 

Upcoming Training Opportunities

How to Create a Compassionate Classroom Workshop


This presentation addresses ways schools can support students by offering an increased awareness of how children understand death, what grief may look like depending on a child's development, how to best support a grieving child in a school environment, and the resources Erin's House can offer.

  • Saturday, November 23rd from 9:00 - 11:00 A.M
     

Workshops are offered at no cost and hosted at Erin's House - 5670 YMCA Park Dr. W.


Please RSVP to Megan, Director of School Outreach: Megan@ErinsHouse.org or 260.423.2466.

 

Additional Resources