PEER-SUPPORT PROGRAM NIGHTS
THE POWER OF PEER SUPPORT
Because grief can often cause children to feel isolated and different, peer support in itself helps youth in the grieving process. Knowing that they are not alone, weird, or crazy for their thoughts and feelings helps them cope in this strange new world of missing someone.
Erin's House Peer-Support Program Nights provide children and teens who are grieving the opportunity to be surrounded by others who have also experienced a death, helping them feel a sense of belonging and respect. Our program is unique in that it is open-ended; each child determines when they are ready to leave. There is no time limit on grief. Additionally, our services are offered to families at no cost.
Erin’s House provides peer-support groups for children and teens ages 3–18 who have experienced a death. These groups are divided by developmental ages:
3- to 5-year-olds
6- to 9-year-olds
10- to 13-year-olds
Groups consist of 6-9 youth participants along with 2-3 trained volunteer facilitators. Small peer groups ensure a safe environment for each person to share their feelings and memories with others who have similar experiences and emotions.
Our program takes a preventative approach aiming to alleviate and eliminate the negative consequences of unresolved grief within our community:
Minimizes the negative consequences of unresolved grief such as truancy, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, distrust, and inability to form significant relationships.
Prevents misinterpretation of the behaviors of children and teens who are grieving by educating caregivers. We provide the adults present in the lives of grieving children with information and tools that help to facilitate the grieving process at home and in school.
Allows for the normalization of the changes and effects of grief by providing children an understanding of themselves and their feelings, as well as, communication and coping skills that will last a lifetime.
Enhances the child or teen’s well-being throughout their grief journey and their development into adulthood.
Diminishes the financial burden that most families experience when seeking such services.
of kids coming to Erin's House after 9 months state they can help other people with their feelings.
of kids say that after coming to Erin's House, they now look forward to doing things that are fun.
of parents state that since coming to Erin's House, their child is again looking forward to their usual interests and new activities.
of families state that after 6 months, their child is expressing feelings in a healthy way because of coming to Erin's House.
of kids state that because of coming to Erin's House, they now can identify people who they can talk to about their person who died.
of families state that after coming to Erin's House, they feel their entire family has adequate support for their grief.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The evening begins at 6:30 P.M. with the families eating pizza together and celebrating birthdays. After family time, the children break into their peer-support groups. During this time, parents and guardians have the option of attending our adult group which focuses on how to support their children through the grieving process.
The peer-support groups provide age-appropriate activities for the children that encourage the exploration of grief and the feelings associated with it. Spending time in the Volcano Room and Quiet Room provides additional opportunities to process their grief in two different ways, through physical activity and through quiet reflection time.
The evening ends around 8:15 P.M. with a “closing circle”, then the children head off into their worlds with a little more confidence and a bit more peace. Having had the opportunity to express fear, sadness, anger, or to simply play and forget that they are a grieving family, these children experience a change in their lives each time they step into Erin’s House, and each time they leave.
Programming available in Spanish upon request.