Kayko Tamaki and Dr. Gloria Horsley connect at the National Alliance for Grieving Children conference. She works at Hospice of the East Bay, working with families in grief. There’s the Bridge Program that works with teens, kids, and their families. She says the most challenging group is the teens. They have so much happening and so much going on already. There are sports, school, friends, and big changes. Finding a group that works for them can be tough. However, Tamaki is looking to create engaging programs meeting teens where they are.
Finding what holds their interest and what they relate to is critical. There’s also a lot of family work at the center, like the evening of remembrance and butterfly releases. Engaging everyone together is an approach that’s modeled after The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon. Tamaki’s biggest tip for teens is to know that grief and loss aren’t a bad thing. You can grow, find yourself, and discover such wisdom in the process.
Tamaki especially enjoys working with teens because it’s a critical part in their life. Making sure they have the tools they need to be on a good, healthy path sometimes comes with a small window. Making a difference in someone’s life is a big part of the bereavement support industry, and it’s what attracts many to the field. A lot of the members in this industry have experienced losses themselves, and can provide a special kind of empathy.
No matter where you’re located, know that there are likely support groups in your area. Research, reach out, and find what works for you. In areas where there are no support groups, there are online options. The Open to Hope Foundation has a TV show, radio show, and blog for the bereaved.