Grief is felt by a large percentage of children: An estimated 1 in 14 children in the U.S. will experience the death of a parent or sibling before they reach the age of 18. Over 5.2 million youth will become bereaved, and that number more than doubles by age 25 to 13.2 million. All too often, children are forgotten grievers. Some feel they are not old enough to feel loss. But if a person is old enough to love, then that person is also old enough to mourn and to grieve.
Since 2000, our Buddy’s Place childhood bereavement program has offered family-based support groups to children and teens ages 4-18 and their families who are grieving the death of someone significant in their lives. We are committed to providing a safe, accepting, and supportive environment where each family can come and express their grief and connect with others in a group setting. There is no charge to attend the programs offered by Buddy’s Place. Services include:
Monthly Support Groups
The Buddy’s Place Monthly Gathering group meets on the second Monday of each month to share a meal and work together on a creative, grief-related project. Note: You do not have to attend the 8-Week Session to attend Monthly Gatherings. All Monthly Gatherings are on hold, per public health guidance to reduce group activities and increase social distancing.
Buddy’s Place offers an 8-week support group each spring and fall. While children and teens engage in goal-oriented activities that are age-appropriate, parents and caregivers participate in a group focused on understanding children’s grief and how to better help the children work through it. The Fall 2020 session will begin on September 15.
Pillars Community Health clinical staff are also available to provide individual and family counseling for people of all ages who are grieving a death.
As there is no limit to grief, families may take advantage of the program whenever they need it. Sessions are held in Western Springs. Click here to download the Buddy's Place program registration form.
Reach out to Buddy’s Place today
Buddy’s Place Grief Resources
- Access grief-related resources, including books, articles, and YouTube videos, through our Buddy’s Place Pinterest board.
- Buddy’s Place is a member of the Association of Death Education and Counseling and the National Alliance for Grieving Children.
- A number of organizations offer grief support and bereavement-related summer camps. Click here for a list.
Support Children Through Their Grief
Buddy’s Place services are free of charge thanks to the support of the Lyons Township Mental Health Commission and gifts from individuals, churches, foundations, clubs, organizations, and businesses. Please consider giving a tax-deductible donation today.
Volunteers participate in training to help grieving children, teens, and their families in a variety of ways, including Greeter, Group Facilitator, and Childcare through Buddy’s Place. Programs take place on Monday and Tuesday evenings, so it is important for volunteers to have availability at those times. Learn more about volunteering.
Attend an Awareness Event
November is Children’s Grief Awareness Month. Stay tuned to our calendar each fall to learn about awareness events and activities.