Helping Hearts Heal
Adam’s House uses a closed-ended education model. A closed group means that once the group members have been interviewed by our staff and cleared by our specialist partners, they begin the program together and end the program together.
Once a family is offered the option of entering a program, they must commit to attending each week’s meeting of the eight-week program.
A closed-ended model provides the group a sense of security so children feel safe enough to share their grief with their new friends. Parents/guardians meet as a group while the children are meeting. Parents/guardians will learn ways support and converse with their children about their grief. They are instructed about developmental tasks of all ages and how to appropriately model grief for their children.
The peer support educational programs at Adam’s House are not meant to replace specialized therapy for children who have been traumatized by their loss or who have special needs. In this case, our Adam’s House specialist will refer to the family to our one-on-one partner professionals.
Children are placed into age-appropriate groups. Children groups include "Littles"(5-7yrs), "Middles"(8-13 yrs) and "Teens"( 14-18 yrs).
Adam's House may be new to Connecticut but the program has been successfully implemented for more than 20 years by our mentor center, Olivia's House in York, Pennsylvania. We are forever grateful for their guidance, support and allowing us to bring their wealth of grief wisdom to our "Helping Hearts Heal"program.
Children ( 3-6 years ) who have had a parent, sibling or other significant person die. They “explore" and share their feelings related to their loss and learn vocabulary necessary to express their emotions through play and art activities.
Children ( 7 -12 years ) share feelings about the death of a loved one and feel supported by their peer group during their grief. Building the sense of community is important to children this age.
Our 13-18 years old teens support each other as they share their experiences about the death of a parent, sibling, best friend or other significant person in their life. To build coping skill tools, teens gain strength from others and develop ways to pay tribute to their loved ones.
While each children’s group is meeting, their surviving parent(s) or caregivers will meet in a separate group with a trained facilitator. This is an opportunity to learn how to best support their child through the grief process. They will also learn about the developmental stages of grief.
Adam’s House is comprised of a small, core staff of professionals with advanced degrees in education, counseling and social work, as well as experience in bereavement counseling. Our “Friends in Grief” volunteers fondly referred to as our “FIGS” must complete our twelve- hour training sessions in order to be placed in the children’s groups. Our program is supported by Olivia’s House in York, Pa. They are our mentors and provide basis for our curriculum and the training for our volunteers. You may view their page at www.oliviashouse.org.
Ready to start? Some things you should know....
How can my family and I sign-up?
Please call the office at 203-513-2808, schedule an appointment online or email at email@example.com. We' ll be happy to answer your initial questions or concerns. It's also a great time for us to gather some information about your family's situation. We will schedule an initial parent/guardian meeting where you will be asked to complete an application. During that meeting, we will discuss group possibilities. Many times, scheduling conflicts or prior commitments may not align with program night. In that case, your family will be placed on a waitlist for next group.
When are groups offered?
Adam's House runs groups all-year round. We don't run program over the Thanksgiving/Christmas time period.
What happens while in group at Adam's House?
Family members begin each program night with dinner as a time to get to know their fellow program members. Family members are then split up into groups by age- Littles, Middles and Teens. Children's rooms are located on the 2nd floor of our home. Adults remain downstairs in their own group. Each group is facilitated by two, sometimes three trained "FIGS" which stands for a "Friend In Grief." Each week is a theme which you will be given once when you enter program. Our FIGs plan creative activities that include games, art, music and play to encourage sharing of thoughts and emotions related to grief. While verbal sharing is encouraged, children are also empowered with the ability to "pass" if they so choose. We don't pressure children to participate but we always strive to provide a safe, open environment.
Who facilitates all the support groups?
All groups are led by trained volunteers who are supervised by our program staff member. All of our FIGs must have completed a 20-hour training on tenets of companioning, bereavement process, reflective practice and group work. Many of our volunteers are parents who raised bereaved children, work in health care, social services or educational fields. Many have been drawn to help children at Adam's House due to their own childhood experience. We are blessed with many compassionate, kind and empathetic volunteers.
Is there a charge for program?
There is currently no charge for our program. We do welcome and invite families to make voluntary donations if they can so we may keep our program free to all CT families.
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