When Kathryn Kuhn and her husband lived in Illinois, they were active in helping young children and teens move through the grief process – whether it was from a death of a loved one, a divorce, a military deployment, incarceration or something else.
When they moved to Waukesha a few years ago, they wanted to help out the community. The problem was they couldn’t find an organization that would help kids with their grief.
“What I noticed was there wasn’t a program for children in Waukesha County that encompassed various causes of grief,” Kuhn said.
So in October 2009, they invited a group of community organizations to come forward and discuss how they could work with childhood grief. The organizations came together to fill the gap in the community. The first class started in October 2010 with 27 participants. The most recent session had 67 participants, according to Kuhn.
Healing Hearts of Waukesha County offers a peer-to-peer support program for the children and teens facing loss. The 12-week meetings last from 6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Mondays at beginning Feb. 6 for kids ages 4 to 18. The registration deadline is TODAY. To register, contact Kathryn Kuhn, Executive Director, at 262-538-0547 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Everybody is focused on the same topic,” Kuhn said. “One topic may be how to deal with your situation, how to help weathering the storms, everyone is focused on the same topic.”
The reaction from parents about the changes in their children has been positive, Kuhn said. Some children have lost their anger, others have found more confidence. A common theme was the ability to talk about their feelings, according to Kuhn.
“Their children feel very safe and comfortable in the small group and program taking about their feelings and what they are going through,” Kuhn said. “… It becomes more of a community. People, they bond and what they do is they help each other. The whole point of this is peer support.”