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Serving the Susquehanna Region

Heartworks Grief Support Program for Children, Teens Begins Sept. 11

by UPMC Susquehanna

Heartworks, UPMC Susquehanna’s free peer support program for grieving children, teens, and their families, is accepting registration for the 2018–19 school year. The program begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at UPMC Susquehanna Divine Providence, 1100 Grampian Boulevard, Floor 3, and the group meets twice a month throughout the school year.

“Children and teens often feel alone when they experience a death,” explains Linda Bryant, Heartworks coordinator. “They feel as though their friends do not understand and they don’t want to add to the grief that the rest of the family is feeling. Meeting other children whose families are walking through the same experiences provides support and companionship that reduces those feelings of loneliness.”

According to Bryant, everyone grieves differently, and children often hide their grief to protect their parents. Children cling to routine or familiar experiences and often grieve in spurts.

“Many people believe their children are doing okay because they resume playing with friends and their school activities,” says Bryant. “However, all children need time and a safe place to grieve, and that is where Heartworks helps.”

“My life got easier after coming to Heartworks,” said a teenage group member. “You instantly have a bond with other kids there. You know what they are going through and they know what you are going through. You can’t get that anywhere else.”

Heartworks' staff and trained volunteers provide a safe and caring environment where children, teens and their family members may express their feelings and develop coping skills following the loss of a loved one. The Heartworks program uses art, play, music, discussion and remembering to help children understand and work through their emotions. A light meal is served prior to the group meetings.

Registration is required.

For more information or to register, please call 570-320-7691, 1-888-499-3177, or visit