Lincoln Park students mark Children’s Grief Awareness Day
November 29, 2016
Lincoln Park students spent their lunch period making chain links in honor of Children's Grief Awareness Day
Students at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School recently marked Children's Grief Awareness Day with activities in support of grieving or bereaved children and teens.
Children's Grief Awareness Day was created in 2008 by the Highmark Caring Place, a Pittsburgh-based center for grieving children, adults, adolescents and their families.
Henry Ford, Lincoln Park guidance counselor, said the day aims to bring attention to the fact that support can make all the difference in the life of a grieving child.
Children's Grief Awareness Day is observed annually on the third Thursday in November, before the Thanksgiving holiday. It raises awareness of the painful impact the death of a loved one can have on children, and works to ensure that they receive the support they need.
With a multitude of school-sponsored events, it is an event with a heavy western Pennsylvania focus, but schools nationwide participate as well.
"It makes sense to do it before Thanksgiving, because some of the hardest times can be the holidays," said Ford, who does volunteer work at the Caring Place.
This year, Ford wanted to get more students involved. He reached out to Mark Harmon, student adviser for the Humanitarian Club, to see if any students would be interested in helping out. A number of students were not only interested, they came up with an idea to build a hope chain.
During lunch, students were invited to write messages of hope on construction paper strips in various shades of blue—the color for Grief Awareness Day. Messages ranged from encouraging words, phrases and scriptures, to words in memory or in honor of someone who passed away. Ford said the chain was a nice way to show young people, "you're not alone. We're here and we care for you."
"It was really good to see individuals putting inspiring words out there for others who are hurting or suffering loss," Ford said.
More than 200 links were added to the chain over three lunch periods, with both high school and middle school students participating. The chain will remain hanging for the foreseeable future in the guidance office area on the third floor.
"We will keep it here so people around the school can see that we're caring for each other. The students are taking ownership over activities that are unifying," Ford said.
Another activity students did was to take photos with an enlarged "HOPE the Butterfly," a Caring Place companion, for a project called "Holding On To HOPE." Students who took selfies with the blue butterfly on a large blue backdrop were encouraged to post their photos on social media using #CGADHope. Resources such as fliers listing online sites were also available to show students how to support friends in need.
Last year, Lincoln Park students signed a banner that read "LPPACS supports Children's Grief Awareness Day." The banner was taken to the Caring Place in Warrendale to show families there that receive services the support at Lincoln Park.
The Caring Place began in Pittsburgh in 1996 and has three other locations in Erie, Harrisburg and Warrendale. The Caring Place helps thousands of community members each year at no cost.
About Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School
Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School (www.lppacs.org) is a Pennsylvania public school providing a state-approved academic program and pre-professional training for grades 7-12 in music, theater, dance, creative writing, health science arts and media arts. The school enrolls students from more than 65 surrounding school districts.
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