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Hunterdon News

Hunterdon Hospice Youth Art Bereavement Program: Healing Children Through Art

 Pictured: One example of a project created to express feelings of loss during the Youth Art Bereavement Program offered by Hunterdon Hospice.

March 12, 2021

The Hunterdon Hospice Youth Art Bereavement Program is for children ages six through eighteen who have experienced the loss of a loved one. This 9-week series will be held every Thursday evening from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm beginning April 15th through June 10th. While the program has traditionally been held in person, it will be held virtually for the first time, providing a safe and unique experience. All art materials and supplies will be provided and delivered to the family’s home. The fee for the program is $75 per family.

The program is sensitive to the differences in a child’s response to death and loss. Children use the creative medium of art to explore and express their grief and focus on teaching children healthy coping skills in dealing with their grief.

Children are assigned to groups based on their developmental age. Being with peers who have had similar experiences normalizes the grief process. Through this interaction, children learn to empathize with others, which can give them insight into their own pain. Listening and observing other children’s expressions of grief may also help them openly express their own feelings.

While children are involved in the art program, parents will be encouraged to participate in a group that helps parents learn about their child’s perception of loss, as well as interventions for coping with their child’s grief.

So often, in our society, those who are suffering after a loss have very little support. This program helps children by providing art therapy projects and by giving them the opportunity to talk about their feelings.

Goals of Youth Art Bereavement Program:

Realize that there are many feelings associated with grieving and that it is acceptable to express them.
• Feel comfortable in a safe environment where they can talk about their feelings.
• Experience some of their memories in a positive way.
• Create a positive self-image.
• Use various methods to help them cope when they are feeling down or confused.
• Communicate their thoughts and feelings to the important people in their lives.
• Recognize that living goes on despite the grief caused by death.

Trained counselors and volunteers conduct all sessions. To register or for more information, call 908-237-2364 or e-mail Erinn Nakahara at enakahara@hhsnj.org.


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