The Arby’s Foundation Grants Alive $30,000 to Support Programs for Grieving Children
Published on April 24, 2023
Alive is grateful to The Arby’s Foundation for a $30,000 grant to support grieving children. The Arby’s Foundation has committed $500,000 to support every community where Arby’s has a restaurant, including Middle Tennessee.
Experiencing the death of a loved one can be one of the greatest challenges a family will face, yet the need for support services is often overlooked. Alive’s Grief Center has programs to meet the needs of young grievers and their families.
Tennessee ranks 7th in the country for childhood bereavement. One in ten children here lose a parent or sibling before graduating High School. Grief often challenges a family’s stability. Adult family members may not be able to cope with their own grief and attend to their child’s grief at the same time. Without support, children are at greater risk for substance use, mental health issues and poor academic performance. Alive’s counselors are experts in family dynamics and childhood bereavement.
Alive is a designated Childhood Bereavement Changemaker addressing the public health crisis of childhood bereavement. Our professional grief counselors have significant experience working with grieving families. Children 3 and up receive developmentally appropriate support through one-on-one counseling, family and youth support groups, expressive arts workshops, a family retreat and an overnight camp just for kids and teens.
Our licensed counselors set the bar in our community for supporting grieving children. They educate mental health professionals, schools and community organizations on supporting grieving children via customized workshops and training sessions. It is estimated one in ten will experience the death of a parent or sibling by age 18. Without support, childhood bereavement can lead to negative mental health and educational outcomes.
Our grief support programs are open to anyone in the community who has experienced the death of someone significant. Clients don’t need to have had a loved one in our care.
Thanks to donor support, we offer a sliding scale for individual counseling sessions. Our youth and family programs are free, apart from camp and family retreat. However, scholarships are available, and no one is turned away for a lack of funds.
The funds from The Arby’s Foundation will be used for the following programs:
- School-based-Grief support/education to students and guardians
- Camp Forget-Me-Not, a two-day camp for children/teens
- Creative Hearts Club, a six-week creative group for grieving children
- Youth Group-Grief group for grieving youth
- Special Days Series, creative events to provide extra support around holidays
- Family Retreat, a one-day event for families to explore grief together
School-based Grief Support
Our School-based Grief Support and Intervention Program goes beyond treating the immediate symptoms of grief and teaches children and teens healthy coping skills for dealing with grief that they can use throughout their life. We provide education and support to administrators and staff, students and guardians. This includes consultation, crisis response counseling after a death in the school community, and on-site support groups for bereaved students. The program currently serves Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson, Cannon, and Wilson counties.
Alive’s overnight grief camp, Camp Forget-Me-Not, is for any child (aged 8-17) who has experienced the death of someone significant. Camp Forget-Me-Not combines traditional camp fun (ziplining, swimming and water slides) with therapeutic activities from Alive’s licensed grief counselors to remember loved ones and make connections with peers who are also grieving. Teens have their own groups and activities.
Creative Hearts Club
Creative Hearts Club is a six-week support group for children and teens ages 8-17 using creativity to promote the self-expression of grief. Guardians attend the last day of the club for an “art show” and “dinner theater.” This event is a guided opportunity to increase the family’s communication around the loss.
Youth Group is a personalized educational program for ages 4-17. Grief education is tailored to each participant’s developmental level, and guardians receive weekly education worksheets to continue the discussion at home. Participants connect with other young people experiencing grief and learn coping tools for day-to-day life.
Special Days Series
Annual holidays can be especially hard when you are grieving. These creative workshops take place on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparents Day, and Bereaved Siblings Day annually. Creative memorial activities with guided discussions let families express their feelings while honoring the deceased.
This special day is for families with children to explore grief together in a safe environment led by licensed counselors and volunteers. Families bond with one another through classic camp activities such as canoeing, archery, woodworking, and a climbing wall. In small groups, they also connect with others via discussions and memorialization activities.