Grief affects us all throughout our lives. The Highmark Caring Place is a free local resource aimed for children’s grief.
“We would bring families together who have experienced a death to let them come together and know they’re not alone by offering grief support groups,” said Kristie Nosich, program manager at the Caring Place.
It’s a community program to help children and their families cope with loss on all levels.
“We partner with a lot of agencies. We partner with a lot of therapists in the community. So a lot of times we will connect, make partnerships so we can make referrals for families,” said Nosich.
The Highmark Caring Place offers programs for all ages and reaches people where they are at.
“Children’s groups from preschool to up to teenage. Then we also have the adult support groups as well, so children and families come together. We also know not everybody can get to us, so we have a school program where we go into the schools and provide support groups for children that can’t get to us for whatever barriers that might be in place,” said Nosich.
When someone passes, a child’s grief is often forgotten or misunderstood.
“People believe that children are resilient, which of course they are in a lot of ways…. For children, they grieve in spurts. So many adults will call us and say ‘Well my kids seem to be doing fine; they’re not really crying. They’re just goofing around.’ It just because they’re grieving differently than us,” noted Nosich.
The Caring Place has become like a second family for one father-daughter duo
“When I first dealt with the loss, I didn’t really know how to express my feelings. I tended to just keep in everything until I came to the Caring Place because my grandfather was my best friend, and it was hard for me to actually get that out. The Caring Place gave me good activities to do and got me good people to talk through it,” remembered Norah Fabac.
“When I lost my father, I mean, you deal with the loss yourself. I’ve never had a loss that close to me. I mean, yeah I lost my grandparents, but your father was kind of overwhelming. During that time you spend a lot of time among yourself trying to figure things out and get your head straight and all that. Then it’s like wait a minute, I have a daughter I’m supposed to talk to also. I’m like how do I do this because I don’t even understand it. It was really weird. I actually heard of the Caring Place on the radio,” said Nathan Fabac.
The Highmark Caring Place may be closed physically right now, but they are going to go online with virtual programs. You can always get help for your child online.
“Everything about the Caring Place is letting people know they’re not alone. So what we do at the Caring Place is we, typically, bring families together and provide a meal for them and they join others in support groups with other volunteers that are there to support them. Unfortunately we can’t do that right now. And so we are in the middle of, we’re almost there, we’re going to be piloting a summer program right now. And we’re moving online. So we’re going to start doing virtual groups so we can provide support,” said Nosich.
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