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Journeys Program

Kara’s Journeys Program is a holistic approach to providing grief support for school communities on the Peninsula. The Journeys Program is mostly comprised of peer-support grief groups conducted at the school site. The groups are available for students who have had a close family member or friend die. These students will have a chance to participate in a weekly group for 8-10 sessions that will take place during the school day at a time chosen in consultation with school staff. In the group, students will have a chance to grieve in a supportive environment with other students their age who have experienced the death of a relative or close friend. This helps reduce the feelings of isolation they may experience and normalize feelings and thoughts they may have surrounding the death.

Along with group support, Journeys Program staff are able to provide training and workshops for school sites. The training opportunities include education for group facilitators and other school staff who are looking to gain more understanding of the grief process and tools for supporting students in their grief. Workshops are an opportunity to provide education and support for school communities, including parents, school staff, and students. The group support, training, and workshops are all provided to schools at no cost, with donations welcome.

Kara staff is always happy to have conversations around grief topics with school professionals, regardless of participation in the Journeys Program.

Questions? Email us at journeysprogram@kara-grief.org

Grief Among Students of Color

Highlight Article

Grief Among Students of Color: One-pager on how grief is different for students of color including tips for educators.

Peer Group Model Options

We have two models for approaching peer groups with the Journeys Program: the On-site Partnership model, and the Consultative Model.

On-Site Partnership Model: Both a Kara staff member and school staff person will help administer and co-lead the groups each session. The school staff co-leader will be present during the duration of each session and offer any student follow-up support as needed.

Consultative Model: Two school site staff will be identified to co-lead the groups each session. Kara staff will meet with school staff between sessions to provide support and consult on grief topics and questions.

Both models include a 10-week curriculum, staff support, regular meetings and shared data for program sustainability. You can read more about the specifics of the two models here.


Peer Group Basic Requirements

In order for a school to be eligible for a group, the school must:

  • Identify a school-site facilitator available to conduct a 10-week group
  • Have between 7-12 students identify interest in the group
  • Have time to conduct intake interviews and collect paperwork for students
  • Allow for new school-site facilitators to go through a 2-hour orientation with Journeys Program staff (to include training on grief and the 10-week curriculum)
  • Be willing to sign an MOU to have clarity on expectations and roles for the group

Apply to Have a Group at Your School

Because of the demand for peer-support grief groups, we ask that schools fill out a short application to express interest and share some information about their school or district. Pleae read through the information on this page before applying, as we will want to make sure your school site is prepared for the group and its needs. While we do not currently charge a fee for engaging in the Journeys Program, we ask for buy-in from school sites. We have a high expectation for school engagement and this application is one important way we make sure your site is ready and willing to partner for a group!

The priority deadline for the application is September 31st. After this time, applications will be considered on a monthly basis. Please note, a complete application does not guarantee a group at your school site. Once applications are received, Journeys Progam staff will review them and reach out regarding next steps.

We are currently experiencing an increased number of service requests. Service options may be limited or delayed at this time. We appreciate your understanding as we strive to meet the needs of the bereaved in our community.


I think students emotionally gained so many new understandings of talking about their emotions and grief. I also feel that their social interactions improved greatly as they were able to see peers that were safe and willing to engage with them on an emotional topic.

School Counselor & School-Site Co-Facilitator

NYLF_4C

Become a Grief Sensitive School!

New York Life Foundation has launched a groundbreaking program called the Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative (GSSI) to better equip educators and other school personnel to support grieving students. The purpose of the initiative is to raise awareness about the prevalence of childhood bereavement and increase the resources available for schools. Learn more about the GSSI here.

To bring GSSI to your school, email journeysprogram@kara-grief.org

Grief Resources

Resources for Families
Podcasts

Books

Websites

Other Resources Kara Time at Home - Activity Worksheets
Wellness & Care for Self
Articles and Handouts

Other Resources

  • Calm Meditation and Mindfulness App
  • “Practicing Mindfulness: 75 Essential Meditations to Reduce Stress, Improve Mental Health and Find Peace in theEveryday”
    by Matthew Sockolov