by Dayna Woodruff, staff writer
One in five children will experience the death of someone close to them by the age of 18. The Highmark Caring Place in Erie is a center for children to talk about their emotions when grieving. The Caring Place provides peer support groups, educational programs, resources, and more.
Each year, there is a competition for students to create posters that will be displayed throughout schools across the state. Any student in elementary, middle, or high school can create a poster to enter in the contest. The purpose of the poster is to highlight how to talk to your friends about grief. Three seventh graders, Toby Greenawalt, Ella Worley, and Marie McKeown, won the contest that they entered last year. McKeown said, “Our poster will be displayed in over 500 schools across the state, and that’s awesome.”
Greenawalt said, “I felt that it was important because people need to know that there is a place to go to deal with grief.” Worley said, ““There are kids out there who are grieving and they need encouragement to just keep going. There are people who want to help.” If someone you know is grieving, the best way to help is to be there for them. Listen to them, or be there to sit beside them when they are upset. Avoid saying cliches like “you’ll be okay” or “be positive.” Your presence is more important than the words you say.
Nov. 16 is Children’s Grief Awareness Day. Make sure to wear blue to show support and bring attention to the issue of children’s grief.
For more information about the Caring Place, visit their website.