Stepping Stones: A comprehensive bereavement program for children & youth

Parents and Legal Guardians: To register your child for the Stepping Stones Program please complete and return the Bridges’ Student Application Packet.

 

Bridges for End-of-Life has been providing grief support for 25+ years to our tricounty area. In an attempt to reach and support grieving children, who are often overlooked and unserved in times of grief, Bridges has been offering our grief support program in our local tricounty area schools. This year, Bridges is excited to share our updated and comprehensive childhood grief support program with the community and would welcome the opportunity to work with you and your family. We are aiming to serve and provide local children with more in-depth support, over a longer period of time.

Bridges’ Stepping Stones Program is a comprehensive program for children who have lost a loved one. The program targets children & youth ages 6-15 (grades 1-8) who have experienced a significant loss of a loved one and are willing for support. This program incorporates best practice and evidence-informed methods to support and help children in processing their loss.

While you and your child can choose to participate in just a couple of Bridges’ programs, we encourage parents/legal guardians to have their child complete the whole comprehensive Stepping Stones Grief Support Program in order for the child to receive maximum benefit from the programs offered. Additionally, when a child and their family/support system completes* only four of the five Bridges’ programs listed below they will receive a FREE Family Support Kit (more information is given below).

* Completion of the Stepping Stones Program includes completing at least four of the

   following:

  • The child’s attendance of one weekend session of Shannon’s Hope Camp
  • The child attends 10 of the 12 Bridges’ School-Based Grief Support group sessions
  • The child and family/legal guardian attends the Candlelight Memorial Ceremony
  • The child and family/legal guardian attends the end of the year Bridges’ Family Day Camp celebration (Bridges is hopeful in piloting this program this year)
  • Both the parent/legal guardian and the child complete ALL of the Bridges’ Program Evaluation Forms

Bridges’ Grief Support Programs:

Step 1: Shannon’s Hope Camp is the first step in the program. This overnight grief camp takes place October 28-29th at Camp St. Christopher on Seabrook Island (transportation is available). Children will learn about grief, how to manage their emotions and feelings about loss, how to remember their loved one in healthy ways, and develop coping skills that they can use to manage their feelings. Each child is paired with a Bridges’ adult “buddy” and another student who will provide support for them throughout the weekend. If a child is unable to attend our fall  Shannon’s Hope Camp, we will be offering our camp again in the spring. To reserve your child’s spot for Shannon’s Hope Camp, Bridges’ requires $35 fee or a completed Scholarship Application Form.

Step 2: Children will then participate in our School-Based Grief Support Program in their local school beginning the week of October 23rd. This is a 12 week program with 6 sessions taking place in the fall and then 6 sessions taking place in the spring. Groups will be led by trained facilitators and will provide children with grief support through a variety of different activities and discussion. Bridges’ School-Based Grief Support Program is FREE to attend.

Step 3: The next step in our program is Bridges’ Annual Candlelight Memorial Ceremony. This service takes place on Sunday, November 19th, at Hampton Park in downtown Charleston. Children, families, teachers/school staff, community members, and professionals are all invited to celebrate the life of their loved one. The ceremony includes guest speakers, music, and a celebration of life. The Candlelight Memorial Ceremony is FREE to attend.

Step 4: After returning from winter break, children in the Stepping Stones Program will attend their last 6 week sessions of the School-Based Grief Support Program. Children will end the group having acquired new coping skills, increased self-esteem, and a better understanding of death. School-Based Grief Support Program is FREE to attend.

Step 5: Lastly, the Bridges is hopeful in piloting a Family Day Camp (Date is TBD) in the spring. The camp will be a chance for both the children and their families to celebrate. Children will be able to have fun and be around peers who all share the same common experience. Families will participate in fun activities which will incorporate the skills learned from participating in the program. A short discussion will be facilitated with the adults about their child’s experience in the program and how to continue helping a grieving child. You will be required to reserve your family’s spot for Bridges’ Family Day Camp and the cost of this program will either be very minimal or free.

Bridges’ Family Support Kit

As discussed previously, when a child and their family/legal guardian completes four of the five Bridges’ programs they will receive a FREE Family Support Kit. We appreciate your commitment to our Stepping Stones Grief Support Program during the academic school year and that is why, upon completion of the program, we would like to offer you our Bridges Family Support Kit.

The kit includes:

  • additional information on bereavement
  • a free copy of a grief book for you and your child
  • a free fun activity for you and your child to enjoy

These kits can be personalized by each family. As a family, you can choose which book (from the Bridges’ recommended book list) you would like to own and choose a fun activity (from the Bridges’ fun activity list) for their family to enjoy together.

Parents and Legal Guardians: To register your child for the Stepping Stones Program please complete and return the Bridges’ Student Application Packet.

 

We greatly appreciate your consideration of our program!