Hospice of Michigan receives tools to help grieving children

BALDWIN — The death of a loved one is an enormous challenge to face, especially for children. Now hospices have a new tool to help families with children in grief. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street has created a program called When Families Grieve. To supplement the program, Sesame Street designed a kit to help patients and families sort through complex emotions, remember the life of a loved one, and find strength in one another.

On Tuesday, March 1, one of these kits was presented to the Pathfinder Library in Baldwin. The kit can be borrowed from the library.

Hospice of Michigan’s Grief Support Services has been given 1,200 kits to be utilized by those dealing with the daunting challenge of helping a child deal with the reality of death. The resource kits are bilingual (English and Spanish) and include two booklets and a DVD. One booklet is a special guide for parents and caregivers. A short story for children is also included. This story is about simple ways a child can remember a loved one after their death through familiar routines, singing or listening to favorite songs, stories, and items that comfort. The DVD presents the stories of four families coping with the death of a parent, and the strategies they use to move forward.

Karen Monts, director of HOM’s Grief Support Services, said, “We are very excited that Sesame Street reached out to us and offered this tool. The kit will be very helpful to children we support in our grief programs.”

To read about Sesame Street’s grief resources go to : Talk Listen Connect - When Families Grieve at www.sesameworkshop.org/grief.

For more information about this project in Hospice of Michigan’s local office in Ludington, covering families in Benzie, Lake, Manistee, Mason and Oceana counties, contact Grief Support Manager Virginia Sonefeld at (231) 845-3423 or email vsonfel@hom.org.