FRIENDS WAY offers open-ended groups for children ages 3 to 18 and their families following the death of a significant person in their lives. There is no fee charged for participation in our programs. All sessions are facilitated by a qualified clinician and professionally trained volunteers.
Program participants meet on alternating Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the school calendar year. Families arrive at 6:30 p.m. for dinner and group concludes around 8:15 p.m. Prior to attending a FRIENDS WAY peer session, families must meet with Program Director
to register for the program.
Every evening begins with a meal provided by FRIENDS WAY shared by families and facilitators. This tradition promotes a comfortable and familiar atmosphere where families and facilitators can begin to connect with one another and build rapport. After the meal, family members attend individual peer groups. Peer sessions consist of children, pre-teens, and teens with simultaneous adult caregiver groups.
During our peer group sessions, creative activities such as art, music, storytelling and games are used to help children openly and honestly express their feelings and grief reactions. Children are encouraged to participate and share at their own pace. If children become overwhelmed during a particular group, facilitators offer to meet with the child individually or provide a safe space to vent feelings privately.
Following each program, our facilitators discuss the issues of the evenings and share insights and concerns. If necessary, the clinician follows up with families and, when appropriate, provides additional professional referrals.