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Grieving Teens™ as a program was birthed in 1997, when a high school health teacher friend of mine could not cover the section on death and dying due to his parents both recently dying. This allowed me the opportunity to present death and dying in a forty-five minute seminar to all of the health classes. Through those classroom presentations, we identified dozens of students that had unresolved grief issues. In an attempt to meet these individual grief issues, we worked with the administration to start grief groups.
Grieving Teens™ at this time offers training for grief group facilitation, implementation, discussion manuals for grief groups, devotional thoughts, a theological understanding of death, a book on death for teens, seminars on death and dying for health classes, and a series of four seminars for parents and grandparents on how to communicate with the young people in their lives.
There are many organizations have programs that deal with grief in children or even grief and teens as a component of their overall program. Grieving Teens focuses exclusively on teens (13-19) and their world.
The major market aspect of this program is not in sales or services alone. The bottom line is to have the program in increasingly more and more high schools. Most High Schools do not have support groups much less specific groups such as grief groups.
This model for ministry will succeed because it meets a real need in every high school. Grief has real affects on the lives of all and especially teens. Grief affects mental attentiveness in class or any task, and their emotional stability. Countless youth seek to bury their emotions in hopes that they will disappear. They do not know what they will experience and what they need to do to work through grief. They also need support in this process. Some of the outward signs of a loss affecting a young person are, a drop in grades, withdrawal from peers, withdrawal from extra curricular activities, dropping out of school, drug use, and conflicts with others.
With exposure to the need I believe that this kind of ministry has a possibility of rapid growth. When poised to expand after a national crisis. National awareness of this need is not very deep. Crisis teams after a trauma are understood by some, but the idea of an ongoing groups for meeting grief needs in High Schools are close to unknown in the broad public's purview. Dealing with grief issues can help prevent tragedies and help young people deal with trauma and cope with other life and death issues.