Seasons Centre for Grieving Children is the only organization in our region solely focused on assisting bereaved children and their families. They use a unique peer to peer support model that provides the opportunity for bereaved children and youth to work through their grief.

Here is a Q & A with Courtney McFadden, Development Assistant for Seasons Centre for Grieving Children in Barrie.

How important is Seasons Centre for Grieving Children for our community?
For a grieving child or teen, one of the greatest frustrations may be a lack of understanding or unsupportive people outside of their own family. They can be subjected to bullying and report feeling misunderstood and alone. Our programs aim to minimize the stigma attached to bereaved children and to provide them with an atmosphere where they can feel comfortable to express themselves with their peers.

Tell me about the purpose of the centre and how community members
can contribute.

Grief is a normal reaction to a death. The intensity of emotions may vary over time and can be triggered by significant events such as anniversary dates. Emotions can range from angry, confused, guilty, sad, lonely, scared, helpless, shocked, and frustrated. We believe every child deserves the opportunity to grieve in a supportive and understanding environment. One of the goals of our peer support groups is to provide participants with the necessary tools to promote grieving in healthy ways. This builds resiliency in our children.

We don’t charge a fee for our services nor do we receive government funding. Currently, our funding comes from the generosity of our community, foundations, grants, service clubs, 3rd party events, and corporate and private gifts.

How long has the centre been established for?
Seasons Centre for Grieving Children opened its doors December 1995 in Barrie, Ontario. It was started by Christine Parker and Rowley Ramey in response to a much-needed service for children grieving the death of an immediate family member.

Seasons Centre is modeled after The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon. Christine took training at The Dougy Center to learn how to start a centre and support grieving children and teens. It has grown from 8 groups in 1996 to 29 groups in 2019. We can accommodate a maximum of 150 participants per week utilizing the current model of evening groups.

Seasons Centre for Grieving Children is dedicated in Loving Memory of Samantha and Jessica Ramey.

Describe the programs you provide.
We offer a variety of facilitated peer support groups for children ages 5 – 24 and their caregivers grieving the death of a parent, or sibling. Groups are organized according to the age of the person, the circumstances surrounding the death, and the relationship to the person who has died.

Explain the type of support you’re able to provide for grieving children.
Through structured activities and self-regulated play, the peer support groups provide participants the opportunity to learn appropriate tools and skills to work through their grief. Trained staff and volunteer grief facilitators support the children throughout this process.

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