By Marlee Delaney
Holt Journal staff writer
Ele’s Place is coming to Holt Junior High School to offer a support group for grieving children, a director from Ele’s Place said March 22.
Director of Marketing and Community Outreach Molly Day said the open-ended support group offers hour-long sessions to help children and teenagers deal with the loss of a loved one. Ele’s Place also offers support groups for parents and guardians at its healing centers located in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Lansing.
“The parents are obviously dealing with their own grief, so this way they are getting support for themselves as well as support for their children,” she said.
Ele’s Place is bringing an eight-week program to Holt Junior High School, starting on April 9. There will be one staff member from Ele’s Place and one counselor from the school co-facilitating the program.
Eighth Grade Counselor Stephanie Grabiel will be sitting in on the group’s weekly meetings and says she is anxious to see how it will work with her students.
“Ele’s Place will take the lead, and I will be observing and helping with the weekly activities,” she said. “They said that down the road if we want, we can actually lead a group.”
Grabiel said there are a lot of great activities planned for the children.
“It’s unfamiliar territory for me, but I think it will be a good program,” she said.
7th Grade Counselor Jessica Cohen said she heard about Ele’s Place and its programs about a year and a half ago. She said there wasn’t time to organize a support group last year, so she and Grabiel decided to try to organize one this spring.
Cohen said there are students interested in the support group, but the group’s maximum is 12. All of the students who are unable to participate in this spring’s program will be offered a spot the following school year.
“We’re going to have the group on Tuesdays,” she said. “It will be once a week, and the students will rotate their hours according to classes, so they won’t miss the same class each week.”
Cohen said she went through the curriculum of the program last week and said her students are going to really benefit from the support group.
The beginning weeks will be getting to know each other, helping the students feel comfortable in the group and talking about what it feels like to lose a loved one. Some weeks will involve making projects, such as a mask. The students will decorate the inside and outside of the mask, reflecting their inner and outer emotions.
“We’ll have the full amount for the group, and it should be neat to see how it works,” she said.
For information, visit the Ele’s Place website.