How We Got Started
In 1997, o good friend asked me to speak to his health classes on Death and Dying. I told him "Yes, I'll speak to your classes. I called a funeral home to borrow a casket (a prop for the front of the room) to help set the stage. I spoke for 45 minutes about death. For most students, it was their first extended discussion on the subject. They had never discussed it at home. As they talked about death, their unresolved issues about mortality and grief came to the surface. This program is the result of that invitation to speak and the needs it uncovered. I started facilitating grief support groups in the school year 1997-98. Since then it has grown to many other schools.
for 22 Years! 1997-
What Students Say
"My name is Jessica and I joined grief group my senior year of high school. I lost my grandmother to cancer back in December. My grandma and I were very close and before she passed taking care of her. When I lost my grandma it took a huge toll on my life I missed a lot of schools and made a lot of bad choices. My senior year started and my counselor told me about grief group and thought it could help me get back to being the confident girl I once was and I became close with a lot of the other people in the group I'm really grateful for grief group and Tom, without them I don't know how I would be today."
"Grief group caught me at a time when I had a multitude of issues come spiraling down upon me as a result of my friend's death. The single most important thing the group allowed me to do was to talk with others going through the same thing."
"The group taught me to cope with the situation, and channel my feelings in a non-destructive manner talking my feelings out instead of holding them in. Tom, thanks for getting me to talk, and helping me to move past a state of grief and into a state of understanding."
Jordon said, " I personally thought he was crazy because in my head nothing could help me. When I came to the group, I entered a room filled with people whom I've seen around school. When I heard their stories and how similar they were to mine, I decided to open up, share my story and how it has affected my life. Tom, our grief group coach, and the other students talked to me and gave me advice on how to deal with certain things and ways to deal with grief. The group has helped me to find myself again. It has helped!"
"Well I was a sophomore when I first attended your group. I was shy and nervous because I didn't know if others had the same problems or worse. I did not know what to expect... But, as I continued to keep on going, I realized I was not alone, I made friends, who were dealing with the same kind of problems. I had support in the group. I was able to just be myself. Everyone had a different story and we all learned from each other's stories. We all learned how to get along and encourage each other to a point where we grew as a family. No matter if it were new or the same old people attending the group, I enjoyed it because we not only talked about our stories and our pain, we all helped each other work through our grief. Thank you again! For the time you put out for us..." Jake
What Schools Say
Olivia Munoz@ PDHS said, "It is a sad reality that every year we always lose a student due to a tragic car accident, illness, homicide or suicide. When we encounter these tragic moments, I can always count on Dr. Morris coming to our school to help students deal with these difficult times."
In some schools, it took tragic events to realize the need for grief support.
Veronica Davis at LQHS wrote. "In September of 2007, La Quinta High established a much-needed grief group with the assistance of Dr. Morris. This program has provided tremendous support to our students that are coping with their grief from the death of a loved one, divorce, and other forms of significant loss."
"As volunteers on our campus, "GrievingTeens" conduct weekly support group meetings. Their program significantly impacts our support services by allowing students an accessible and continuous level of group support counseling... These students have found a place to feel safe."
"This program is invaluable to our students. For most, without the grief group, they would be dealing with these highly charged emotions alone. I would hate to imagine an ending to this program at our school. I hope that this is a service that will continue the healing of students for years to come."
How We Are Funded
GrievingTeens is funded by private individuals and businesses. We are a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. Our legal name is YFCGRIEVINGTEENS and we do business as GrievingTeens Our Tax ID # is 27-4256935 Because of this funding model we serve the public school community as volunteers.