In conjunction with Children's Grief Awareness Day, the Moyer and the New York Life foundations have announced a national initiative to increase awareness of childhood bereavement and the need for children's grief support services.
Through the Healing Hearts — A National Memory Board Project, families and adults who have experienced the death of someone close are invited to share a photo or memory of their loved one via social media to help grieving children understand that they are not alone. Observed on November 21, Children's Grief Awareness Day was established to increase awareness of childhood bereavement and the perspective and needs of a grieving child.
The initiative has its origins in a signature activity of the Moyer Foundation's Camp Erin program. During a ceremony on the first night of camp, campers between the ages of 6 and 17 are given an opportunity to place a photo of their loved one on a memory board and share a story about that person. The New York Life Foundation, which recently announced a $950,000 grant over three years to the Moyer Foundation, has actively led a national discussion about childhood bereavement since 2008.
An estimated 1.5 million children lose a parent each year, while countless others experience the death of a relative, friend, or someone close to them. According to recent data, grieving children are at a much greater risk for depression, suicide, poverty, and substance abuse. Individuals interested in participating in the project are encouraged to visit the Moyer Foundation's Facebook page and share their story and/or photo with the hashtag #MemoryBoard. On Twitter and Instagram, posts with the hashtags #MemoryBoard or #CGADHOPE are encouraged.
"As a society we tend to overlook how grief affects children, despite the tremendous impact it can have on their lives," said Moyer Foundation co-founder and vice president Jamie Moyer. "We hope the National Memory Board Project will be a source of comfort to these children, and that it will raise awareness of this important issue."