Mission: To provide grieving students with the support and care they need.
About the Organization: Approximately one in twenty children in the United States loses a parent by age 16, and the vast majority experience a significant loss by the time they graduate from high school. Founded in 2013 by the New York Life Foundation, a pioneering advocate for the cause of childhood bereavement, and the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, led by pediatrician and childhood bereavement expert David J. Schonfeld, the Coalition to Support Grieving Students works to provide educators with the information, insights, and practical advice they need to better understand and meet the needs of grieving children in their classrooms.
Current Programs: The coalition's work is centered around its website, which provides practical, accessible information for classroom educators, principals, administrators, and student support personnel. Through a collaboration with professional organizations representing educators, the site provides interdisciplinary multimedia modules covering conversation and support, practical considerations, reactions and triggers, professional preparation and self-care, crisis and special circumstances, and other resources.
As an extension of the coalition's work, the New York Life Foundation earlier this month launched the Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative, which is designed to raise awareness among educators about the prevalence and impact of childhood bereavement and will award grants to schools in support of efforts to meet grieving students' needs. Since the program was piloted in 2016, more than four hundred schools have received a "Grief-Sensitive Schools" designation, and the program is expected to provide $500,000 in grants and reach a thousand schools by the end of the 2018-19 school year.
Website: Visitors to the Coalition to Support Grieving Students site can download "best practices" modules designed for specific user populations (e.g., classroom educators, principals and administrators, student support personnel, family and community members) and/or order free materials on topics such as "after a loved one dies," "supporting your child," and "supporting your students." Educators also can learn about how to apply for support for their schools through New York Life's Grief-Sensitive School Initiative.
Funding: The Coalition to Support Grieving Students is funded by the New York Life Foundation as well as other foundations and nonprofits.