In 2007, Good Samaritan Hospice held its first event just for children called Camp Good SAM, an overnight summer bereavement camp. In 2013, Camp Good SAM was consolidated with Camp Erin® Pittsburgh to provide a three-day, overnight experience in a safe and caring environment where grieving children and teens ages 6-17 could connect with others dealing with loss.
The landscape of the pandemic did not permit Good Samaritan Hospice to safely hold the annual overnight bereavement camp in 2020; however, we were able to hold a one-day socially-distant day camp in August. And while it was a success, a need was recognized to adapt and expand our youth bereavement services beyond just the camp to reach even more of God’s people on a more frequent basis.
While we’re proud of the time we spent with Camp Erin® Pittsburgh, Good Samaritan Hospice is thrilled to introduce Youth Bereavement Care (YBC), a division of Family Support Services. Founded in 2020 and grown from the need for innovative ways to reach grieving children year-round, the program provides free support for youth from birth through age 21 who have been affected by the death of a significant person in their lives. YBC is open to not only our hospice and extended Concordia families but to the greater community as well.
The mission of YBC is to make an impactful difference in the lives of children and teens by providing resources, clinical support and year-round connection with other families who are grieving. The enriched programming provides robust support to children and youth as they navigate their own unique grief. YBC services are FREE and include a variety of virtual and in-person programming, such as grief counseling, peer support, individual and family groups, grief education and day retreats.
One out of every 20 children age 15 and younger will experience the loss of one or both parents. This statistic does not account for the number of youths grieving the loss of an extended family member or friend. In a world where everyone is apart, our goal is for bereaved youth to know they are not alone.
YBC is staffed by grief and bereavement experts as well as clinicians who are trained in child mental and behavioral health and provide connective resources within the grief community. Rolling referrals are accepted year-round.
If you or a loved one could benefit from bereavement support services but are unsure of what service may help you best express and explore the grief that is uniquely individual, please feel free to reach out to Kerry Hettinger, Family Support Services Assistant, at 1-800-720-2551, ext. 4426 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If interested in donation opportunities, call the Concordia Lutheran Ministries Foundation Office at 724-352-1571, ext. 8363.