Not every grieving child steps through the doors of Heartworks, a family-based peer support program offered at UPMC Susquehanna. That’s why staff and volunteers have created a community-wide initiative to make grief-related resources available to children in Lycoming County who have experienced a death.
“We are placing care packages in the community that can help children and their families or caregivers explore feelings of grief,” said Linda Bryant, Heartworks coordinator. Three kits about feelings, loss of a loved one or the death of a pet are available at the six libraries in the Lycoming County Library System: Hughesville Area Public Library, Jersey Shore Public Library, Montgomery Area Public Library, Dr. W.B. Konkle Memorial Library in Montoursville, Muncy Public Library and the James V. Brown Library.
The resources are designed to be used at the family’s convenience to help those who cannot make it to a Heartworks meeting. Studies have shown that suppressed grief is linked with depression, violence, truancy, school failure, substance abuse and suicidal tendencies, Bryant said.
“Our goal is to offer any support we can to grieving children during this difficult time in their lives,” Bryant said.
The activity kits explore the loss of a family member, the loss of a pet, or one centering on emotions. Each kit includes games centering on the topic, puppets or toys, and thought-provoking books, along with some items each family can keep and a brief survey to be returned with the bags.
The bags were created with support from grant funding and generous community donations. Schools and organizations interested in having a kit for their facility should contact Bryant at Bryant.firstname.lastname@example.org or call Heartworks at 570-320-7691.
Heartworks is an informational resource for parents, schools, churches and community groups. Heartworks meets twice a month, from September to May, at Divine Providence Hospital. Please call 570-320-7691 or visit UPMCSusquehanna.org/Heartworks for more information.
The Brown Library is part of a national “Libraries Transform” effort to increase awareness of the changing role of libraries and the ways in which libraries are transforming to meet the information needs of their users.
The James V. Brown Library is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; and 24/7 at www.jvbrown.edu.