In 2015 the Safe Crossings Foundation board of directors designated special funds for a new community grant-making initiative. This program offered three $5,000 competitive grants to emerging programs that addressed unmet needs in the greater Puget Sound area. Nine programs submitted requests, but these three stood out: Outward Bound Northwest, Grief Place and Our TreeHouse.
Outward Bound for Grieving Teens delivers an intensely profound healing experience for young people who have recently experienced death and loss. The grant allows Outward Bound to re-introduce this program in Washington and Oregon to an underserved community of bereaved teens at a little or no cost.
“This trip has made me realize that I am not the only person going through what I am. I know I am not in this alone and there will always be people who relate to me on such a similar basis that I feel capable of anything and everything. Being able to share my story was a highlight because I have never fully shared my experience and I truly believe this trip has brought me closer to being able to let go of so much sadness.” ~ An Outward Bound Teen
Grief Place in Wenatchee now offers a Spanish speaking group facilitator and translates materials for the Spanish speaking population in Chelan and Douglas counties. This is a huge step forward in helping to serve their large Spanish speaking community. Staff is also taking Spanish classes.
Our TreeHouse provides grief support and resources to children, teens, young adults and families in the Bellingham community. With the new funding from Safe Crossings Foundation, the organization is implementing a new year-round grief support group designed specifically for teenagers.
“I felt pretty lost for a while. I have always felt like there is something different between me and other kids. Always. Only with other people that lost a parent at a young age have I felt that same level of connection and belonging. It’s really important to meet other people who can relate, otherwise the world is a very lonely place.”
Teens are especially vulnerable: according to the Portland’s Dougy Center, teens who lose a loved one are at a greater risk for alcohol and substance abuse, reckless sexual activity, antisocial behaviors, withdrawal from social activities, excessive sleeping, high risk-taking behaviors, and other methods that temporarily numb the pain of their loss.