In 2016, the Safe Crossings Foundation Board of Directors made grants to Providence’s Safe Crossings Program, Camp Erin®-King County, The Healing Center, Outward Bound, Our TreeHouse, Art with Heart and A Grief Place. In addition, two community need grants of $12,500 each were given to Forefront and The Healing Center to serve unmet needs in the Puget Sound region.
Forefront advances innovative approaches to suicide prevention through policy change, professional training, campus- and school-based interventions, media outreach, and support for persons affected by suicide. Safe Crossings Foundation is funding short-term telephone mentoring for those newly bereaved by suicide and the Forefront Cares package to let individuals and families know that there is a community out there that understands and supports them. Each package contains educational materials on grief after a suicide as well as comfort items found to be helpful by other loss survivors. One program participant said,
“This was a whole new world. Having someone to talk to made me feel less alone. My mentor taught me what signs to look for and to ask my kids about their grief. She taught me to be direct and that we don’t have to rescue anyone. It feels like a lifeline. We are tethered.”
Safe Crossings Foundation allocated funds to The Healing Center to improve the availability of culturally inclusive grief support groups in the community. Over the next year, they will be conducting local and national outreach to leverage best practices to reach more grieving children. Executive Director Cindy Burdell remarked,
“We are excited about the enthusiasm in our region for helping children, especially kids in underserved areas who don’t currently have access to grief support services. We’re already connecting with partner organizations and look forward to developing programs that answer the need.”
“I know what to do to calm myself down when I am stressed. I can identify my emotions and take responsibility for my actions.”
Safe Crossings Foundation also funded Our TreeHouse in Bellingham. This organization implemented two on-going support groups specifically for teens in Whatcom County who are grieving a death. In these groups, teens create a structure that meets their needs within the safety guidelines of the organization. They have pizza, time for sharing, and an occasional bowling night, to name a few. One teen noted,
“Our Treehouse allowed me to come to terms with living in the world after the loss of someone you love dearly. They helped me realize that if you have a few people who get you and somewhere safe to be vulnerable, your world can begin to stabilize.”