Helping a child who has lost a loved one is often an overwhelming task for school counselors who have hundreds of students .
Ele's Place, a center for grieving children here in Lansing, is hoping to make life a bit easier for both students and staff by bringing their services to six schools around the area. Holt Junior High,, Haslett Middle School,, Dewitt Junior High, Leslie and Bath Middle Schools are now parterning with Ele's Place.
These middle and junior high schools will offer the same support that the programs at Ele's Place does, in the comfort of the child's school.
The center is located near downtown Lansing and serves over 200 children a week. They hope their new programs allow them to provide support to even more children who have lost someone special.
Laurie Baumer, the President and CEO of Ele's Place, spends her days orchestrating weekly programs for kids ages 3 to 18. The programs include group discussion, arts and crafts and other creative exercises. But these sessions are more than a typical after-school school program... They provide a place of healing for children who have lost a loved one.
"The activities are really designed to help the kids to express their feelings and share their memories with other kids who really get it," said Baumer.
Ele's Place has evening programs, and most kids attend once a week. But the organization feared it was still missing children in need of support.
"We've noticed over the years that it is becoming more and more difficult for some families to get to Ele's Place. It might be a transportation issue. It might be mom's working two jobs or evening jobs."
In order to serve more grieving children, Ele's Place is taking their program on the road, offering eight- week support group sessions during the school day, at 6 new area schools.
"Ultimately, it's really about helping the kids deal with their emotional situation so that their school performance is increased," explained Baumer.
Ele's Place already provides programs at 9 schools, bringing their total number of schools served to 15. The organization hopes to partner with even more schools in the future.
The six new schools that Ele's Place is partnering with will begin programs during this school year.
Ele's Place also serves as a referral agency for people who come in contact with grieving families. All of their services are provided for free. If you know a child or family that you think is in need of support, you are encouraged to call 517-482-1315 for more information.