St. Luke's University Health Network



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While you have been caring for your grieving child, you may have pushed your own grief aside

When you bring your child to Ryan’s Tree, you will join other parents and caregivers bringing their children to participate in the bereavement support group. You are all connected because you have experienced the death of a friend or family member. Ryan’s Tree offers a safe environment for your children to share and learn, as well as process their grief experience.

At your child’s first session, they will be introduced to each other along with the adults who will lead the group activities. Some children will be attending their first Ryan’s Tree session while others may have previously participated. Regardless, they all have similar needs and will help each other to heal through listening and supporting one another.

  • They will have the chance to share with the group the name of the person in their life who has died.
  • Each session will introduce them to new activities to help them express their feelings, create meaningful memories and identify their support system.
  • Activities will vary by age group but will include discussion, art, music, movement and physical release.
  • Being surrounded by their peers for support will allow them to begin building new friendships and reduce the isolation children often feel after a death. These friends will be there for them during their journey to help them from being alone, even when they are lonely.

While your child is participating in the Ryan’s Tree program, you must remain onsite. You will have the opportunity to participate in an adult support group while your child is in their session. The adult support group allows you to be surrounded by other parents and caregivers who are facing similar experiences and challenges. You too should not feel alone during your journey. Many parents find this group helpful in sharing stories, nurturing memories, increasing family communication and exchanging coping skills.

For some, coming to Ryan’s Tree meets their needs; for others, Ryan’s Tree is a supplement to individual and/or family counseling. Although Ryan’s Tree does not provide formal counseling, we can connect families with professionals in the community who provide such services, if requested.