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Ryan's Tree creates a safe and nurturing environment in which children and teens can share with one another and process their grief experience

When a child or teen attends the Ryan’s Tree program, they will join other children dealing with the death of a friend or family member.

At the first session, they will be introduced to each other along with the adults who will lead the group activities and be introduced to the program and group process. Some children will be attending their first session while others may have previously participated in sessions. They all have similar needs and will help each other to heal through listening and supporting one another in a supportive environment.

  • They will have the chance to share with the group the name of the person in their life who has died and share stories about them.
  • 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.

While the child is participating in the Ryan’s Tree program, the parent or caregiver must remain onsite. The parent/caregiver will have the opportunity to participate in an adult support group while their child is in the session. The adult support group allows parents/caregivers to be surrounded by other adults who are facing similar experiences, as they too should not feel alone during your journey. Many parents find this group helpful as they share stories, nurture memories, increase family communication and exchange 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.