EveryStep Offers Unique Grief Support to Students

While the death of a loved one affects everyone differently, experiencing grief as a young person can have lasting social and academic effects. Grieving students are more prone to excessive school absences, inability to focus on class, lower academic achievement, inability to form positive relationships and lower feelings of self-worth.

EveryStep Grief & Loss Services’ Amanda the Panda program partners with school counselors to provide on-site, school-based grief support groups and resources to youth when and where they need it. These support groups are offered at no cost during school hours over a six-week period during which students identify and accept grief emotions, learn healthy coping skills, establish a support network and honor loved ones.

On-site grief groups are offered in 21 rural and urban schools across Clarke, Dallas, Jasper, Polk, Story and Warren counties. During the 2021/2022 school year, 281 students were served in the participating counties.

Feedback from elementary students who participated in the grief support groups include, “You are not on your own,” “We all found new friends,” “I got more brave to share my feelings. I wish we had more classes,” “I hoped it would be longer. I loved it!” and “It is okay for you to feel sad.”

High school students comments include, “The activities helped me talk about my loss,” “This group helped me cope with my feelings,” and “I would like to repeat this group again.”

EveryStep’s Amanda the Panda school-based grief support groups are made possible by funding from the State of Iowa, the Carlson Family Foundation, the Fred Maytag Family Foundation, the New York Life Foundation, Variety – the Children’s Charity, Kum & Go and other generous donors.

For more information about EveryStep Grief & Loss Services, visit www.everystep.org/services/grief-loss. If you or someone you know is struggling to find the support they need, please contact EveryStep at 515-558-9946. Or complete the commitment-free, confidential “Find Care” form on EveryStep’s website at https://www.everystep.org/find-care. EveryStep staff will follow up with a phone call to answer your questions and provide assistance.