The Den For Grieving Kids provides a safe, caring place for children, teens and families to explore their feelings about the loss of a parent, sibling or other family member and begin the journey toward healing. Children and their families participate in groups led by professionals and trained volunteer facilitators.
The Den also offers support groups at area elementary, middle and high schools. The Den's focus is on supporting children and families and if necessary, our staff may refer family members for individual or group therapy at the Center for HOPE or within Family Centers' Counseling and Mental Health Program. Our professionals also provide trauma response services for community groups, schools or businesses.
The Den is a comprehensive bereavement resource center that does not charge a fee for participating individuals and families, and relies on over 50 volunteers and numerous charitable contributions to cover its operating budget. Our volunteers and donors help make The Den an important community of belonging, and we actively engage their support for its ongoing success.
Connecticut and New York families who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or other family member are welcome to participate. The Den's programs are non-denominational and confidential.
When and Where?
The Den's evening support groups are held twice a month on Mondays and Wednesdays at Family Centers' Greenwich office at 40 Arch Street. A pizza/salad dinner is served at 6:30 pm before the support groups begin at 7 pm. An intake interview is required before attending any of The Den's meetings. Please email Hallie Riggs or call 203-655-4693 for information or to schedule an intake interview.
Our Guiding Principles
Our society often fails to understand or support the needs of a child and family in grief. Therefore, The Den For Grieving Kids follows principles adopted from the Dougy Center, a nationally renowned program for grieving children and their families. At The Den, we believe that:
Grief is a natural reaction to the loss of a loved-one for both children and adults.
Each of us has an innate capacity to heal from grief and loss. The duration and intensity of grief are unique for each individual. Caring and acceptance assist in the healing process.
Evening Support Groups
Children ages 3 to 18 are grouped according to age and participate in a variety of friendship-building and grief-related activities. Parents/caregivers meet separately to discuss issues pertinent to them. Families attend bi-weekly meetings on either Monday or Wednesday evening at Family Centers' offices at 40 Arch Street in Greenwich.
The Den provides support for children and families who have experienced a death due to illness, accident, suicide or homicide. There is also a support group specifically for parents who have lost a child. The Den also offers specialty groups for Spanish-speaking parents, young adults, those coping with miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss. In addition, a general bereavement group for adults is also held bi-weekly on Monday evenings.
For additional information about The Den's evening support groups, call or Email Hallie Riggs at 203-655-4693 to arrange an initial appointment.
For a listing of The Den's 2018-2019 meeting schedule, click here.
School-Based Support Groups
The Den staff collaborates with school social workers, guidance counselors, principals and faculty to provide this confidential support service during the school day to students who are grieving the loss of a family member or friend. The Den currently offers on-site, school-day support groups at:
Norwalk: Brien McMahon High School, Nathan Hale Middle School, Roton Middle School, Brookside Elementary School, Fox Run Elementary School, Side-by-Side Community School
Stamford: AITE High School, Stamford High School, Westhill High School, Cloonan Middle School, Dolan Middle School, Scofield Magnet Middle School, Davenport Ridge Elementary School, Stillmeadow Elementary School, Westover Elementary School
The Den is able to offer school-based bereavement support groups to public, private or charter schools in the lower Fairfield County area. For information or to discuss starting a Den group at your school, call or email Hallie Riggs at 203-655-4693.
Speakers and Professional Workshops
The Den team and other Family Centers' professional staff are available to speak to groups at schools, businesses, organizations and houses of worship on bereavement, loss or other family issues. Call or email Bill Brucker at 203-869-4848 for information.
When a school, business or community organization experiences a loss of one of its members, our bereavement specialists are available for consultation and debriefing sessions with students, employees or staff. Call or email Stephanie Haen at 203-629-2822.
Support Group Facilitator
Over 50 volunteers currently work at The Den For Grieving Kids. After completing a one-day training session, new facilitators join experienced facilitators and work in teams to create a safe environment for children, teens and parents/caregivers to discuss their grief issues. On-going supervision and instruction help further volunteers' ability to provide families with the support and comfort they need.
Time commitment for facilitators
Group facilitators are requested to make a one-year commitment for either Monday or Wednesday, biweekly, to maintain continuity with the children and families. Facilitators meet with each other before and after the support groups for preparation and debriefing sessions.
The Den greeters help to create a community atmosphere to allow families to relax and feel welcome. Greeters set up and serve a pizza dinner that precedes the support group sessions and they also clean up after the dinner. Most importantly, they welcome participants as they arrive and interact with children, parents or other family members. Teen volunteers are welcome.
Time commitment for greeters
Greeters make an ongoing commitment to either Mondays or Wednesdays twice a month from 6:00 until 7:15 p.m.
For more information or to volunteer, call or email Carter Ashforth or 203-869-4848.
Donate to The Den
The Den is a comprehensive bereavement resource center that does not charge a fee for participating individuals and families and relies entirely on charitable contributions to cover its operating budget.
If you would like to make a donation to The Den For Grieving Kids or become a sponsor, call or email Jim Vivier, vice president and director of development at 203-869-4848 x 2214. You can also donate online using our secure Online Giving Form.