Sunday, May 3, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Yolo Hospice: Group helps children handle their grief

By
From page A5 | September 24, 2013 |

By Cynthia Wolff

Imagine a young child in elementary school grieving the sudden death of her parent. A referral was made to the Yolo Hospice child bereavement support group — Stepping Stones.

In the beginning, when children join this group they often choose not to participate. Overwhelmed with grief, they often pass when asked questions. Emotions can be hard to identify and put into words. Children see themselves as different from their classmates. Participation in school events is not the same.

As children continue to attend the support group, they begin to feel more comfortable, and able to talk about their loss. Sometimes it takes many months, or more than a year for the family to see benefit. A sign of recovery can be evidenced by speaking more openly about the death, grieving and emotions. Healing is also evidenced by sharing experiences with members new to the group. Family members appreciate how trained professionals who facilitate the group can approach a subject that is still too painful or difficult for them to talk about.

Aja Michael, a medical social worker, is 31 years old, born and raised in the Sacramento area. She lives with her husband, two young boys, two dogs and two chickens. Prior to her work with Yolo Hospice, she taught preschool and kindergarten in a Montessori school for almost nine years. During her time there, she had multiple experiences working with grieving children and families and found herself very connected to this work.

After some significant personal losses, it became clear to Aja that she found her calling in grief work. She changed her major from child development to social work and obtained her bachelor of social work in 2009 from Sacramento State University. She went on to complete her master of social work degree in 2011. During this time, she trained in a variety of settings, including Sacramento County In-Home Support Services, Sacramento City School District and Yolo Hospice. Aja is currently working on her supervised hours for obtaining her license as a licensed clinical social worker.

Aja began her tenure at Yolo Hospice in May 2011 and became the Stepping Stones program coordinator that September. During her time as program coordinator, she has attended numerous conferences and trainings, including a specialized program development training by Donna Schuurman, executive director of The Dougy Center (www.dougyorg). Its mission “provides support and training locally, nationally and internationally to individuals and organizations seeking to assist children in grief.”

Aja contacts all of our families who have children affected by the death of a loved one. She provides information and resources to community members, including grieving families, school staff, law enforcement and medical professionals. Each week she facilitates bereavement groups for children and teens, serving up to 18 families a month. She also provides individual grief support counseling for children ranging in age from 3 to 18.

Aja is a regular presenter in our office and to our community on understanding children’s grief and topics related to grieving children.

Aja and Yolo Hospice staff believe grief is a natural and normal experience for all children after the death of a loved one. At Stepping Stones, we provide them with a safe space to remember their loved one, express and explore emotions, develop healthy coping skills, and learn from their peers. It is also important for them to know that it’s OK to laugh, play, and have fun after a death, so we do plenty of this as well.

Aja is on track with her goal to complete her hours for licensure and plans to continue her work with grieving children.

“I hope to educate our community on this topic and program so that no child has to grieve alone,” she says.

Contributions from community have helped Yolo Hospice provide a wide range of bereavement services, from the child and teen bereavement program Stepping Stones to the many support groups we run for adults. All are offered at no charge.

Yolo Hospice continues to care for any patient in need, regardless of their insurance coverage or ability to pay. Visit our website at www.yolohospice.org for more information about bereavement programs.

— Cynthia Wolff is the director of access and outreach for Yolo Hospice. This column is published monthly.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Breaking barriers: For Prieto, it’s all about hard work

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Council to hear about drought pricing

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Peaceful Baltimore demonstrators praise top prosecutor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Nigeria: Nearly 300 freed women, children led to safety

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Graveyard thefts land three Woodlanders behind bars

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

Downtown altercation leads to injuries

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Woman arrested for brandishing knife on overpass

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

Yolo DA launches monthly newsletter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Can plants talk? UCD prof will answer that question

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

A Scottish setting for local author’s next book

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Indoor Fun Fly comes to Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Free beginner yoga class offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Video discusses surveillance of prostate cancer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
NAMI support group meets May 10

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Dr. G featured on the radio

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Fee proposed on rail cars that haul oil, other flammables

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Internships move UCD doctoral students beyond academia

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Make Mom a warm vanilla sugar scrub

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
The secret to Mother’s Day gifting success: Give time, not stuff

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Letter book is series of collected missives thanking Mom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
If your mom fancies something fancy, consider a tea party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Out of Africa and back to Davis: James Carey will give special presentation

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Big Day of Giving makes philanthropy easy

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Tuleyome Tales: How are a snake and a mushroom alike?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
Tuleyome hosts Snow Mountain camping trip

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Forum

Please help Baltimore

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
End of life doesn’t mean life must end

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Advancing education for California’s former foster youths

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

 
With sincere gratitude

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

A wonderful day of service

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Eyewitness to the ‘fall’ of Vietnam: It was not a bloodbath

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5 | Gallery

He can’t give it up

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

 
 
Dangers from prescription pills

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

.

Sports

 
Defending champ DHS clinches a baseball playoff berth

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

UCD softball splits with Titans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Trifecta of Devil teams open playoffs Tuesday

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Sports briefs: DHS boys win to reach lacrosse playoffs

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Making memories at Aggie Stadium

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Pro baseball roundup: Hudson pitches Giants past Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
UCD roundup: Aggie women speed past Hornets

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Marrone opens new greenhouse

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
New firm helps students on path to college

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A8

 
Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

Arcadia partners on soybean trait to improve yield

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, May 3, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8