GMHS participates in Child Grief Awareness Day

Posted on December 6, 2017, in Events

Hundreds of General McLane students stood in unity on Children’s Grief Awareness Day, a day to remember and support those who have lost a close family member.

Children’s Grief Awareness Day was created in 2008 by the Highmark Caring Place, a Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families that offers a safe place for grieving children and families to come together. The Caring Place offers these services at no charge to grieving families from throughout the community to make sure these children receive the support they need.

Throughout the week, General McLane students participated in a variety of activities to show unity and support. Members of the high school Caring Club ran a bake sale and a basket raffle to raise money for The Caring Place, provided students with an opportunity to write the names of loved ones for a memory wall and decorated the building with blue butterflies, the symbol most associated with this day.

Caring Club president Amelia Swenski with the help of classmates Allie Shade, Emma Hunter, Phoebe Will, McKenah Bryson, Hannah McDermott, Jenna Brock, Anna Shreve, Haley Carter and Kendra Trezona, created a display of butterflies in the main lobby windows. Amelia created the memory wall, which included a paper tree with the words “we continue to grow and they continue to watch over us” placed next to it, specifically to be in memory of all of the lost parents and siblings of high school students and staff. Also, Mrs. Brenda Hertel, with the help of Mr. Jeremy Reed, Officer Jose Montes, Enrique Cornejo and Brayden Shaw, decorated the cafeteria windows with about 700 blue butterflies. The space served as an additional memory wall for the students.

Around twenty students and staff who have lost a sibling or parent gathered in the morning. They had a small ceremony where they to wrote the names of their passed loved ones on paper leaves to be hung on the tree. Students wore blue to show awareness of grieving children.

The Caring Club consists of 15 students who wish to make a positive impact at General McLane. Each month, they host events to create a caring atmosphere.

General McLane High School and Parker Middle School began offering grief support group meetings in September of 2014 as part of a regional program sponsored by the Highmark Caring Place, which has offered grief support for children at its Erie facility since opening in 2001. Students and counselors meet every Thursday for about an hour.