'Shared Grief Project' Helps Kids Cope With Loss of a Parent (VIDEOS)

child grieving
November 19 is Children's Grief Awareness Day. And in honor of that, the Shared Grief Project has launched to help bereaved kids and their families. 

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Sponsored by the New York Life Foundation, the organization has a site that features touching videos from some pretty familiar faces, including Kyrie Irving, Gabrielle Reece, WNBA superstar Candice Wiggins, and athlete/entrepreneur Roberto Clemente. 

Their unfortunate common denominator? Each lost a parent early on in life.

In poignant videos, each celeb shares what that painful experience was like and how they got through it. The reason, says Shared Grief Project founder Todd Arky, is so kids going through the same tough experience "will realize that they are not alone, that lots of other people have lived through a similar experience."

Arky hopes kids will also take away heartfelt advice -- especially the importance of opening up about their feelings -- and realize, he says, "that they can have a wonderful life and be wildly successful despite experiencing a significant loss at an early age."

More from The Stir: Boy Who Lost Both of His Parents Is Teaching the World How to 'Smile' Through Grief

Arky knows all too well what grieving kids are going through.

When he was 12, he lost his father to suicide. "His death was devastating," he says. "I was fortunate to have an incredibly strong mother who did everything she could to hold things together. We also had a lot of family friends that helped us. As a result, I made it through that period as well as I could have hoped."

Since 2009, Arky's been an active volunteer for Experience Camps, summer camps for kids who've lost a primary caregiver. As a counselor at their Maine location, "I saw firsthand how impactful it was for kids who have experienced a significant loss to meet lots of other kids who have lived through a similar experience," he says. "I decided that it would be amazing if I could get highly respected and admired athletes and celebrities who experienced loss at an early age and were willing to talk openly about their experience."

One video that really resonates for him? That of 23-year-old Kyrie Irving, point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Says Arky:

Despite the fact that he was so young -- 4 -- when his mother died, the loss still impacts him. I asked him when he misses his mom the most and he said that he has a hard time filling out forms that call for his parents' information ... Kyrie said he formed 'The Triangle' with his father and sister, which is a wonderful image, as all three sides of a triangle support each other equally.

Know a child who's grieving the loss of a loved one? The Shared Grief Project can't magically make everything better, but it can help remind him or her that things do, eventually, get easier.

Check out the site for helpful resources, guides for having a conversation with your child about grief, and plenty of poignant videos like the ones below.

 

 

Image © meadowmouse/iStock

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