Many children and youth struggle after a loss, especially with feeling different from their peers. Their parents or guardians may lack access to transportation or other resources needed to bring their child to a support group. Through our school-based support program, The Christi Center offers school-based grief support services for kids and teens.
The Christi Center works with area school districts to identify campuses with students who are grieving, and offers both individual counseling and peer support groups.
Current Services During COVID-19
For the safety of our Cadre Counselor volunteers and the students and families we serve, we will not be returning to campuses to work with students this Fall. We have modified our approach and will be offering parents and guardians the opportunity to have a weekly check-in call with one of our volunteer counselors to offer a listening ear and suggestions on how they can support their child in feeling loved and safe. We offer activities to help families to express and work through feelings of loss and the myriad of emotions that may occur. Research shows that the best way for a child to move forward in their grief is to have a caregiver who is modeling healthy grieving for them.
For older children who are comfortable with Facetime or the Zoom meeting format, they will be able to meet with the counselor weekly for a period of 6 to 8 weeks. In addition, we will provide individual support services for middle and high school students online in the Fall. We will offer online middle and high school support groups online.
If you are an Austin ISD counselor who would like to refer a child for services, please fill out our Service Inquiry Form.
School peer support groups provide a safe place for kids and teens to share their thoughts and feelings with other youth who are also grieving after the death of a family member or close friend. Students are identified by school personnel and are invited to participate.
- Typically consist of 6-12 students
- Most frequently offered to middle and high school students
- Takes place once a week for 8-10 weeks during the school day, usually rotates so that students don’t miss the same class
- Led by highly trained and supervised master’s level interns
- Available to any school in the Austin Independent School District, and may be available to campuses in the great Austin metro area
Our innovative “School Grief Support Network” program was developed to address the gap in services for children who’ve experienced a loss. The Christi Center pairs one of our trained “Cadre Counselor” volunteers with a grieving child. The counselor utilizes a developed curriculum of activities that the counselor and child can work on together to remember the loved one who died and build positive coping skills in the child.
- Typically offered to elementary students who may not have a peer group within their school
- Pairs a child with a Cadre Counselor--a retired school professional who has been trained to work with grieving children. The counselor and child work through activities to explore the loss and develop positive coping skills.
- Takes place once a week for 6-8 sessions during the school day