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NAGC 2019 – Inspiration. Collaboration. Dedication.

The National Alliance for Grieving Children’s (NAGC) 23rd Annual Symposium on Children’s Grief was held June 20-22 in beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah. WARM Place staff members had the honor of attending this inspiring event and learned from incredible professionals on providing support for bereaved children and families. The symposium allows professionals, educators, and volunteers to come together, gain valuable educational experiences, and feel a sense of connection with others that advocate for grieving families.

WARM Place staff members Gina Brown, Shelley Spikes, Dana Minor attended NAGC 2019.

The speakers and workshop presenters at this year’s symposium provided energized presentations, helpful information, and creative activities.  Throughout the symposium, the attendees had the opportunity to network with a phenomenal group of colleagues and share their passion for supporting bereaved families. There were presentations on grief camps, suicide prevention, development, compassion resiliency, children’s literature, honoring one’s love stories, meeting the needs of widowed parents, and much more.

The Hope Tree

Many of the experiences and workshops provided an opportunity to collaborate, gain tools, and experience fun activities.  For example, the Interactive Activity Showcase provided an engaging and educational environment, where professionals from across the nation shared interactive activities on supporting grieving children, teens, and their families.

One of these activities, we especially liked was called “The Hope Tree.” This tree represents hopes and dreams for the future and messages to remember loved ones after their death. Activities like “The Hope Tree” give children and families a unique way to share their stories and help them feel supported on their grief journey.

Wooden blocks from The Sharing Place’s Memory Wall

In addition to the interactive presentations and workshops, we had the opportunity to visit our local host organization, The Sharing Place.  The Sharing Place is a grief support center in Salt Lake City and provides a safe environment for grieving children, teens, and their families.  The wonderful staff and volunteers at The Sharing Place opened their lovely center for a tour of their facility, shared activities they use in their grief support groups, and provided a welcoming environment to learn and be inspired.

Being a part of this year’s symposium was truly an uplifting experience.  We were reminded that we have a community in this line of work. We are surrounded by passionate individuals from various hospices, hospitals, mental health centers, children’s grief centers, youth programs, funeral homes, private practitioners, community volunteers, and educators.  With each conversation and encounter, we are reminded that “no child should have to grieve alone.”

“One of the most valuable things we can do to heal one another is listen to each other’s stories.” – Rebecca Falls