Updated 10/12 2016 06:03PM
Altoona, Blair County, Pa.
One out of 20 children 15 and younger will lose one or both parents to death. One in 5 will experience the death of someone close to them by the age of 18. In our area, families and children have a safe place to go for help dealing with their grief.
Every other week, at the Healing Patch, you'll find the rooms filled with children who've lost a loved one. Home Nursing Agency Bereavement Manager Allison Stockley says, it's our hope to provide that opportunity to work through their grief journey, do their work. It doesn't fix it, but it's to help give them that little bit of support , to move through that process, and to find hope in healing through that journey."
Children who come to the Healing Patch get to play, do art work, dress up, and take part in activities targeted for their age group.
In this safe environment they learn that they're not alone in their grief, and it encourages them to work through very difficult situations.
"Whether it's about the feelings about the loss, telling their story, it's amazing how quickly children will open up and share some very very details, very heartache, very difficult circumstances around the death and feelings that go with it," Stockley says.
In another room, parents and guardians meet separately to discuss the impact of their loved one's death on the family and learn how to help their children cope.
"I believe everybody who's been impacted by a significant loss in their life that it's often described as a defining moment in their life," Stockley says. "And to say you just get over it, everybody deals with everything differently. Some people do not deal with it, others maybe deal with it much later in their life, she adds.
The Healing Patch, established about 10 years ago by Home Nursing Agency works with children and families in two locations Ebensburg and Hollidaysburg, and provides grief education and support at local school districts.
Enrollment is free. Agency Development Director Pam Seasoltz says, "this program is Home Nursing Agency's gift to the community and we're very proud of that."
And Stockley adds, what one mother involved with the program says, "it's that club that nobody wants to belong to, but you're sure glad you have it when you need it."
Enrollment in the Healing Patch is free, but the program does rely on community support. Fortunately, you can help out and have fun. The Patch Club Speakeasy Event
Is Set for Oct. 28 at 6 pm at the Casino in Altoona.
It's a unique Prohibition-era event which includes an interactive mystery dinner theatre with music by Tommy Wareham and the Intrigues. Revel in great food, decadent spirits, cool jazz, and interactive mystery whodunit, and footloose dancing-all to benefit The Healing Patch, Children’s Grief Program.