Spring sessions of Drew’s Hope grief support program to start in February
By AMBER SOUTH
The Taylor family will continue their mission to support children, teens and their families who are grieving the loss of a loved one in a spring semester of Drew’s Hope.
Drew’s Hope is the grief support program of the Drew Michael Taylor Foundation, which Randy and Marcie Taylor, Shippensburg, started following the death of their 3-year-old son Drew after the family was in car accident in June 2006 in Outer Banks, N.C.
“It’s the area’s only grief and loss support program for kids and teens 18 and under and their families,” Marcie Taylor has told Public Opinion.
The free program consists of seven sessions that each starts with a free shared meal. Children and teens then participate in age-appropriate groups and discussions; adults share memories and daily struggles with other adults who have experienced a similar loss, to learn how to help young family members cope with a loss.
“We pair adults with adults who have similar grief,” Taylor said.
Drew’s Hope will start Feb. 5 and run 6 to 8 p.m. every other Tuesday at Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School at Shippensburg University. An orientation for new families is scheduled Jan. 29.
Typically, each semester of Drew’s Hope starts with eight or nine families, Taylor has said. Last spring saw 16 families participate.
Commitment is desired, and families are expected to attend each session in order to build trusting relationships with participants and volunteers.
The Taylors created Drew’s Hope out of their own experience in grieving Drew’s death. Marcie Taylor said she and her husband Randy were able to find a program for themselves, but had difficulty finding one for their daughter, who was 6 at the time, in the local area.
“She was doing OK, but she wouldn’t talk to anyone about it. We found Highmark Caring Place in Harrisburg, but I said we need something locally,” she said.
The Taylors approached some SU professors about using students in need of practice hours. Now, student and faculty volunteers form SU’s counseling department and Growing Edges Community Counseling Clinic, a nonprofit clinic at the university, participate.
Families should be aware, though, that Drew’s Hope is a support program, not a counseling program.
Drew’s Hope extends beyond the seven regular sessions, as additional activities for whole families are planned each month. In the past, these have included sports games and live shows.
“We’re trying to help families have fun again without the guilt,” Taylor said.
To register, call Taylor at 532-8922. For more information, go to www.drewmichaeltaylor.org.
Amber South can be reached at email@example.com and 262-4771.