Growing through Grief supports sad children


Fund raiser Chris Currie and Co-ordinator Gaelyn Brake with a display of Growing through Grief resources.

A grant from the Rotorua Trust supports a programme aimed at helping children experiencing grief.

Growing through Grief offers a nine-week programme for children aged between 5-18 years. The programme is run by the Anglican Church Rotorua, which comes under the umbrella of the Waiapu Anglican Social Service Trust Board, although there is no religious content in the programme.

The Trust provided $6,000 towards programme expenses. Programme organisers are fund raiser Chris Currie and co-ordinator Gaelyn Brake.

Growing through Grief has been running for the past 15 years in Rotorua and in the past year has had about 100 children through the programme. It is a safe, confidential and healing peer support programme led by trained facilitators who help guide the children through their stories of hurt and sadness.

The content has remained the same but has been updated over the years with the addition of new ideas to meet current needs.

Although some aspects of children’s lives have changed, the problems they face are much the same, says Gaelyn. “We see children who come from backgrounds where they are sad.”

The peer support programme is presented in several schools and runs over nine weeks for each of the four terms during the school year. An after-school programme is run, and it is presented in schools in the Rotorua district.

Each group comprises between three and five youngsters led by the volunteer facilitators. The children are often non-communicative, surly and sad in week one.

“By week nine, they are virtually bouncing off the walls. The children understand they are here to tell their story of grief and loss to the group.”

Gaelyn says Growing through Grief is a straightforward plan that works with children, bringing healing and looking towards the future with a better understanding of their abilities and valuing their talents.

Gaelyn Brake
P.O. 351, Rotorua
07 350 3384 or 021814816

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