Last year in Savannah, 50 people died from gun violence and we’re being reminded that those left behind need help with their grief, especially children. Hospice Savannah estimates that for every person killed in 2016 that two to four children were affected by the violent death. But now it has plans to help.
but now it has plans to help.
“We have recognized with the increase of gun violence that we really need to make an effort to get out into the community and provide support to these children, ” said Jamey Espina of Hospice Savannah.
The organization is announcing that it will be offering a new grief counseling program for children from ages 6 all the way to 17. Staffing, training and equipment will be paid for with a $100,000 garant from the New York Foundation. “”Grief is grief but it is complicated by the manner in which people die,” says Holland Morgan, a bereavement support coordinator with Hospice Savnanah. “And so for a child’s loved one to die traumatically or for them to witness it carries ramificatoins.”
Barbara O’Neal whose son was shot and killed in 2011 certainly agrees. “It affected my granddaugther so much,” she said. “He would take her to the bus stop pick her up from the bus stop and he was shot not far from that bus stop. So that affected her for a vey long time.”
O”Neal formed the group Mothers of Murdered Sons and belives the counseling program for children is long overdue. “You know adults who are grieving think that the kids are going to be okay but deep down those children are hurting just as much as us,” she told me.
Hospice Savannah plans a counseling program that will send counslers to affected communities. It will work to provide help to more than 200 young people over a two year period.
“Grief is not something we get over, it’s something we live with for the rest of our lives and in this way this support will be available to these children as they continue forward in their life,” said Morgan.
Hospice Savannah is encouraging anyone who wants to help with this program to contact them 912-303-9442.