Healing House: Grief Support Groups For Children
By Michelle Matthews Calloway
Adults know that death is also a part of life and their advanced years may help them to better cope with its ravaging emotional effects. However, the impact of the reality of death often presents an undue burden on those who are the most emotionally vulnerable among us: children.
Healing House of Lafayette provides a place of respite for children who have experienced the death of a loved one. The mission of Healing House is to “provide support and education for grieving children, their caregivers and the Acadiana community.” At Healing House, the vision is that no child should have to grieve alone.
Healing House affords children the opportunity to participate in grief support groups in a safe, inviting atmosphere where they are allowed to express their grief. Children can express their emotions and vent their grief though interactive play, expressive art work and discussion groups with peers experiencing the same trauma. All services provided by Healing House are free of charge and run by trained volunteers.
Officials, counselors and volunteers at Healing House want families to know that they are available to help. They address key areas and provide the following guidelines for families:
• Speak openly and honestly to your children about a death.
• Respect differences in grieving styles.
• Listen without judgment.
• Hold a memorial service and allow for saying goodbye.
• Talk about and remember the person who died.
• Take a break.
Families who have experienced tragedy and whose children have received services from Healing House also find healing in giving back to the community. One such event is the Greg Landry “BIG RED CLASSIC” Memorial Fishing Tournament scheduled for August 17-18 at Cypremort Point. Landry was on his way home from a fishing trip on March 9, 2013 when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Landry’s family is hosting the tournament as a way to honor his memory and commemorate his legacy.
Tournament fishing begins Saturday, Aug. 17 at safe daylight until 6 p.m. for a 1-day weigh-in. The slot limit is 16”-27”. Competitors must weigh-in a quantity of 3 Redfish only by or at 6 p.m. Fishing will continue on Sunday, Aug. 18 at safe daylight with final weigh-in at 2 p.m.
Registration for the event is $50 per adult and $10 per child. Children will fish for 3 species: Redfish, Speckled Trout and Croaker. Children weighing-in a fish will be included in a raffle for a lifetime fishing license. All participants will receive a towel, koozie and sunglass strap.
Awards in the adult category include a $4,000 cash payout for 1st place, $2,000 for 2nd place and $1,000 for 3rd place. Winners in the childrens’ category will be awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd place trophies for each species. Adults and children paying an additional $10 will have the chance to win a $500 cash prize for the Redfish with the most spots.
Lafayette food trucks will be on hand and there will be live music at the Pavillion on Saturday night. Event t-shirts and Going Coastal merchandise will be available for purchase.
All proceeds from the Tournament will benefit local families in Acadiana that have experienced the death of a parent or sibling.