OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center
Helping Grievers in Los Angeles County Find Hope and Healing After a Death
Los Angeles is grieving. More than 23,000 people in our community have died from COVID-19, and countless others have been impacted by accidents, cancer, heart disease, and an increasing number of homicides, suicides, and drug-induced deaths. OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center helps grieving children, teens, and adults find hope and healing in English and Spanish after the death of someone close through grief support groups, education, and resources. All programs are currently offered online to support and connect grievers during the pandemic.
Describe the mission of your organization.
OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center’s mission is to provide the community with grief support services, education, resources, and hope. Since 1993, we have helped thousands of children, teens, and adults in L.A. County find healing after the death of someone close. Our vision is to create a world in which grief is embraced, understood, and respected.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- County of Los Angeles
What is the problem that you are seeking to address?
After the death of someone close, a griever’s world turns upside down. Unsupported grief can lead to physical, emotional, and social risks, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and even violence, gang activity, incarceration, and early death. Children and teens may disengage from school, and adults from workplace and communal endeavors. Grief support is especially needed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which, in addition to causing more than 23,000 deaths in L.A. County, has complicated the grieving process by interrupting mourning rituals and isolating grievers through physical distancing. This is compounded by the explosion of recent traumatic deaths, with noted increases in drug-induced deaths, suicides, homicides, and families experiencing multiple deaths from COVID-19. Furthermore, there are few to no grief support resources for children and non-English speakers in Los Angeles, leaving high-need communities without the tools they need to overcome this adversity and thrive.
Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.
OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center offers a variety of grief support resources to address this urgent need in Los Angeles and make sure that grieving children, teens, and adults have the opportunity to safely process their grief feelings and find healing. Our model, adapted from the research of grief expert J. William Worden, PhD, helps grievers accept the reality of the death, process the pain of their grief, adjust to a world without the person who died, and foster an enduring connection with them. Our programs have grown with the needs of our community, serving a diverse population of grievers throughout Greater L.A. We are committed to making grief support available to grievers with limited financial and transportation resources, as well as other life challenges, particularly in our programs that serve children and Spanish-speaking adults, most of whom are from low-income households. OUR HOUSE grief support groups are age- and relationship-specific, building communities based on shared, lived experiences. For adults, we provide groups for young, mid-life, and later life widows and widowers, parents grieving an adult child, young and mid-life adults grieving a parent, and sibling bereavement, in addition to Spanish-language grief support groups. For children and teens, these groups are organized as “Littles” (Elementary School), “Middles” (Middle School), and “Teens” (High School), serving youths at our centers, public schools, and at our Camp Erin L.A. summer grief camp.
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Thousands of grieving L.A. County residents benefit from the social and emotional support provided by OUR HOUSE’s grief support groups each year. Our programs normalize the isolating experience of grief and provide a toolkit of healthy coping skills, helping grieving individuals and families overcome the trauma and adversity caused by the death of a loved one. As Vanessa, a 15-year-old, wrote: “My group showed me that it’s okay to feel angry, guilty, confused, etc. If I want to cry, then I can. I met new people that feel the same way I do. I’m not alone.” Volunteerism is another key facet of OUR HOUSE’s positive impact in Los Angeles. OUR HOUSE is a volunteer-driven organization, annually accounting for more than 500,000 donated hours of service. Many of our volunteers are alumni of our grief support groups. After experiencing the life-saving impact of grief support, these resilient volunteers chose to help others find their own path to hope after the death of someone close.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
OUR HOUSE measures the impact of our programs with evidence-informed outcomes based on years of tracking and best practices in the bereavement field. Evaluation tools include: (1) Insights from initial pre-group appointments; (2) Psychosocial questionnaires; (3) Mandatory clinical supervision of group leaders; and (4) Insights from group activities. All grief support programs have demonstrated statistically significant impact in achieving the following outcomes. Children and teens increase their ability to name and express feelings related to their grief, learn healthy coping strategies, understand that they are not alone in their grief, and find comfort in speaking with grieving peers. Adults feel more comfortable expressing feelings about their grief, increase their ability to ask others for support, believe that they can lead a fulfilling and meaningful life without the person who died, and feel less alone after speaking with other people their age who are grieving.
Which of the connect metrics will you impact?
- Social and emotional support
Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.
- LA is the best place to LEARN
- LA is the healthiest place to LIVE
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