News Center

Friday, February 25, 2011

Support program helps kids handle grief in loss of loved one

INDIANAPOLIS – Consider the caterpillar: It builds a cocoon and remains safe until it transforms and emerges into a new life, one that takes flight.

Death is a part of the life cycle, and it’s especially difficult for children to grasp and make sense out of it, particularly when they lose a loved one. And that’s why Franciscan St. Francis Hospice offers Caterpillar Kids, a support program that offers learning experiences for children ages 5 to 12.

Hospice will offer its Spring Caterpillar Kids six-week program from April 6 to May 11. The workshops, which are free, are from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and run three consecutive Wednesdays with a one-week break, then resume for three additional sessions.

Meetings are at Christ United Methodist Church, 8540 U.S. 31 South, one mile north of Greenwood Park Mall.

“Children do grieve and they may express it differently than adults, but their feelings are as genuine and essential in healing,” said Karla Riggs Norton, spiritual bereavement coordinator. “Caterpillar Kids brings children together in a safe, nurturing environment where they receive information about grief and learn healthy ways to cope with the death of a loved one.”

Led by staff trained in bereavement support for children, youngsters participate in storytelling, art projects, games and other sharing opportunities. Parents also are invited to participate in a concurrent session to assist them in supporting their children.

Registration is required. To register or for more information about Caterpillar Kids, call Karla Riggs Norton at 317-859-2879.

More information about St. Francis Hospice is at