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Hospice of Santa Barbara’s ‘I Have a Friend’ Program Helps Kids Dealing with Death of Father

Father’s Day can be a particularly hard time of year for anyone who has dealt with the loss of their father; however, children dealing with this loss often face a unique grieving experience.

At a time of year when young children are making Father’s Day cards in class and their peers spend the holiday weekend celebrating with their dad, children suffering the loss of their father can feel left out and alone. For adults who have experienced the loss of a parent, they know this feeling all too well.

Hospice of Santa Barbara’s "I Have a Friend" Program matches a trained adult volunteer who has experienced the death of a parent at a young age with a child newly coping with a similar loss in their life. Mentors help a child heal, thrive and feel “normal” again. By ensuring that a grieving child is given a companion for the journey — one who truly understands the incredible loss and obstacles that will be encountered in the years ahead — the program helps children suffering the loss of a parent to know they are not alone.

“The loss of a parent is extremely traumatic and profound for children,” said David Selberg, CEO of Hospice of Santa Barbara. “The mentorships we help form have helped children feel less alone in their grief with someone who truly understands the pain they are feeling.”

Those who may be interested in becoming a mentor or know of a child experiencing parental loss may contact Hospice of Santa Barbara at 805.563.8820.

Hospice of Santa Barbara is a nonprofit organization that “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care management services to children and adults who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on area school campuses to work with children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call 805.563.8820 or click here. Find Hospice of Santa Barbara on Facebook and Twitter.

— Lauren Gunther is a publicist representing Hospice of Santa Barbara.

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