Creating Safe Spaces Team Spotlight: Traci Burton and Courtney Webb
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor instructors Courtney Webb and Traci Burton are teaching Club members how to cope, overcome challenges, and thrive as leaders for the Be There grief and bereavement curriculum. Courtney and Traci are reaching out to members in new ways to help kids build the skills they need to deal with grief and the associated emotions.
In October, Courtney and Traci attended Be There training in Boston, Massachusetts—hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in a partnership with the PEAR Institute associated with Harvard University. During the training, Traci was struck by the statistics she learned. One in particular was the sheer number of kids needing grief services, “One in twenty children in the US loses a parent by the age of eighteen. That’s more than 117,000 children each year in Michigan alone,” explains Traci.
Courtney says the challenge introducing any new program is getting buy-in from the members. Working with teens and bringing in new programs can be a test. Courtney has been pleased with the response she has found at the Club’s Teen Center, “Sometimes the members you don’t think will speak are the ones who speak from their soul and inspire others. I learn something every time we implement a new program with the members.”
The Be There curriculum includes games and hands-on activities that enhance critical thinking and perseverance. While the grief experience for anyone of any age can seem insurmountable, it can be even more challenging for children and teens who may not fully grasp the concept of death or loss. Be There helps Club staff create an environment where children and teens can journey through any type of grief with support.
Death and loss leaves children scared and scarred. But with support of family, friends and community, they can survive and thrive, learning a resiliency they never knew they had. Courtney and Traci are ensuring our members have all the bereavement support they need during the very emotional time following the loss of a loved one or friend.