11/10/2022 The Healing Patch Children’s Grief Program announced a $20,000 Grief Reach Grant from the New York Life Foundation, administered by the National Alliance for Children’s Grief, to ensure that school communities have information and dedicated bereavement resources to meet the needs of grieving children and their families. The Healing Patch provides in-school peer support groups for students who are not able to attend sessions at the centers in Altoona and Ebensburg. Additionally, the Healing Patch provides student and staff education to school districts in Bedford, Blair and Cambria counties. 

“We are grateful for the New York Life Foundation’s investment in addressing the impact grief has on school communities across the country. The funding will help us ensure students’ social, emotional and bereavement needs are understood, addressed, and supported,” said Melody Ray, Healing Patch Coordinator.

“Acknowledging the long-term impact of the pandemic on students and teachers led us to dedicate funding to bereavement support for school communities. Now more than ever, we are committed to addressing the gap in grief support in schools through these grants and our Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative,” said Maria Collins, Vice President, New York Life Foundation. “The pandemic illuminated the need for more social, emotional and grief support and through our multi-tiered and holistic approach focused on investment, collaboration and resources, we can help increase access and support in a school environment.”

The Healing Patch in-school groups are referred to as “Patch Clubs” and offer an opportunity for children to be enrolled with guardian consent. Each child receives a comfort bag of items and participates in six weekly support group sessions. Healing Patch staff and/or volunteers partner with school personnel to offer the same activities used at family group nights so that in-school participants can express grief, connect with their peers and memorialize their loved ones. 

Vicki Jay, CEO, National Alliance for Children’s Grief shared, “We are grateful for the investment that the New York Life Foundation continues to make in positively impacting the lives of bereaved children and their families across the nation. For over a decade, funding from the Grief Reach program has worked to address the gap in resources and funding, increase access to bereavement support services in local communities, especially diverse communities, and innovatively seek to address the unmet needs of our youngest grievers. We are honored to be a partner in this work.” 

Over 360 Grief Reach grants totaling more than $12 million have been awarded since the program’s inception in 2011. The New York Life Foundation has been one of the leading funders of the childhood bereavement field, investing more than $60 million to date in support of grieving children and their families.

Caption: Healing Patch Coordinator Melody Ray (right) met Maria Collins, Vice President, New York Life Foundation, at a Partner Convening Event this summer. Melody joined other bereavement experts from across the nation who received funding from the New York Life Foundation to support grieving children. The Healing Patch is proud to receive a Grief Reach grant from the New York Life Foundation to ensure that our school communities have information and dedicated bereavement resources to meet the needs of grieving students and their families.

About the New York Life Foundation

Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided nearly $380 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good and Grief-Sensitive Schools programs. To learn more, please visit www.newyorklifefoundation.org.


About National Alliance for Children’s Grief

The National Alliance for Children’s Grief (NACG) is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the needs of children and teens who are grieving a death and provides education and resources for anyone who supports them. The NAGC is a North American network comprised of over 1,400 professionals, institutions and volunteers who promote best practices, educational programming and critical resources to facilitate the mental, emotional and physical health of grieving children and their families. We educate, advocate and raise awareness about childhood bereavement through our member and partner collective voices. For more information about the NACG, please visit www.childrengrieve.org.


About the Healing Patch

The Healing Patch Children’s Grief Program began in 2006 as a free peer support program for children and their families who have suffered the loss of a loved one, such as a parent, sibling, grandparent or close family member. Since that time, the program has expanded to support children through in-school services, grief resources and other community services. Sharing memories and experiences allows grieving children and families to discover that what they are going through is normal and that hope and healing are possible. The Healing Patch is a free service to the community and relies on individual and community donations, grants and fundraising events for support. If you would like to support the Healing Patch by donating or volunteering, please contact us at 1-800-445-6262 or homenursingagency.com. The Home Nursing Agency Foundation is supported by the United Ways of Bedford County, Blair County, Huntingdon County and the Laurel Highlands.