Our Purpose

Why We Were Established

Bittersweet Place was developed specifically to address the grief of bereaved children.

“The most instinctive place bereaved children and teens turn when in crisis is to their peers who have experienced similar losses” – Alan Welfelt, PhD in “Healing the Bereaved Child.”

According to national statistics, 20% of our children will experience the death of a parent, sibling, or significant family member by the time they graduate from high school. When death in the family occurs, the bereft parent is too focused on his/her own grief to aid the stricken child. It is a common misperception that children are resilient and will quickly recover. They are not and they do not. Instead, they become the forgotten mourners. These children are prone to develop emotional, social, behavior, or academic problems.

Our Mission Statement

The mission of Bittersweet Place is to provide programs and resources for the children of Warrensburg and surrounding communities in a safe and supportive environment as they move through the grieving process following death of a parent, sibling, relative, or friend.

Our Goals

  • To provide volunteers trained in grief counseling and support processed to assist children and families explore their perceptions and perspectives about death
  • To help them understand the many psychological, physical, spiritual responses typically experiences in the grief process; make necessary adaptations and develop coping, communicating, and healing strategies for the individual and the family
  • To provide a safe and understanding environment where grieving children and their families can obtain support from trained volunteer facilitators and other families in similar situations

What We Provide

Bittersweet Place offers age-appropriate, on-going support groups that provide:

  • A creative and educational environment that inspires individual healing through peer support and group interaction
  • Activity-based lessons utilizing writing, art, music, and discussion
  • Trained volunteers and staff to provide consistent understanding and encouragement

Bittersweet Place welcomes all grieving children and their families regardless of race/origin, religion, or sexual orientation.

About Our Sessions

At Bittersweet Place, children and teenagers (ages 3-18) meet with other children or teens their own age who are going through similar grief experiences.  Ten one-hour sessions are offered once each fall and again in the spring.  In the sessions, everyone is free to grieve in their own way and at their own pace in a loving environment that’s overflowing with support.  Each group is facilitated by trained volunteers.

The children’s groups begin and end with a brief talking circle. Because play is the language of children, the center provides opportunities for each child to express feelings through artwork, puppetry, music and physical activity. This provides children with a means to explore their grief and express feelings that they might not be able to say out loud.  Teens also use games and writing journals to explore and share their feelings associated with the death of their loved one.

At the same time that children and teens meet, parents and/or caregivers meet together to share their feelings and receive ideas for helping their children and teens. The center provides a safe and understanding environment for all grieving children, teens and their families.

During the past few years, Bittersweet has also offered a one-day “camp” in the summer to check in with our children, teens and their families.