Seasons for Growth celebrates its 20th birthday

Over two days this week past and present trainers and Co-ordinators joined with Seasons for Growth Companions, Priests, parishioners, CSO and diocesan personnel to celebrate 20 years of the Seasons for Growth program.

The Seasons for Growth Children & Young People’s program aims to strengthen the social and emotional wellbeing of those who are experiencing major life changes − such as death, separation and divorce, illness, disability and moving − by supporting them to explore the impact of change and loss on everyday life and to learn new ways to respond.

Fifteen years ago the program expanded to help adults cope with the changes and losses they face as well as educating the community on meaning, styles of grieving and strategies to help family, friends and colleagues in their grief journeys.  In recent years the program has expanded, offering parents the opportunity to better understand the experience of separation and divorce from their child’s perspective, and to explore ideas and strategies they may wish to consider as they support their children’s transition through family change. From next year, the program will offer help to parents of children dealing with the death of someone they love.

We were fortunate to have the author of the Seasons for Growth program, Anne Graham, speak. Anne spoke about her passion for supporting children’s social and emotional wellbeing and highlighted the importance of their participation and recognition as we engage with them.

Vice Chancellor Pastoral Ministries, Teresa Brierley, enlightened the audience on how the diocese has been involved with Seasons for Growth throughout the Hunter-Manning area during the last 20 years.

Good Grief developed the suite of Seasons for Growth programs and their CEO, Kerry Stirling, spoke about the relationship between Good Grief and the diocese, affirming the diocese on its support of the program in this region.

Helen Bourne (Principal at St Michael’s Primary School, Nelson Bay) and Debbie Hill (“Companion” from St Mary’s High School, Gateshead) offered insights into how the program has benefited the children who have participated as well as the school in general.

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