New York Life Foundation's Award-Winning Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative Surpasses Milestone

Thursday, July 11, 2019

New York Life Foundation's Award-Winning Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative Surpasses Milestone 

NEW YORK, July 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The New York Life Foundation, the largest corporate sponsor of childhood bereavement support, today announced it has surpassed its goal of providing grief training and resources to 1,000 schools across the country through the Grief-Sensitive School Initiative (GSSI). Launched in October 2018, the award-winning program has reached more than 25,000 school community members in 46 states and generated strong engagement among New York Life's workforce with nearly 1,800 agents and employees participating in the program.

"Reaching this milestone illustrates the demand for resources that equip school communities with the tools to support grieving students in their classrooms," said Heather Nesle, president of the New York Life Foundation. "While we're seeing strong momentum, our work has just begun. Bereavement in the classroom is an ever-present issue impacting millions of students nationwide and the need for these resources will continue to grow. As a result of our employees' and agents' passion for supporting grieving children and educators, we aim to triple our impact by the end of 2020."

"The primary reason educators don't identify and support their grieving students is that they don't know what to say or how to say it," said David J. Schonfeld, MD, Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement. "New York Life and its GSSI Ambassadors are getting materials into the hands of educators and the school community throughout the country to provide much needed support that can have a profound effect during a critical time in students' lives."

Bereavement in the Classroom

A survey of schools participating in GSSI found that prior to exposure to the program, 97 percent of educators and other school staff did not know where to turn for bereavement resources geared toward educators. Participation in GSSI has resulted in tangible changes for many schools, including more training for school employees, better coordination among staff for supporting grieving students and partnerships with local bereavement centers...

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