We recognise that children do not forget the death of a loved family member and that being silent does not erase the memory of this individual. This is a lesson the founders of Jacinta’s Smile know all too well having lost three of their own siblings. However, this experience, as tragic as it was, has motivated them to create supports for bereaved siblings so that they can constructively deal with their grief, lessen feelings of isolation, connect with other young people with similar experiences, and come away feeling secure and focused on their own future.
Creative Connections are online meetings grouping 7 – 10 year olds, 11 -14 year olds, and 15 – 17 year olds together. They bring children who have experienced loss together in a safe space by leveraging their experience to build resilience and encourage positivity. The 45 minute Zoom sessions are facilitated by using art and music therapists who encourage the children to use the time to express themselves creatively. These are not counselling sessions, but rather opportunities to meet others and allow children to know that it is okay to feel a range of emotions (sadness, anger, etc.) after the death of a sibling or family member. It also is focused on helping participants feel hopeful and happy again.
Our last Creative Connections session was held on Saturday, 28th November and Sunday, 29th November in commemoration of Bereaved Children’s Awareness Week. This professionally facilitated Zoom session was led by Chiara Clear. Chiara is a registered music therapist with both the AMTA (Australia) and IACAT (Ireland). She holds a Master’s degree in Music Therapy from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Chiara is a singer and musician and has played, performed, and recorded a wide variety of music over the past thirty years. She loves strong coffee, cats and living in the countryside in Co. Wicklow!
We had lots of fun making music, inspiring others through the songs we choose to write and unlocking the beauty and emotional intelligence that resonates deep within each of us.
*Please note, this event is for young people who have lost someone close that is over the age of 12 months.