Chatham Middle Schoolers Learn to Cope With "Tough Stuff"
On October 13, 14 and 15th, Lisa Athan, the Director of Grief Speaks, spoke to all Chatham Middle School children about Transitions, Loss and Other Tough Stuff. Ms. Athan confirmed what the students already know: middle school is a time of transition and it isn't easy! She explained to the
students that everyone faces difficult times and problems in their lives, and asked them to share some of their successful coping skills. Some of the healthy coping mechanisms children shared included talking to their parents, talking to friends, listening to music, and/or exercising. Ms. Athan
also suggested keeping a journal, making a "scream box", and throwing bean bags. Ms. Athan stressed that life does get better, and even though we may feel hopeless, that is a temporary feeling. Ms. Athan talked about many of the issues middle school children face today – change of friends, death
of a pet, divorce of parents, disappointing grades, death of a relative or friend, and more. At the end of the presentation, students were asked to fill out cards either asking a question, stating "what works" for them in situations, or sharing. The children overwhelmingly shared losses and
transitions they have faced; they were glad to have the opportunity to express themselves. Ms. Athan provided follow-up activities for the children, and encouraged them to check out her website, griefspeaks.org. Arrangements for these presentations were made by Sandy Smith, Student Assistance
Coordinator for the School District of the Chathams. Funding was provided by MACC, the Municipal Alliance Committee of the Chathams.
(Photo by Sandy Smith)
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