Illness and death of loved ones is devastating for anyone at any age. We are specifically gathering young adults because we’ve found that the experience of grief in this community can sometimes come with its own unique isolation that we want to help undo. Grief support geared specifically towards young adults is scarce in comparison to grief support for older adults and children. For some young adults, they are among the first in their friend group to lose someone close, which can leave them without a peer community to turn to. Especially in the midst of a pandemic that is preventing folks from gathering and grieving in the ways we have in the past, we want to connect young adults to volunteer grief workers who can offer company in the wild ride of grief, and to other young adults who can say “me too.”
Yes, absolutely. Loss takes many forms beyond illness and physical death — life-altering changes in employment, housing, education and training, and access to stability and predictability are all especially present during this pandemic. We hope for everyone to receive the support they need in navigating these various forms of grief. For now, with our limited resources and capacities, we are responding directly to the swelling of life-threatening illness and death from COVID-19. We are focusing on specific grief for a specific crowd so we can do that really well.
The network is organized by volunteers. We are a group of therapists, chaplains, and community organizers who saw an emerging need and decided to respond with this network. Many of us are young adults who have experienced big personal losses ourselves, and know how powerful it can be to have company in grief. This network is a representation of the community we need and are helping to create in the world.
The network was inspired and supported in part by the leadership of the NYC COVID Care Network and RUACH: Emotional and Spiritual Support. We are grateful for the individuals who consulted with us and for our ongoing partnerships.
For a complete list of the network organizers and affiliates, please click here.
As a 100% volunteer-run mutual aid network, we facilitate the connection of young adults who are grieving the illness or death of someone to COVID-19 to volunteer grief workers who are willing and able to offer support. Our volunteer grief workers come from many different backgrounds: some are trained social workers, therapists, spiritual directors, chaplains, or clergy or lay people with chaplaincy training. Some of our volunteers are current graduate school students in these fields, studying towards a professional degree. Others identify as healing practitioners from mindfulness or other healing modalities. Some of our volunteers come from a peer facilitation background, and have a loss story of their own that motivated them to learn to hold space for others. All of our volunteers self-identify as trained “grief workers,” folks who know how to show up for and listen to people who are grieving. Our volunteers do not, however, provide professional, clinical, or therapeutic services through the network, regardless of their history of training.