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The mission of Open Arms is to provide free support to grieving children and their families and to educate the community about grief and its long-term impact on children.
At a very purposeful level, this is a prevention program. The data tells us that children who do not get the help and attention they need in the midst of a loss are at risk of academic difficulty/failure, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, suicide and juvenile delinquency. And as this proposal deals specifically with the survivors of homicide, further data shows us that victims of violence either become perpetrators of more violence or they remain victims throughout their lives. On the other hand, participants in grief support learn appropriate coping skills thereby lessening their susceptibility to depression, suicidal tendencies, violent behavior, substance abuse and child abuse/neglect. Open Arms also equips parents/guardians through teaching, peer support and encouragement to respond to their children in a healthy and appropriate manner. Through such efforts the family dynamics improve and potential for abuse and neglect diminish.
- Erica Thrash-Sall
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