WPP 026: Fran Solomon from Actively Moving Forward on grief support for college students

The traditional grief support equation is a room full of individuals that are grieving, that are sharing their experiences and generally have a facilitator. And we have found that that is a brilliant model for children and adolescents, and even adults. It’s this 18-to-25 year old age group that has really matured out of that model and has not gone back to it. Our young adults want to be active. First off, they don’t have time — with today’s pressures, they don’t have time to plan that one-a-day, go to a center, sit down, have your feelings, and then disseminate back into their lives. They want to be very proactive. So we encourage our young adults to go hiking, to do a yoga class, to bring a potluck dinner to a location and have that dish be a dish that their loved one enjoyed. So it really creates an invitation to speak about their loved one and to celebrate them. So we are not the traditional facilitated group.
— Fran Solomon, healgrief.org and Actively Moving Foward

I had such a great discussion with Fran Solomon for this episode. Fran is the founder of healgrief.org, which runs Actively Moving Forward, a grief support program for college students with chapters on many campuses.

Fran and I talked all about grief as it relates to college students, including:

  • The prevalence of grief as an issue for people in this age group;

  • Why grieving college students are particularly vulnerable;

  • The purpose of Actively Moving Forward, which is to support and empower grieving college students and young adults to actively move forward through their journey with grief;

  • The work they are doing on bereavement leave policies for students and the grief sensitive campus initiative;

  • Resources they have for college students, including a closed facebook group, webinars, and a young adult grief retreat;

  • The peer-based model that their college chapters use;

  • How to find out if your campus has a chapter, and the support they provide for starting new chapters;

  • Some examples of the “Kindness in Action” projects that their chapters do in celebration and in memory of loved ones; and

  • Some of healgrief.org’s other offerings, such as virtual candle lightings and the virtual “Before I Die…” wall.

I hope you enjoy my discussion with Fran Solomon.

Links & resources for this episode

Actively Moving Forward
Find campus chapters or start a new one
Light a virtual candle in the Candle Gallery
Write on the virtual “Before I Die…” wall
Local & national resources

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