2012 awareness week toolkit final version2


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2012 awareness week toolkit final version2

  1. 1. Awareness Week Leader Toolkit April 22-28, 2012GoalThe goal of National College Student Grief Awareness Week is to raise awareness about theprevalence and impact of coping with the illness or death of a loved one during college. Inthe process, we hope to spread the word about National Students of AMF—the onlyorganization dedicated to supporting grieving college students. For more info, check out:http://www.studentsofamf.org/grief-support-resources/ncsgaw/.ThemeOur 2012 theme is Actively Moving Forward. Moving forward “actively” refers to activitiesthat facilitate healing in the grief process: opening up to and reconnecting with friends,providing support to grieving peers, and channeling one’s grief towards positive outlets (e.g.volunteering in honor of ill or deceased loved ones). Over the last six years, we havewitnessed the profound impact of Actively Moving Forward among 2,000+ grieving collegestudents in 43 Campus Chapters around the country.The Issues• One out of three college students (approximately 6 million) has experienced the death of a family member or close friend within the last year.1 o But, no one talks about it, so everyone feels alone. A "silent epidemic.”2• Bereaved students are at risk of social withdrawal, developmental problems, mental illness, and decreased academic performance.3• These students need opportunities to connect with their peers, support one another, and channel their grief towards positive outlets, such as community service o National Students of AMF has been doing this on college campuses for the last 6 years and has been an important way in which students work through their grief.• Help us continue to break the silence and give a voice to grieving college students during the week of April 22-28 and beyond!FormatWe’ve recruited dozens of outstanding citizens nationwide to be “Awareness WeekLeaders.” Each leader will be expected to perform an "action of the day" (listed below) toraise awareness about college student grief. They also will be recruiting a group of at least 5-10 friends/family members/colleagues to participate with them on their team and do thetask of the day as well.                                                                                                                        1 Balk,  Walker,  &  Baker,  2010  2 Neimeyer,  2006  3 Servaty-­‐Seib,  2006   Page | 1    
  2. 2. Awareness Week Leader Toolkit April 22-28, 2012Action of the dayIn preparation: • “Like” AMF on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/studentsofamf) • “Follow” AMF on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/NationalAMF) • Invite your Facebook friends to attend the 2012 National College Student Grief Awareness Week event http://www.facebook.com/events/403580736320340/ • Make the Awareness Week logo your Facebook profile picture • Subscribe to the AMF newsletter (http://www.studentsofamf.org/newsletter-signup/) • Watch an Awareness week video: http://youtu.be/dB5aJO_eUnE , http://youtu.be/UZvkKk_LHls • Watch the Today Show feature story about AMF: http://youtu.be/ZxgnQUIyMowSunday, April 22Educate others about the incidence of college student grief • Update your facebook/ twitter status or your email “signature” to read: “One in three college students has experienced the death of a loved one within the last year. But no one talks about it, so everyone feels alone and unsupported. Join me this week in raising awareness about grieving college students and National Students of AMF (www.studentsofamf.org).” • Share the “one in three” statistic about the incidence of college bereavement with a grieving friend or make an announcement in a class or meeting. • (College Students): post the flyer all over campusMonday, April 23Share your own personal experiences and make an effort to listen to someone else’s story • Via email, phone, or in person, share what it was like to lose someone with a close friend. Let them know the challenges you faced during this process. • Update your Facebook status to say, “Remembering (your loved one) today.” o Change your profile picture to one that includes him/her. • Email your story of grief during college to blog@studentsofamf.org. It may be placed on the “We get it” Supportive blog (http://www.studentsofamf.org/category/we-get- it/), so others may be inspired by your story.Tuesday, April 24Show your support for those who are grieving • Send a card or email to someone who is grieving (especially to someone who experienced the death of a loved one more than 6 months ago, as they are more likely to experience a drop off in support). See Tips for Supporters in the Resource Document Page | 2    
  3. 3. Awareness Week Leader Toolkit April 22-28, 2012 Make a donation (even if only $10) to support grieving college students • (http://www.studentsofamf.org/donate/make-a-donation/)Wednesday, April 25Serve others • Volunteer at your local hospital/ hospice or the charity of your choice in memory of a loved one o Post to Facebook/ Twitter about how it feels to honor someone through helping others (http://www.facebook.com/studentsofamf) • Spend time with someone who is grieving to show them that you are there for them; do something kind and helpful for a grieving friend, like rake their lawn or offer to cook a meal for them.Thursday, April 26Connect with resources that can support you and others during the grief process. • Encourage others to connect with important grief outlets such as professional counselors, clergy, and local hospices. • If there is not a Students of AMF chapter on the college campus nearest to you, consider committing to helping to raise awareness on campus to identify a student leader to start a chapter (email info@studentsofamf.org if you’re interested). • (College Students): Mark off the next Students of AMF chapter support group on your schedule. o If you don’t have a Students of AMF chapter at your school, ask others if they will join you in starting one; let us know if you’re interested.Friday, April 27Honor/celebrate those whose death we feel every day. • Do something that makes you feel connected with your deceased loved one (e.g., listen to his/ her favorite music, visit the gravesite, eat his/ her most enjoyed food, etc.). • Share with a friend about the impact your loved one made and how his/ her legacy continues. • Update your Facebook status to say, “Today I celebrate (your loved one).” o Change your profile picture to one that includes him/her.Saturday, April 28Thank everyone for their support • Thank friends and family who have been particularly helpful in helping you cope with your own losses; let them know how important their support was and still is! • Update your Facebook status to say, “35-48% of college students have lost a family member or close friend within the last 2 years. Thank you to all who have helped raise awareness of college student grief this week.” Page | 3    
  4. 4. Awareness Week Leader Toolkit April 22-28, 2012 • Send a thank you card or email to those who have helped raise awareness this week (http://www.facebook.com/studentsofamf).Additional Awareness Week “Actions” for All to raise greater awareness: • Talk with local businesses and encourage them to include the awareness week logo on their homepage during the week (or the entire month!) • Schedule interviews with local or campus TV and radio stations discussing awareness week and activities you have planned • Use your unique talents – paint, sew, draw, write a poem, sing (or whatever you’re good at) – to represent grief, healing, or your loved one; create a YouTube video or take pictures and share it with others • Host a “comfort food” dinner and invite friends who may need support • Organize a moment of silence for those we grieveAdditional Awareness Week “Actions” for Chapter Leaders to do before the Week begins • Fill in the blanks from the “Letter to the Editor Template” and send a letter to the editor of your local or campus newspaper • Fill in the blanks of the “Press Release Template” and send to your local or campus newspaper • Schedule/execute a Students of AMF service project on your campus o Ex: Organize a charity kickball/softball/Wii/game tournament; charge a minimal registration fee and donate the proceeds to National Students of AMF or the charitable organization of your choiceTips for Supporters:Do: • Communicate to your friend that you want to be a part of his/ her grieving process and that you are comfortable bearing witness to his/her pain. • Empathize with the pain he/she is going through--- just knowing that you are there for support will be an immense source of strength. • Talk about what you loved and miss about the deceased person (if you knew him/her before death). • Offer to be helpful in concrete ways rather than as a general statement ("Im happy to come over and make dinner one night if you need." vs. "Let me know if theres anything I can do.")... and follow through with this!Dont: • Try to placate (e.g., "Hes in a better place now") • Say that you understand exactly what your friend is going through. Even if a significant loved one of yours has died, ones reaction to death is very individualized. • Give advice about what your friend should or shouldnt be doing in his/her own grief process. Page | 4    
  5. 5. Awareness Week Leader Toolkit April 22-28, 2012 • Pass judgment on your friends timeline of grief.-- Tips offered by Michelle Hamilton, MHC, CT, a Bereavement Counselor and AMF Alumni. Page | 5