Small Ideas: $10,000


“The Tuning Fork” program is not therapy, but it is therapeutic. It is designed to help children understand their feelings and emotions, to find effective ways of expressing their feelings in a safe environment and encourage play. Just as a tuning fork is used to resonate sound to find a pitch suitable for a piece of music or song, children need to explore different modalities and activities to find solutions to what resonates with them. They need to be able to ask questions and normalize their thoughts and emotions.

Volunteer Grief Facilitators go through a 16 hour- training program to prepare them to facilitate the 8-week group. Their training includes being present to the children’s needs, communication, the components and activities utilized to explore all of the feelings and emotions of grief and loss, as well as how to recognize when a child’s need exceeds the scope of the program and their role. Complex needs may need professional support, and we will provide a roster of local resources may be provided to families who may need therapy. The group ends with a “Celebration of Life” day where they reflect on their personal growth throughout the 8 weeks and recall tools they have gained to cope with their loss and recovery outside of the safety of the group.

The program will take place in schools throughout Muskoka after their regular day is finished and will last 1.5 hours each week. Parents will be encouraged to participate in an adult component so that they can understand their children’s grief and grow in understanding and ability to cope along with their children.
The children/youth will evaluate their situation before and after the program as to how it has helped them identify their feelings, how they have learned coping mechanisms, and if they generally feel an improved sense of well-being. Parents will evaluate their children’s overall demeanour, willingness to engage with the family, in their activities and overall sense of well-being.

Minimally, over the course of the one-year project, there will be three 8-week sessions in various schools throughout South and West Muskoka, depending on identified need. We were able to get this project started with a seed grant from United Way for $32,000.

Our goal for the Tuning Fork program is to ensure kids have an opportunity to “Be all that they can be.” This program focuses on their emotional and educational development, helping them to overcome grief, loss, and trauma, improving their potential to achieve positive life outcomes and enabling them to live happy lives and achieve their goals.

Funds from Aviva Community Fund would enable the Youth Grief Coordinator to run an additional 8-week Grief Session for teens in a local High School. Additional volunteer Grief Facilitators would be recruited, screened and trained to run the current & future program.

The Grief Coordinator would work with a Special Education Teacher to develop a unique electronic grief toolkit & support program which could be signed out by teens in the group for one week. Six iPads would be purchased through the Avia Community Fund.

Our goal is to assist these teens to develop coping mechanisms for loss and grief and moving forward, use these skills to mentor children in up-coming programs through Hospice Muskoka’s program, The Tuning Fork.
The Electronic Support Programs would be adapted for children’s ages & stage development, with teens teaching children to use in weeks between group sessions. This will build long-term resiliency for children, promote positive, healthy & productive life skills for their futures, within a medium familiar to them.
Total cost is estimated at $10,559

Broker supported

Hospice Muskoka

Location: Muskoka