Sandy Creek Central School District
Sandy Creek Central School Receives Grant from the New York Life Foundation to be a Grief Sensitive School Community
The New York Life Grief-Sensitive School Initiative (GSSI) was created in 2018. Sandy Creek Central School became a designated Grief-Sensitive School in 2022, As a result of agreeing to strive to become grief sensitive, the school received $500 that was used to fund grief counseling and other grief management efforts.
GSSI aims to better equip educators and other school personnel to support grieving students. Schools can receive grants, physical materials such as books, and more.
As part of this initiative, Sandy Creek elementary students and staff gathered recently to participate in the company's Read-Aloud event given by GSSI Ambassadors who are New York Life agents and employees. The books they read were from Kai's Journey and were created by the New York Life Foundation. Kai's Journey is a film and book series that is dedicated to children and families who have experienced the death of a loved one. The series strives to provide guidance and support as they embark on this lifelong journey of learning to better understand, process, and communicate their grief.
Nichole Wall, a GSSI Ambassador and New York Life Agent led the read aloud at Sandy Creek.
"New York Life is proud to reconnect with the Sandy Creek School District and host a Read-Aloud event to continue their efforts to create a grief sensitive environment. The event is a great way to help reduce the stigma about grief and raise awareness about the resources that are available," said Wall. "The students loved the Kai's Journey books and we had a very engaging discussion afterwards that we hope will help students and teachers be more comfortable when speaking about loss and grief."
Timothy Filiatrault, the principal at Sandy Creek Elementary, was also very thankful for the event.
"These kids have been through so much in the past few years," he said. "An event like this is so important because it shows them at a young age that it's ok to talk about loss and the feelings attached to it."
As a result of hosting the read aloud event, Sandy Creek Central School was given the Kai's Journey series and an additional $500 grant from the New York Life Foundation, the company's charitable arm, to continue to offer support to any students experiencing grief.