The Children’s Grief Foundation of Canada (CGFC) is a non-profit organization created to fund specialty services and support for grieving children and their families. We spoke with Kim Alvarado, Board Director, to learn more about what they do.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
The Children’s Grief Foundation of Canada (CGFC) is a national non-profit organization that funds innovative initiatives which improve access to specialty services and supports for grieving children and their families. This includes access to professional services, awareness raising and educational initiatives. The CGFC works to reduce financial barriers by providing funds to develop programs that support grieving children and their families. Our aim is to fund as many programs as possible.
What problem does it aim to solve?
CGFC aims to solve the problem of inadequate access to grief support for children, youth and their families. Many communities in Canada do not have accessible support, this is particularly true for less populated and rural areas across the country. Grief and bereavement in children can be temporary experiences, or they can linger and lead to mental health conditions. A child may need more help than what a parent can provide, particularly if the parent(s) is working through their own grief. How a child responds to the feeling associated with grief often varies by age group. Access to age-appropriate supports can assist a child with understanding and processing their feelings about death. This is important as it can limit ineffective trauma responses and allow the child to continue to meet developmental stages of growth.
When did you start/join it?
CGFC was registered as a charitable organization in March 2000. I joined the organization as a Board Director in 2022.
What made you want to get involved?
As a hospital administrator in a large academic hospital, I became acutely aware of the number of children impacted by the death of a loved one. Hospital social workers, physicians and other professionals raised concerns about the support available for children who lost their parent or care provider. Child-life specialists were employed at the Children’s Hospital to assist children in understanding death through age-appropriate activities, but until very recently, the adult hospital did not have access to such support. It is hard to imagine that even in some of our major hospitals the children of dying family members are not provided with information about death and available resources.
What was the situation like when you started?
In 2022, over 23 organizations and/or communities from across Canada submitted proposals to CGFC requesting funds to help them put resources in place to support grieving children.
How has it changed since?
Since 2020, the CGFC has funded 11 programs in Canada which in turn have provided support to over 874 grieving children and their families across Canada. At the same time, we continue to receive many more requests than we are unable to fund.
How can our readers help?
CGFC would welcome donations and fundraising events to help us fund innovative programs that will improve accessibility for children and their families. Readers can also help raise awareness by following us on social media and sharing our posts.
Do you have any events coming up?
CGFC just completed our Fall grant call for proposals, and we will have another grant call in the spring.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity/non-profit that you love?
One of my favourite local charities is Routes Youth Centre in Dundas Ontario. Routes provide low-barrier access to a safer, supportive space for youth to build community, recognizing youth come to Routes with different stories and needs. They offer workshops and opportunities to learn life skills in a friendly, inclusive environment.