Help Us Understand Grief (H.U.U.G.) Program

How Heart House Hospice’s H.U.U.G. program helps kids and parents.

Heart House Hospice Help Us Understand Grief (H.U.U.G.) gets WIDER!

“There is something you must always remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

-Winnie the Pooh

The HUUG program offers in-home visits to support children and youth (up to the age of 18) who are living with the dying or death of a family member.  

  • Studies indicate that including children in the conversation in an honest, open environment results in better coping strategies in the years to come
  • Using appropriate language makes a difference in how much children understand
  • Allowing children and youth to participate in the care of their loved one can result in better coping and reduce feelings of isolation
  • Involving children in conversations creates an open communicative environment and encourages children to express their feelings
  • Showing emotion in front of your children demonstrates positive modeling of expressing feelings

How We Help

  • Provide 1:1 support for children and youth affected by life-limiting illness
  • Facilitate communication between caregivers and their children
  • Offer emotional support and guidance to families and caregivers
  • Facilitate communication with teachers and school professionals to provide support outside of the home
  • Encourage emotional expression of children and the normalization of feelings, thoughts, and experiences
  • Provide educational materials and resources to assist parents and caregivers while supporting children and youth
  • Create opportunities for children and youth to be involved in care that is meaningful while respecting the child’s or youth’s choices

Feedback From Children, Youth, Parents, and Others

“Thank you for all you have done for my daughter.  She is playing with her friends again and no longer stands alone by the wall at recess.  She is also no longer afraid to visit the cemetery and talks about her Daddy all the time.”

“I know you will listen to me when I need to feel better.”

“When are you coming again?  Can you come again tomorrow?”

“I don’t know why my brother and sister don’t want to talk about our Daddy.  They need to spend time with you.”

“Thank you so much for this information.  What a great program!  I have forwarded it to all my colleagues and I am sure that you will get phone calls and referrals.  I have always said that Heart House Hospice has been one of the most helpful agencies I have worked with!  You are truly amazing at helping families in the most difficult of times.”  ~ Peel District School Board Social Worker

For questions about this program, please contact Kimberly Blackmore, HUUG Coach.

Click Here for the H.U.U.G. Referral Form – Please print and fax back to us.

H.U.U.G. Postcard for Children

H.U.U.G. Youth Postcard

Support Services for Grieving or Bereaved Children: Needs Assessment

Needs Assessment: Literature Search

Needs Assessment: Helplines, Online Support, Social Media, Etc.

The Children and Youth Grief Network has created some valuable videos to support grieving students in the school and in the classroom.  Check them out here:

Introduction to How to Support Students in the School and the Classroom
Module 1 – How to Recognize Children’s Grief
Module 2 – How to Support Grieving Students
Module 3 – What are the 4 C’s?  Four Common Concerns of Grieving Children and Youth
Module 4 – What to Say, What Not to Say
Additional Resources for Supporting Grieving Students in the School and the Classroom

Heart House Hospice recognizes the incredible support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation to build on the success of the HUUG program through a three year grant.  This grant provides us with an opportunity to support the positive development of children and youth and will help those who are facing barriers to develop strong emotional and social skills.  In total, 2,082 children and youth will be supported through HUUG in the next three years.

Heart House Hospice gratefully acknowledges the support from the Pendle Fund at the Community Foundation of Mississauga for the first year of this program.

Heart House Hospice programs are offered at no cost to the individuals and families. We receive partial funding from the government but to bridge the gap, we must raise $437,200 each year relying on the generosity of corporations, foundations, community minded citizens, service clubs and special events.   Please contact Lisa Hoekstra at 905-712-8119 x 234 if you are interested in supporting our programs.