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PostHeaderIcon About Courageous Kids

Courageous Kids offers expressive arts  as a way to process feelings of grief, and to communicate when there are no words.  Art, sand play, drama and creative writing allow grief to become normalized as children and families receive peer support and share images that are understood by one another.  Creative expression is a way for young people to take charge of an overwhelming experience and pursue their own path toward healing.


PostHeaderIcon A Visit to Our Past

We thought it would be of interest to everyone to revisit our past as an organization and find out in more detail how and why Courageous Kids was started. To do that we had to find Kathy Nussbaum, the woman who created the program. After much research Bruce Shaw, our Development Coordinator at the time, was able to find Kathy in Kodiak, Alaska and had the opportunity to talk with Kathy and learn firsthand how Courageous Kids came about.

The story begins with the death of Kathy’s father from cancer and its impact on her young children. “His death was my children’s death education,” she explained. As a Hospice nurse she had worked with many families with children. “People often got advice from friends or relatives in favor of protecting children from the dying process and the services after the death as much as possible.” Kathy found that if families had something in writing to read about children and grief, they were more likely to reconsider the advice they had been given. And so, following her dad’s death, her way of processing her loss was to write a pamphlet entitled, "Including the Children", which our Hospice then gave out to families with children.

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PostHeaderIcon Courageous Kids Guiding Beliefs

...Grief is a normal response to the death of a loved one.
...Youth grieve as intensely as adults but in different ways.
...It is essential for the healthy development of children and teens to grieve a significant loss.
...Healing from a painful loss is possible with support and acceptance.
...Young people need support that is appropriate to their developmental stage.


PostHeaderIcon Programs We Offer

Courageous Kids provides a safe, confidential environment designed to normalize feelings and help children and teens express and process their grief.

We offer weekly support groups at our office (and in schools as our time allows), an annual summer camp and a Teen Theater Troupe.

Courageous Kids offers weekly grief support meetings for children and teens age 6-18. Age-appropriate activities include art, drama, discussion, commemorative activities. Participants are welcome to attend support groups as long as it continues to be helpful for them. Support groups are also available for parents and guardians.

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PostHeaderIcon Our Mission

To provide a caring and accepting atmosphere where grieving young people will learn that their feelings and thoughts are normal and that expressing those helps to relieve the pain of the loss.

To provide activities appropriate to each child's developmental stage.

To provide a place where grieving children and teens can give and receive support from each other.


PostHeaderIcon Why Young People Need Help With Bereavement

Adults may sometimes try to protect children from the facts of death, feeling that they are too young to understand or will become too upset. However, we know that children and teens who don't grieve the death of someone significant in their lives can develop physical and emotional problems throughout their lives.


PostHeaderIcon How Courageous Kids Works

Art - sorrow

Courageous Kids accepts referrals from parents or guardians. Concerned family members, teachers, school counselors, ministers, health care providers or other agencies can encourage parents to contact the Courageous Kids program. Following a referral, the children and/or teens and their parent or guardian meet with a Courageous Kids staff member to discuss the program and each young person's needs.

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