Family Fun Night in Lexington helps grieving families

An organization is taking a new approach to grief counseling for families and children.
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 10:20 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - An organization is taking a new approach to grief counseling for families and children, providing a safe space to those who have lost loved ones while helping families create new, happy memories together.

“You think about grief and supporting kids after a death loss, and everyone thinks it’s sad. That we’re all sitting around crying,” said Leila Salisbury, the Executive Director of the Kentucky Center for Grieving Children and Families.

But it doesn’t have to be. Leila Salisbury helps kids from ages four to 18 learn sustainable ways to cope with the death of a family member.

“When there’s a loss in the family. The whole family feels different. Their role or how they see themselves within the family feels different. So helping families understand even though there’s been a change, it can be okay going forward,” Leila Salisbury said.

Salisbury isn’t navigating these sessions alone. Her daughter Katarina is right by her side.

“I lost my dad when I was five. He died by suicide. It was obviously really hard for me to process that. But luckily, where we lived, I had a center like the KCGCF, where I could go and be around kids who understood what I was going through,” Katarina said.

Then, Katarina lost her grandmother at 13. Now, she works as a Teen Facilitator for those in high school. She’s even helped create a journal for teens to work through their grief.

“It’s so important just letting people know we do have these spaces. You don’t have to be alone,” said Katarina.

The center is helping Fayette County students thanks to state funding. They have also launched a pilot counseling program for college-aged students at Transylvania University.

Click here to learn more.