Research has proven that unaddressed grief can have a serious impact on children and teenagers’ functioning and personality. When these young people have not developed the coping skills they need to process grief, they may fall into violence, drugs, or alcohol. Offering a healthy outlet, I Have a Friend offers these children the opportunity to form a real bond with someone who has experienced a similar deep loss. Highlighting the significance of this program, Kenny Slaught writes, “Recognizing that the child’s life will never be the same, the mentor offers a positive example for how to process and deal with the pain of loss. The mentor serves as a symbol that happiness and wholeness can be achieved no matter how the child may feel in the years immediately following a major loss.”

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