When Peter’s Place opened the day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, friends of the Morsbach family were still mourning the loss of 10-year-old Peter Morsbach, who died in a tragic accident while playing in 1999. Out of that profound sense of sadness came Peter’s Place, a bereavement center for grieving children and families in Radnor that was co-founded by Peter’s mother, Eleanor.
Statistically, one in 20 children in this country has a parent die before they turn 18. That death generally leaves the grieving youngster feeling isolated. Peter’s Place participants find company in their loss, inspiring positive growth—or at least a greater sense of empathy and compassion.
“They feel less isolated and less different,” says Carrie Miluski, interim executive director and program director. “The groups help them feel safe enough to tell their stories and to heal. People might expect the tone in a children’s grief support group to reflect sadness, but more often, the tone here is hopeful. Kids express relief in finding that they’re not alone.”
The center’s core program is made up of on-site support groups for children ages 4-17, their adult caregivers, and young adults ages 18-25. In the past three years, an outreach program has been developed to respond to schools after a death and to provide support groups there for grieving students—particularly in low-income, low-resource communities like Chester.
“We can’t cure the pain of grief or take away the loss, but we can create a climate where it’s OK to talk and to share,” Miluski says.
To learn more, visit petersplaceonline.org.