A child’s grief isn’t a problem to be solved. It’s a healthy response to loss. And considering that more than 8,000 children in the Sarasota area have lost parents or siblings, special programs that address grief are critical to giving children the counseling they need to help them navigate through their grief journey.

Tidewell Hospice’s Blue Butterfly program serves this key need.

The Blue Butterfly program is a free, evidence-based community outreach program to provide grief counseling for children aged 5-18 and their caregivers who have experienced the death of a significant person in their lives. This program aims to help families navigate their grief in healthy ways, focusing on children to help them avoid adverse behavioral responses and connect with others who have also experienced loss.

Now in its 6th year, this world-class service includes bringing expertise in counseling and mental health to the young people in our community who need it most. With guidance, children and families learn to process their loss and avoid common problems that can result from unresolved trauma, like depression and self-harm.

The grief of losing a parent or sibling affects 8000 children in Sarasota

“Our community needs family grief counseling more than ever, which is why Blue Butterfly services are 100% free — all thanks to the generous contributions of our donors, says Danielle Wondrak, LCSW, & Director of the Blue Butterfly program.

Wondrak says the demand for children’s grief services is “very high and in demand.” To meet this need, Blue Butterfly now has four active locations in Lakewood Ranch, Port Charlotte, Newtown, and Ellenton. To offer this valuable service costs money. The generosity of donors allows them to continue to expand their services to create more opportunities for children and families to find light and healing during some of their darkest days.

Blue Butterfly offers bilingual support, and is available in both English and Spanish.

“By acknowledging and addressing their grief, children can learn to process their emotions, understand the concept of death, and develop healthy coping mechanisms,” says Wondrak.  Blue Butterflies volunteer Janet D’Angeli adds, supporting children through grief fosters resilience, emotional growth, and helps prevent long-term emotional issues that may arise from unaddressed grief.”

Watch this brief, poignant video on YouTube about the Blue Butterfly Program

Blue Butterfly 6th anniversary fundraiser dinner at Cafe Barbosso

6pm unlimited seating, $125

What? Fundraiser for Tidewell Grief Care

When? Thursday, April 10

Contact: Chris Pfahler at (941) 552-7651

More about The Blue Butterfly Program here.

~ Andrea Martone

Andrea Mastrocinque-Martone is Sarasota Event Calendar’s Chief Editor. She is the former A & E Editor for Sarasota Observer Newspapers and is currently a public relations consultant. www.Insightfulpr.com