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Grief Awareness Spotlights

Young Adult Grief Awareness Week Spotlight: AMF at Marshall University National Young Adult Grief Awareness Event

Written by: Kate Etter – AMF at Marshall University’s Chapter Leader

The name of our event was National Young Adult Grief Awareness Event. We wanted to make sure we were a known club and resource on campus and allow for people to take a moment out of their day to remember a loved one. We had flyers about AMF at Marshall University and “grief blows” blow pops. We had a memory wall with the prompts of “remember when” and “if you could see me know, you’d see”. We had many students and faculty members add to the wall and remember happy moments with loved ones.

We also had little chalkboards that people could write the name of a loved one on and then at the end of the day they could return, light a candle in front of the name they gave, and then keep the candle and chalkboard if they wanted. We were playing music and wearing beaded necklaces that someone donated for us.

It warmed my heart when a fellow student walked up to our table and said, “are you accepting new members right now? I would love to join”.

 


 

Young Adult Grief Awareness Week Spotlight: AMF at Georgetown University’s Young Adult Grief Awareness

Written by: Elvelyn Fernandez – AMF at Georgetown University’s Chapter Leader

In honor of National Young Adult Grief Awareness Week, we were inspired by other AMF chapters to host a social media campaign called “Share your AMF Story.” We really wanted to give our members the opportunity share their own experiences with grief and AMF to create an awareness within the Georgetown community. We provided members with sample questions for inspiration allowed them the freedom to write their story personally, only divulging whatever information they were comfortable with sharing, also giving them the option to remain anonymous. It was amazing to see the support Georgetown students had for their peers, by reacting, commenting, and sharing the stories. Several students had reached messaged us individually, mentioning their own grief and their desire to be involved in the club. We hope to find more ways be able to reach out to the Georgetown community and advocate for destigmatization of grief.

“I am so glad to have joined AMF at Georgetown because I feel like I have been able to talk about things that I have been thinking about for years but had no one to say them to. It is nice to meet people who can identify with my experience and we don’t have to be so lonely in our grief.”


 

Young Adult Grief Awareness Week Spotlight: AMF at Boston University’s Day of Remembrance

Written by: Allison Zuckerberg – AMF at Boston University’s Chapter Leader

From 9-3pm on Tues, April 10th, we invited the BU community to write a message to someone (either they can’t or don’t talk to), in a “If You Could See Me Now” / “You’d see…” chalkboard wall display. BU AMF tabled the event, and volunteers from AMF and other mental health organizations gave out Grief Sucks lollipops and KIND bars throughout the day.

Our goal was to to set one day of the academic year for a memorial purpose, in which the BU community was asked to honor lost loved ones – especially close to graduation, the ending of chapters and beginning of new ones.

The best part about our chalkboard walls is comparing the boards we make to the finished product at the end of the day. I know what I would say to everyone, “If they could see me now…” I’m graduating! I loved seeing what other people wrote though. Others were also celebrating graduation, some plans for afterwards- but other accomplishments were different and personal, such as finding self-love. The event was both about remembering and moving forward, which encapsulates everything AMF is about and what it means to me. Events like this connect people under a single mantra.

By the end of the day, I realized I had accomplished something new and projected a second message to those, if they could see me now – “I made a difference.”


 

AMF at the Medical University of South Carolina: Fresh for All Event

Written by: Colin Smith, AMF at Medical University’s Chapter Leader

According to the sign in we were able to provide fresh food for 738 people (471 adults, 267 children) with plenty left over and on its way to a local church.

The MUSC AMF chapter funded the event ($2700) and 9 of our members plus some friends of members were able to hand it out, free of charge, to residents of Yonges Island, SC on February 23rd from 9:30am to 12:30pm.

Some foods available were squash, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, strawberries, bananas, collard greens, and frozen meats.

The ‘fresh for all’ is an event offered by Low Country Food Bank. Low Country Food Bank does a fantastic job gathering the produce from their suppliers, targeting communities with a true need for the food, and spreading the word to members of the community on when and where to show up! From there, the event functions like a free produce market with us volunteers there to assist all customers!


 

Students Supporting Students: Creative Fundraising

Genna Dalence, Furman University, Senior, Public Health and Religion major, & friend of grieving students

I had the opportunity to participate in a survivor-style, week-long fundraising event put on by the Furman University Student Activities Board! This event is a long standing tradition at Furman. In order to participate, students must apply to be accepted. After acceptance, students must choose a costume to wear within the HAVOC theme of that year, choose an organization to raise money for, and essentially move out of their typical living space for a week. Students sleep outside in tents and are prohibited from going back to their rooms to shower or change clothes. I had always heard that this service event is one that can greatly impact your life as you are living for service, surviving only from the money that you raise for your organization. This year, I decided that I wanted to participate in this event, and I chose Actively Moving Forward to raise money and awareness for.

How did I decide to choose Actively Moving Forward as my organization? This summer I worked on a research project with the University Chaplain on Furman’s campus with one other student. The chaplain was interested in the topic of grief because Furman had three student deaths on campus last year and he wanted to extend the care available to students. I was interested in this topic because I have just happened to become very close friends with three people in college who have all lost a parent in the last couple of years. I have watched their grief journey throughout college and I have learned about challenging elements to grief, how friends can be supportive, and when professional help is needed. By trial and error, I have learned how to help, empathize, and listen better.

Through this project, we researched the broad topic of grief and then focused on grief among college students. It was through this research that we stumbled upon AMF. This was a turning point in our research as we quickly realized how well researched this organization is and what tangible efforts it is doing to help college students actively move through their grief.

So all week, as I was dressed up in my crazy costume, I told people about AMF and my research. I told them about my personal connection with the topic and the need to start talking about this “silent epidemic.” I did not realize that my passion for this topic could grow, but that week it absolutely did. Yes, the focus was on raising funds, but the most personally impactful part were the countless conversations I was able to have with people about grief and loss and why actively addressing our emotional needs is essential.

Throughout the week, I was able to talk to an elderly woman about her experience as a grief counselor, several students who are grieving and looking for support, professors curious about my unique cause, and several others with an interest in mental health needs. This experience not only humbled me to live for service, but it clarified one of my personal missions for college. I learned that through my experience of bringing awareness to college student grief, I have served as an advocate for my friends. An advocate to those who are struggling, but are in too much pain to stand strong. I have been able to raise awareness about the realities of grief, the problems of mental illness, and the empathy that is needed to understand others and love them through times of pain. I have been greatly impacted by this experience and am thankful for AMF for doing this work and supporting thousands of grieving students.

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