New Partnership with StoryCorps Highlights Power of Storytelling for Grieving Families

One in 15 children will lose a parent or sibling by age 18 – a statistic that is poignantly brought to life through the New York Life Foundation’s partnership with StoryCorps, a project to tell the stories of bereaved families which is being announced in conjunction with this week’s Children’s Grief Awareness Day (CGAD).

In Road to Resilience: Memories that Move Us Forward, StoryCorps works with some of the New York Life Foundation’s bereavement support organization partners to leverage the power of storytelling to help children cope with the death of a loved one. Children and their families are given opportunities to preserve memories of their loved ones, share their grief journeys, and record themselves as they are.

In the New York Life Foundation’s 2017 Bereavement Survey, those who lost a parent growing up spoke to storytelling’s important role in their grief journey, indicating that the most helpful thing family or friends did after their loss was to share stories about their loved one (37%, highest cited action). A full 68% felt that it would have been easier to cope with their grief if our society was more open to talking about death and loss.

To encourage more children to share their stories as part of the grieving process, StoryCorps engages with the Foundation’s bereavement support partners, offering on-the-ground training and resources to help organizations adopt their interview model for the children they serve. StoryCorps also offers critical grief conversation tools, including adapted versions of their Great Questions lists, audio clips, and kid-friendly animations and discussion guides.

In the short animation video below, 13-year-old Olivia Evans sits down with her mom Sasha at the Tristesse Grief Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma to talk about the death of her dad Ernie and what she’s learned through her grief journey. She reinforces what a difference it makes to talk with others about her loss: "Talking about it is one of the best things you can do…Crying together is so much better than crying alone."

Please visit StoryCorps’ Road to Resilience page to view additional stories. On Children’s Grief Awareness Day and throughout the year, the Foundation hopes that by sharing these stories of resilience, more grieving children and families will be inspired to share their own stories of love and loss – honoring the memories of their loved ones and helping to bring conversations around death and grief out of the shadows.