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Presented on Coping with Grief, Loss & Tough Stuff
Geraldine, a graduating senior at Milton School

Lisa was invited in to speak at a graduate class in counseling at Kean University on October 16th, 2010:  Supporting Grieving Students through Grief, Loss and Other Tough Stuff.

Lisa presented to graduate students at Kean Univ
Supporting Grieving Students through Grief and Loss
Lisa presented to students at The Milton School
A wonderfully supportive school community
Grief Speaks at Chatham Middle School
Chatham Middle School
Lisa showing how feelings change over time.

Lisa presented at Chatham Middle School to all 950 students on October 13th-15th, 2010.  The topic was coping with transitions, loss and other tough stuff.

Students learned healthy ways to cope with many different feelings, about resources in the community and how to support a friend who may be going through loss. 

Grief Speaks at Chatham Middle School
Chatham Middle School
Lisa demonstrating a way to cope with anger that follows loss.
Lisa presented to Kinnelon HS freshmen in Health
Kinnelon Health Class
Students write about coping with tough stuff
Lisa at Westfield High School
Presented to students on Coping with Loss

Lisa visiting Westfield High School to speak in the health classes to the students. Lisa speaks yearly at WHS to students during each marking period covering grades 9th - 12th grades. The written feedback she receives from the students is excellent. They love learning about how to support a friend in grief, as well as what normal signs of grief are, and that loss is not just about death. Students thank her for teaching healthy ways to express grief.  Lisa has also presented to the entire faculty on ways to support grieving students, families and co-workers around loss issues. Lisa facilitated a three hour professional development, interactive workshop for the district's school nurses as well.
Above, Lisa presented on May 7, 2010 to students at The Milton School.They invited me to speak at their annual Health Fair. This school is for students with special needs who have had difficulty in public school. The minute I walked in the school, I felt at ease.The students shared so many positive experiences with me about this school. Students talked about the smile on the teachers' faces when they walked in the school door. One girl told me,"they treat me the way I want to be treated at this school. It makes me feel good." Those who are graduating in June expressed happiness and sadness to be leaving. This is a school which truly creates a caring and accepting environment. Staff seems so dedicated, patient and genuinely interested in the students. It was a great experience. 

Lisa Presented to Parsippany Schools
Lisa with her books, tools and helpful ideas
Lisa spoke at Avenel Middle School to 6th grades
Healthy Ways to Cope with Grief and Loss

Lisa presented Supporting Our Children Through Loss, Grief and Transitions at Parsippany Troy-Hills District on October 6, 2009. This was attended by parents and guardians as well as school staff of elementary, middle school and high school aged students.


Students Make Scream Boxes in Health Class
Lisa spoke to all of the health classes on coping with teen grief
A 4th grade James Caldwell Elementary Student
Holding a Grief Ball

Here Lisa visited James Caldwell Elementary School in Springfield  to speak in each classroom about grief and loss. Here a student is choosing a feeling word off of Lisa's Grief Ball.  The students take turns tossing the ball to one another, and then sharing a word that their thumb is touching. This makes learning about grief feelings less threatening and even fun. Lisa is passionate about normalizing grief in our "get over it" and "move on" society. She especially enjoys giving children and teens permission to grieve in their own way. Children need adults who are willing to acknowledge their losses in a safe way while allowing the children a full range of emotions and safe opportunities to express whatever it is they feel. 
Below is Lisa speaking at Watchung Hills Regional High School to 9th grade English classes in December 2009, about coping with grief and loss . The class read the book Speak about acquaintance rape and Lisa discussed this as well as many other types of losses that teens may experience. The students listened intently as they played with Play Doh to help relax them. At the last fifteen minutes the students were given index cards to ask anonymous questions. Students were given handouts that included resources, hot line numbers and web sites that can be of help to them concerning different types of loss.  

Lisa spoke at Watchung Hills Regional HS
English classes heard about how teens cope with loss
Student with the grief ball

Another student looks carefully at the words written on the Grief Ball. Feeling words such as angry, sad, lonely, scared and numb are some of the words Lisa talks about that are common after a loss. Students are encouraged to brainstorm healthy ways to  express different feelings both at school and at home. Students are also encouraged to come up with a list of five safe adults that they could talk to about their worries, concerns or feelings. Lisa encourages even the high school students to have at least two safe adults in the school building in case something should arise during the school day. Friends are great, but sometimeslack life experience, wisdom or the ability to truly listen empathetically.

Lisa Athan: Key Note Speaker 2009 Conference
New Jersey School Counselors Association @ Kean University

Lisa was the keynote speaker for the NJ School Counselors Association at Kean University on April 17, 2009.  Lisa spoke to about 100 school counselors from the elementary, middle and high school level.  Her program was all day and covered such topics as : when a parent has cancer, death of a loved one, abandonment, divorce , incarceration and other types of losses that affect youth today. Lisa also gave strategies, tools and techniques that are helpful in supporting grieving students. Lisa talked about the importance of empathic listening as well as allowing children, teens and adults to grieve in their own unique ways and in their own time. Children need opportunities  and creative ways to express their grief. 
Below: Lisa spoke to the residents at Sunrise Assisted Living on  "Handling Life's Losses and Transitions". The presentation lasted 90 minutes. The residents shared about the losses including : their homes, health, ability to get around, ability to live alone, driver's licenses, spouses, pets, routines, work, family and more. We then discussed the normal feelings of grief when dealing with such changes. After we talked about healthy ways to deal with change and what their support network was currently. Activities that helped were also talked about. A wonderful book was read to the group. Many shared about their past work and accomplishments as well as their current and past passions. They loved the program. It was a great honor and privilege for me.

Lisa presented at Sunrise Assisted Living
"Handling Life's Losses" for residents
Lisa with Alan Wolfelt in Cherry Hill
Lisa attended a program by Alan Wolfelt
Lisa facilitates staff programs for Valerie Center
MMC Val Center
Monmouth Medical, St. Barnabas, Newark Beth Israel

 (Above Left) On September 28th, 2009, Lisa had the joy of meeting Dr. Alan Wolfelt, Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition, Fort Collins, Colorado.  Alan presented a program through NJ Hospice and Palliative Care Organization  www.njhospice.org   called Exploring the Art of "Companioning" the Mourner     


Valerie Centers 

(Above right) Lisa facilitates monthly staff support programs for the Valerie Centers in Monmouth, Newark and Livingston.  The Valerie Fund's mission is to provide support for the comprehensive health care of children with cancer and blood disorders.

  ( www.thevaleriefund.org)  

 Below Lisa spoke to 13 classes of freshmen and sophomores at James Caldwell High School. She spoke to them about coping with grief, loss and other difficult times in their lives. She gave them resources and information as well as reminded them that to every problem is a solution. There is always someone to talk to. 


Lisa speaking at James Caldwell High School
9th and 10th graders learned about coping with loss

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