NAGC Founders Award presented to Diane GoldsmithSAN ANTONIO, TX, June 29, 2018 –  At the 22nd Annual National Symposium on Children’s Grief, the National Alliance for Grieving Children announced recipients for two national awards presented annually.

The NAGC Founder’s Award was presented to Diane Goldsmith, New Hope for Kids, Florida. The Founder’s Award is given annually to one individual who has made a significant contribution to the field of children’s grief support as a volunteer. Diane has been an exceptional volunteer at New Hope for Kids since 1999, one year after her 16 year old daughter Rebecca was killed by a drunk driver. In the midst of her own grief, Diane witnessed the grief experienced by her daughter’s friends as they would come to Rebecca’s room and cry. She recognized that they too needed support in their grief. When asked on the volunteer application why she would like to work with bereaved children, Diane wrote: “I understand the healing process and respect each individual’s right to grieve in their own way. I know the need to have someone listen and am anxious to help others in their grief.” Even now, after 18 years of volunteering, Diane’s selfless compassion has not wavered.

The NAGC Excellence in Service Award was presented to Dr. Jenny Kaplan Schreiber , Jeff’s Place, MassachusettsNAGC Excellence in Service Award presented to Dr. Jenny Kaplan Schreiber.  The Excellence in Service Award is given annually to one professional working in the field of childhood bereavement who has made a significant contribution to the field as a whole. Her contribution to the field of bereavement has helped shaped the way bereaved children receive support.  Following the death of her older brother, Dr. Kaplan has contributed over 20 years of service to the field. Leading by example, her many roles have included founder of two bereavement centers, researcher, author and community builder.

Her doctorate dissertation developed the “Inventory of Youth Adaptation to Loss”, a scale that measures the social and emotional support and response to grief in bereaved children. Dr. Schreiber ‘s goal is to be able to distribute this outcome measurement tool (at no cost) for other bereavement centers to utilize.

The National Alliance for Grieving Children salutes these two outstanding women for their selfless dedication to ensure that no child grieves alone.

2016 was easily the worst year of my life. It began with the unexpected end to a relationship that left me feeling like my life was over. But as the year went on, with the help of my incredible friends and family (especially my mom), I healed.

As part of the healing process, I signed up to run the NYC marathon. Although extremely daunting, it was so helpful to me to set a goal and have something to dedicate myself to throughout the spring, summer and early fall.

Ten days before the race, a package from my mom arrived containing a Tiffany key chain with the race logo, the date of the marathon and my initials engraved on it. As I opened it, tears streamed down my face because the gift was such a perfect symbol of my upcoming accomplishment, and I felt so lucky to have such a supportive family. But then four days later, I received the worst kind of phone call that is anyone’s worst nightmare – my brother from the ICU sobbing uncontrollably telling me to get on the next plane home to Cleveland, where I grew up.

My mom was unexpectedly in critical condition and it was unclear if she would remain stable. Within seconds, my co-workers booked my flight and took me in a cab to the airport. I blacked this entire experience out and remember very little of it because all I could think about was that my mom had to be okay – there was no other option.

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