Ways to Participate in Children's Grief Awareness Day

See all the ways that you can take part in observing Children’s Grief Awareness Day—all year round!

Our virtual event returns

Virtual Children's Grief Awareness Day

On Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, the Highmark Caring Place hosted the 2023 VIRTUAL Children's Grief Awareness Day.

An outline of the day's presentations and activities is shown below.

The videos are available on a playlist for viewing any time. You can also go to the Highmark Caring Place’s YouTube channel for these and dozens of further videos focused on children and grief (youtube.com/HighmarkCaringPlace).

2023 Presentations

  • Cameron Heyward (Pittsburgh Steelers) — Presentation and conversation with grieving children who attend the Highmark Caring Place (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • AEW Wrestling — Interview with Brodie Lee Jr., 11-year-old son of AEW Wrestling Legend Brodie Lee (1979–2020), on Finding Hope in Grief (Tampa Bay, Florida)
  • The Invisible String — Book Introduction & Reading by New York Times Best-Selling Author Patrice Karst (Ventura, California)
    • The Invisible String Activity presented by the Highmark Caring Place
  • Here for You Cards of Support — Illustration Tutorial by Artist & Illustrator Luke Flowers (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
    • Create Your Own Card of Support Activity presented by the Highmark Caring Place
  • Preview of the Ontario Hockey League's Erie Otters vs. Saginaw Spirit Special Children's Grief Awareness Day Promotional Hockey Game (Friday, November 17)
  • Interview with Brett McCutcheon about The Ocean — Five Years, Brett's musical tribute written in loving memory of his brother Ryan (Wexford, Pennsylvania)
    • Featuring the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and vocals by June Bracken and The Voice Finalist Chris Jamison
  • Pause Naturally: Finding Eco-friendly Rituals to Help Us Take Time for Our Grief — Presentation by Kiri Meyer, Bereavement Programs Manager, Eluna (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
  • Flipping Your Grief Support Scripts presented by National Alliance for Children's Grief (NACG)
  • Supporting Kidds — A Grief Activity for Kids and Families (Hockessin, Delaware)
  • Mandala Weaving/Happy Drum Activity presented by The Hummingbird Program, Penn State Health Children's Hospital (Hershey, Pennsylvania)
  • Moment of Silence in Memory of those who have died, and in Honor of children grieving those losses
  • Pause to Listen: Beats That Take You Back — Reveal of the 2023 Spotify Grief Tracks Playlist
    • Songs submitted via our social media channels that help us feel supported and/or remind us of our loved ones
  • Illuminating Hope — Create a memorial butterfly to add to the 2023 virtual mosaic mural at hope.highmarkcaringplace.com.

2022 Presentations


Preschool Block

Elementary Block

Middle/High School Block

Story Reading and Activity by "What's Your Grief?" (Eleanor Haley–Baltimore, Md.)

Community Block

"We Laugh, Because… Grief" — Grief Talks Webinar (Highmark Caring Place, Pa.)

Grief Cooks by Family Hospice, Part of UPMC (Elizabeth Schandelmeier & Laura Rausch, Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Preview of Ontario Hockey League's Erie Otters vs. Saginaw Spirit special Children's Grief Awareness Day Hockey Game (original game postponed because of weather; rescheduled Erie Otters vs. Windsor Spitfires game played on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022)

Special Guest Speaker: Amanda Huber from AEW Wrestling (Tampa Bay, Fla.)

Family Block

Presentation on Where to Find Grief Support (National Alliance for Children's Grief, Lubbock, Texas)

Children's Grief Awareness Day Closing — Terese LaVallee

  • 2022 Illuminating Hope Mosaic Mural reveal
  • Moment of Remembrance
  • Special Thank You for Supporting Children's Grief Awareness Day

See recordings of the presentations and activities from the 2021 virtual event.

See recordings of the presentations and activities from the 2020 virtual event.

Illuminating HOPE

After a loved one dies, there is a sense in which life feels darker, as if some light and color are drained from the world.

The Highmark Caring Place invites you to help shine a light of hope in this darkness through our Virtual Illuminating HOPE campaign.

Illuminating HOPE is a one of a kind gathering of virtual butterflies, each one a message of love and honor and support. People from across the world create and contribute virtual butterflies:

  • In MEMORY of loved ones who have died
  • In HONOR of a child or adult who is grieving
  • In SUPPORT of grieving children, adults, and families everywhere

The butterflies are added to a special Butterfly Garden on the Illuminating HOPE website. These messages of transformation and hope show children that they are not alone — that they are cared about and supported in their grief.

Seen as a whole, this garden is beacon of hope to all who are grieving the death of a loved one.

Go to HOPE.HighmarkCaringPlace.com to participate in our virtual Illuminating HOPE.

Holding On To HOPE

Holding On To HOPE

When someone we love dies, it hurts, sometimes more than we ever thought it could hurt. Although it can seem as if the intense pain will never go away, it can ease over time. Grief lasts a lifetime—we will miss them forever—but there is HOPE.

In those times that it hurts the most, we can hold on to the hope that "it won't always hurt so bad."

We invite you to join us in Holding On To HOPE.

Will you Hold On To HOPE?

Show grieving children "I care and I am here."

How to Participate

Create a Holding On To HOPE tribute placard to show your support:

Holding On To HOPE
  • Download the "Holding On To HOPE" image below and print it out
  • On the placard, let people know WHO or HOW:
    • WHO you're Holding On To HOPE for
    • Or HOW you're Holding On To HOPE
  • Then share a photo on social media using #childgriefday

WHO you're Holding On To HOPE for:

  • Is there a grieving child that you are keeping in mind? You might add their name or initials to your sign.
  • Are you a grieving child (or adult) yourself? You could Hold On To HOPE in memory of someone you love. Who is that person, and what memories do you want to share about them?
  • Do you know a group or an organization that works to support grieving children? You can Hold On To HOPE in support of this group. Who is the organization, and what do they do to make you proud of their work?
  • Or you may simply want to Hold On To HOPE in support of all grieving children and send out HOPE from yourself, your family or your group.

HOW you’re Holding On To HOPE:

In what way or ways will you help grieving children find hope? You can:

Holding On To HOPE
  • Educate yourself about the needs of grieving children
  • Volunteer your time with an organization that works to support grieving children
  • Raise awareness of what these children experience, and of their need for support

Download the "Holding On To HOPE" PDF and print it for yourself.

HOPE the Butterfly was created to spread this message of hope to grieving children across the world. No one can just take away a child's grief. No one can bring back the person who has died. But we can show grieving children that they're not alone. We can show them we care. We can show them we're there for them.

Grieving children can hold on to our support, our care. Grieving children can hold on to hope.

Other Activities

Many other activities, large and small, can raise awareness of grieving children. Look through the activities described here, or come up with some of your own, and do what you can to spread the word to those around you of the impact of death on children and of the importance of support in helping them to find HOPE in the midst of their grief.

Important Considerations as You Become Involved in Children's Grief Awareness Day Activities

As an important person in the life of children, there are a few things that are important for you to be aware of as you become involved in Children's Grief Awareness Day:

  • The purpose of Children's Grief Awareness Day is to call attention to the issue of children's grief, not to any particular child or children who have suffered a loss. Some children will want their grief recognized while others will prefer to keep it private. Always be certain to check with any child before calling attention to his or her circumstances.
  • The activities of Children's Grief Awareness Day can cause a possible "trigger" reaction in those who have had someone close to them die, regardless of how much time has passed since the death. Be alert for signs of grief reactions and be prepared to provide support as needed.
  • If you are in a school setting, all personnel should be aware of any Children's Grief Awareness Day activities whether or not they are directly involved. Parents and guardians should be made aware of any planned activities as well. All messages used in conjunction with any activity should be appropriate to the developmental age of the children involved.

The most basic way to participate in Children’s Grief Awareness Day is to have as many people as possible—children and adults—wear blue. Publicity about the reason for wearing blue—to show awareness of grieving children—allows the entire community to know what Children's Grief Awareness Day is about.

Activities for families

The descriptions of the following activities are oriented mostly toward groups or organizations, but many of them can also be easily adapted for families or individuals. As you read through the list of options, see what would work best for you and your family!

Publicizing your activities

If you're planning an event for Children's Grief Awareness Day, let people in your area know what will be coming up by publishing announcements in media including bulletin boards and newsletters, Facebook pages and websites. Look here for ideas on how to word these announcements in the weeks and days leading up to your event.


Please take some time to look at the many activities that have been shared with us from partner organizations over the years. If you have additional ideas for activities, please share them with us. We will highlight as many as possible.

Ways to participate any time
Educate yourself

Grief education
Educate yourself about the grief of children and teens. Read about children and teens and grief. Become familiar with current knowledge about grief in general and grieving teens/children specifically.

Holding On To HOPE Pledge

Holding On To HOPE Pledge
Take the Holding On To HOPE pledge and show grieving children "I care and I am here." Take a picture of yourself with our Holding On To HOPE placard and post it social media with #childgriefday.

Tour a grief center

Local grief support programs
Tour your local grief support center or call a grief support program to see if they welcome community members interested in learning about their program. Tour the site or talk to staff and share your knowledge with your community.

Spread the word

Social media
Spread the word through the media and social media.

Visit our Facebook page

Visit the Facebook page and "Like" it. Follow us on Twitter.

Pledge to tell others about CGAD

Spread the Word
Spread the word by telling three people about Children's Grief Awareness Day.

Ways to participate on Children's Grief Awareness Day
Wear blue!

Wear blue!

Change your profile pic to HOPE

Profile picture
Change your profile picture to HOPE the butterfly leading up to Children’s Grief Awareness Day and let people know its meaning.

Display CGAD materials

Information table and posters
During the month of November, display an information table or posters on Children's Grief Awareness Day. Find posters, fact sheets and other resources in the "Resources" section of the site.

Create a mural

Artistic displays
Create murals and bulletin board displays. You're limited only by your creativity!

Attend CGAD events

Local events
Research and attend Children’s Grief Awareness Day events in your area. Check with your local grief support program or hospice to learn about what they’re planning.

Ways to participate with your community or group
Organize an event

Blue out
Organize an event to get a large number of people to demonstrate their support of grieving children in a visual way. Organize a "Blue Out" where all business employees, all school students and faculty, or all members of the community wear blue and/or decorate areas in blue.

Decorate your office, room or other space

Blue decorations
Decorate your room/office/building or other area with as much blue as possible.

Project an image of HOPE on to a building

HOPE illumination
Work with a theater or lighting company to project an image of 'Hope' the butterfly on a local building.

Take an aerial photograph

Aerial photograph
Take an aerial photograph of students in the shape of a butterfly or all dressed in blue and post it to social media.

March in butterfly formation

Butterfly formation
Have your local marching band march into a butterfly formation while playing an uplifting song.

Create a memory wall

Memory wall
Create a memory wall. Tape art paper on a wall and allow people to contribute to the wall with washable markers. Or buy large canvases at a local art supply store and allow people to contribute with permanent markers or paint markers.

Release butterflies

Butterfly release
Organize a butterfly release. Provide one to each participant and release the butterflies during a memorial or ceremony.

Organize a fundraiser

Organize a fundraiser. Sell blue bracelets, bead necklaces, T-shirts and/or temporary tattoos.

Create a HOPE chain

HOPE chains
Create a HOPE chain using various shades of blue strips of paper. Participants can write the names of loved ones they would like to remember or messages of support to others.

Wear T-shirts with the names of loved ones

Signed T-shirts
Wear T-shirts with names of loved ones written on the back. Have others sign the shirts in a show of support.

Organize a grief art show

Art show
Organize a 'grief art' show so individuals can express their grief in a visual way. Display the art in a local mall or community building.

Produce a CGAD video

Work with children to produce a short video explaining what Children's Grief Awareness Day is about and host it on your YouTube channel.

Work with the government

Public officials
Work with a local or state government official to issue a resolution, citation or proclamation regarding Children’s Grief Awareness Day.

Attend CGAD events

Bake sale
Host a bake sale and sell blue items like butterfly cookies, candy, muffins, or slushies. Have people play 'Guess the Number' of blue pieces of candy or gum in a container.

Organize a flash mob

Flash mob
Choreograph a flash mob to bring attention to Children's Grief Awareness Day.

Ways to use crafts on Children's Grief Awareness Day
Paint your face

Face painting
Offer face painting for kids at your Children’s Grief Awareness Day event. The image of HOPE the butterfly is a good image for face painting.

Design a thumbprint tree

Thumbprint tree
Design a "thumbprint tree" and allow for messages to be written in the thumbprints.

Create butterfly masks

Butterfly masks
Create butterfly masks.

Create butterfly magnets

Butterfly magnets
Create butterfly magnets using foam, cardstock or cardboard. Decorate using markers, stickers and other craft supplies. Attach a magnetic strip to the back.

Create a CGAD banner

Create a Children's Grief Awareness Day banner. Have individuals sign the banner in support of grieving children.

Create memory ribbons

Memory ribbons
Create memory ribbons.

Spell out HOPE with butterflies.

HOPE display
Spell out HOPE with butterflies.

Create butterfly paintings

Butterfly paintings
Create butterfly paintings or T-shirt paintings.

Decorate a luminary

Decorate a luminary. Bags can be decorated using crayons, markers, stickers or decorative paper punches. Use battery-operated LED lights as a safe way to illuminate the bags.

Wear T-shirts

Decorated T-shirts
Wear T-shirts with the names of loved ones written on the back. Have others sign the shirts in a show of support.

Create a wall of HOPE

Wall of hope
Create a wall of HOPE. Provide paper butterflies, hearts or leaves on which people can write the names of loved ones or messages of support. Attach them to banners or posters or hang them on Children’s Grief Awareness Day "trees."