Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) today announces a collaboration to help children cope with grief and violence, as part of the Healthier Together Initiative. Working with CHOP’s Center for Violence Prevention (CVP), the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania (the Netter Center), and the community-based provider Uplift Center for Grieving Children (Uplift), the collaboration will provide resources in an after-school setting for children experiencing grief and loss and will also train adults with the necessary skills to provide trauma-informed emotional support.
“Children in West and Southwest Philadelphia experience traumatic events far too frequently” said Alonzo South, Senior Director of Community Engagement at CHOP. “We know chronic exposure to violence and other trauma can lead to learning challenges and physical and behavioral health issues. As a result, it is critical that we help these children build resilience and buffer them against the traumatic exposure to community violence, as well as grief and loss from the pandemic.”
The collaboration complements the existing partnership between CHOP and Uplift through Healthier Together’s Growing Resilience in Teens program, which receives funding support from TD Bank. In this new program, Uplift is working with two of the Netter Center’s University-Assisted Community Schools (UACS), which provide comprehensive school day and after-school programming for K-12 students in West Philadelphia. At these schools, masters-level grief clinicians from Uplift deliver programming to support students in grades K-8 who are grieving significant deaths or navigating other ambiguous losses, such as isolation from school and community during the pandemic or incarceration of a loved one. Uplift also hosts monthly family empowerment workshops centered on building resilience and understanding grief, trauma, and social-emotional health. Since launching in January 2021, Uplift has served more than 50 UACS students and caregivers through peer-support groups and workshops.
The Netter Center’s UACS team includes full-time school-based site directors, community members, parents, Penn’s undergraduate and graduate students, and school administration, counselors and teachers. To help the team manage their own secondary trauma and to help strengthen their knowledge on working with children who have experienced trauma, CHOP’s CVP provides Trauma-Informed Care Support (TICS) workshops and coaching and Stress Less Initiative (SLI) training.
“The Stress Less Initiative trainings provided by CHOP allow time for bonding among team members, which is so important for building a team that can best address the needs of these children,” says Latifah Anderson, the Netter Center’s UACS Site Director of Hamilton and Mitchell Elementary Schools.
The partners expect to build upon their successful pilot and expand to include more schools through the Netter Center’s UACS network, contributing to the overall goal of Healthier Together, and our partners, to foster healthy environments and opportunities for the children of West and Southwest Philadelphia.
About Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals, and pioneering major research initiatives, Children’s Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 595-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents.
About the Netter Center for Community Partnerships: Founded in 1992, the Netter Center develops and helps implement democratic, mutually transformative, place-based partnerships between Penn and West Philadelphia that advance research, teaching, learning, practice, and service and improve the quality of life on campus and in the community. It brings together the resources and assets of both the University and the wider community to help solve universal problems such as poverty, health inequities, environmental sustainability, and inadequate, unequal education as they are manifested in the University’s local geographic area of West Philadelphia and Philadelphia at large. The Netter Center works with and serves as a model for other higher education institutions across the United States and around the world to work collaboratively with their local communities.