LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – For 31 years, Ele’s Place has helped more than 32,000 children and teens between the ages of 3 and 18 with on-site bereavement programming.

The nonprofit offers them a safe place to grieve among people who know what they’re going through, and understand how they feel.

Services are offered to families for at no cost.

Lansing Ele’s Place Director Kristine Kuhnert says grief is the great equalizer and everyone grieves differently, but it’s very important to help children grieve the loss of a loved one because they especially don’t know how to process their feelings.

“Unresolved childhood grief leads to depression, anxiety, truancy, and risk-taking behaviors. The current statistic in our area is one in 11 children will experience the death of a parent or sibling before the age of 18 – and that doesn’t include grandparents, and coach, a friend, that equates just that parent and sibling to around 20,000 children here in our community that need grief support,” Kuhnert said.

Ele’s Place provides the peer-to-peer support model where the children answer other children’s questions in a safe and protected space.

Oftentimes, grieving children don’t want to talk to a parent or guardian.

But they have questions and they don’t know how to answer them.