“A strong child, a strong heart, a strong community.”

What programs do we offer?

Pediatric bereavement services are fundamental to ensuring the emotional and mental health of children and teens who have experienced a significant loss. The Community Hospice offers a variety of services for kids and teens.


Community Hospice offers one-on-one and family counseling to support children and teens in each of our facilities throughout the Capital Region. Counseling addresses grief issues and lets kids discover the tools they need to feel “back in sync.”

Wave Riders

The award winning Community Hospice Wave Riders Program helps children (grades K-8) who have experienced the death of someone significant in their lives, including a parent, grandparent, sibling or friend, learn to “ride the waves of grief” and work towards healing and growth.

Working in small groups facilitated by the professional bereavement staff of Community Hospice, children can recognize and express their feelings in a safe and caring environment, receive guidance and support as they adapt to changes in their lives and families, and build self-esteem by validating the normal feelings of grief.

Children feel less isolated as they meet peers their own age, who also are dealing with a loss, and through expressive art, music, games and discussion, they are able to work toward healing and growth.

Wave Riders for Preschoolers and for Teens

The Wave Riders Big Hurts/Little Tears Program is offered for children aged 3-5 and their parent/caregivers. Together they explore age-appropriate concepts about death that help preschool children feel safe and express their feelings during what is often a scary and confusing time. The Big Hurts/Little Tears Program includes puppetry, music, art, games and story time.

The Wave Riders Teen Grief Support Program offers teens (grades 9-12) an opportunity to meet peers who also have experienced loss and explore and share their feelings through a variety of art activities and discussions. Teen Grief Support Groups help teens validate their normal feelings of grief, build new coping skills, and restore hope.

Wave Riders and More -- Community Hospice School Outreach Programs

Community Hospice has partnered with over three dozen schools and agencies to present this program. Wave Riders Urban Schools makes Wave Riders services and Teen Grief Support Groups available to children in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools who may not be able to attend programs at Hospice facilities. The groups are held at the school, with a Community Hospice bereavement counselor and a member of the school’s social work staff.

Community Hospice also provides education for teachers, parents, and caregivers to help them understand the grieving process of children and adolescents and address the impact of grief on learning and behavior in the classroom. Consultations are provided for teachers and school staff about how to help grieving students.

Crisis Intervention

When schools are faced with the death of a student or staff member, the Community Hospice bereavement team is available to work with them to organize and implement their school crisis plan.

If the death is anticipated, the Community Hospice bereavement team provides in-service education to school staff regarding child and teen grief, how teachers and families can help prepare students, and how members of the school community can best support each other.

If the death is sudden, Community Hospice assists the school’s crisis response team with their immediate plan of action. They meet with staff to provide guidance and support in processing the crisis, and offer bereavement counseling when needed. They meet with affected students to support them and help them cope with the death, identify at-risk children and teens, and provide intervention or referrals to suitable professional providers when needed. They assist with plans to memorialize the person who died, and may lead a private memorial service for school staff members.

After the death, the Community Hospice bereavement team provides educational sessions about child and teen grief to families and staff, and offers individual or family bereavement counseling if indicated.

Community Hospice crisis intervention services also are provided to neighborhoods and communities where sudden traumatic death occurs.

Camp Erin

Camp Erin is a weekend overnight camp for all kids who have experienced the death of a loved one. Staffed by Community Hospice bereavement counselors, nurses, and trained community volunteers, it combines traditional, fun, high energy camp activities with grief education and support. Campers have the opportunity to remember their loved ones, develop coping skills and enjoy a positive camp experience. Camp Erin is free to all campers ages 6 through 17 who have experienced a loss in their lifetime, regardless of whether or not their loved one was a Hospice patient.

Camp Erin was named after Erin Metcalf, a remarkable young woman who died of liver cancer at the age of 17, to acknowledge her love of children and desire to help others. Jamie and Karen Moyer of The Moyer Foundation started this grief camp for children as a tribute to Erin. There are now more than 35 Camp Erins throughout the United States.

The Community Hospice’s Camp Erin is held at the beautiful facilities of the Fowler Camp and Retreat Center on Sacandaga Lake in Speculator, New York, and is now in its fourth year. Camp takes place during a weekend in September each year, and 55 campers participate annually. Last year, the Community Hospice’s Camp Erin was recognized for its excellence by NBC’s top-rated morning program The Today Show, which selected our camp to feature in an in-depth segment.

Go to communityhospice.org for more information about these vital programs, or call Audrey Nadler-Kirchofer at (518) 694-4980.