News from Dougy Center, April 2024

Upcoming Events

27th Annual Porsche Boxster Raffle

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Reflection Benefit & Auction

May 10, 2024

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Dougy Center Grief Education Webinars:

Becoming Grief Informed: Foundations of Grief Education

April 4, 2024

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Inclusivity, Intersectionality, and Grief

May 2, 2024

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Grief as an Addiction? The Dangers of Pathologizing Grief

June 13, 2024

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Celebrating 9 years and 1 million downloads!

Celebrate Dougy Center at the Reflection Benefit & Auction

Celebrate the hope, connection, and transformation found at Dougy Center through the 2024 Reflection Benefit & Auction. The online auction starts Monday, May 6, and the in-person event is Friday, May 11 at the Portland Art Museum.

This year's event co-chairs are Andrew & Tia Over and Tara & Edward Kinateder, and the Reflection Benefit is presented by KinderCare Learning Companies.

Bid on amazing auction packages, including original works of art made by Dougy Center participants. We look forward to sharing the inspiration found through Dougy Center’s work in providing hope and healing to children and families who are grieving.

The in-person event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a social hour, followed by dinner and the live auction. The event culminates as we draw the winning ticket for the 27th Annual Porsche Boxster Raffle.

Funds raised through Reflection ensure that Dougy Center's grief support programs and resources are provided at no cost to families.

Find out more about the Reflection Benefit & Auction here. Special thank you to our amazing sponsors for their generous support!

Porsche Boxster Raffle tickets are selling fast!

If you are in Oregon and want to support Dougy Center through the Porsche Boxster Raffle, don't delay! Tickets for your chance to win a brand new 2024 Porsche Boxster valued at $74,560 are selling fast. For just $100, you could have a 1 in 2,500 chance to win this amazing car. All proceeds will help fund peer grief support groups, resources, and community outreach programs for kids, teens, and families.

All ticket-holders will be entered to win one more $500 cash prize! The final $500 drawing is Thursday, April 11, 2024. The cash prize winner will also be included in the Porsche drawing. Purchase your tickets before noon on April 11th to be eligible. The ticket for the Porsche Boxster will be drawn on May 10, 2024.

Find complete rules and purchase your ticket here. Thank you to Porsche Beaverton for their ongoing support of the Porsche Boxster Raffle.

Supporting children and teens when someone dies of substance use

When someone dies from substance use, explaining it to children and teens can feel overwhelming and intimidating. This is especially true when our impulse is to try to protect them from the stigma and shame that can surround this type of death. Here are some tips for talking with children and teens about a death from substance use and ways to support them in their grief.

Tell the truth

How do I tell my child or teen? It’s a question we hear a lot. Start with a short, simple explanation of what happened, in language children can understand, and let their questions guide what else to share. Avoid euphemisms such as passed away, crossed over, or lost, as they are confusing, especially to young children. 

Being honest and open minimizes confusion and keeps children and teens from using their energy and resources to try and figure out what happened. News travels fast, and it is important for children to hear about the death from a caring adult rather than through social media or gossip. 

Remember that words matter

There are some words and ways of talking that can add to the shame and stigma surrounding a death from substance use. Although they are common, consider avoiding words like addict, abuse/abuser, overdose death, and clean. Instead, try saying, he struggled with substance use, her body became dependent on medication, or they had a disease that made them use more (alcohol, medicine, or drugs) than was safe for their body. Using this language decreases stigma and judgment and enables us to talk about death from substance use the way we would any other mode of death. It also emphasizes the worth of the person who died rather than labeling them based on how they died.

The question why

Why? is a common question when someone dies from substance use. While children and teens might understand the physical reasons someone dies, they may have a lot of questions about substance use, the difference between substances, or why the person who died wasn’t able to stop drinking or using drugs. If children and teens didn’t know about their person’s substance use, they may need more information about how using substances affects people. You can support children and teens by explaining there are many factors that can lead someone to die from substance use. You can reassure them the death was not their fault and there was nothing they could have done or said to make the person stop using substances. You can also offer support by listening, encouraging them to come to you with questions and concerns, and helping them find ways to express their thoughts and emotions. 

Listen compassionately

When children and teens are grieving, people can be quick to offer advice and give opinions. What’s most helpful is to listen without judging, interpreting, advising, or evaluating. It can be tempting to minimize their feelings, or convince them to think or feel differently than they do. If it’s a case of misinformation, it’s helpful to provide the correct details, but still allow them to express their take on things. Sometimes the best response is to validate their thoughts and feelings.

Remembering the person who died 

Remember and talk about how the person lived rather than just about how they died. Their life was unique and important. After someone dies from substance use, people often avoid talking about them because they don’t know what to say. Children and teens might worry that people will say hurtful things about the person who died and others struggling with substance use. You can help by sharing pictures, stories, and details about the person’s life. Sometimes just remembering to say the person’s name can be very meaningful. 

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Grief is unique to each person and every family. Please adapt these suggestions as needed. 

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