Youth Programs

Helping Children and Teenagers Deal with Grief


Good Grief Guidance provides grief support for children, teenage girls and boys in the Central Oregon area. We structure our support groups around a safe and caring environment that allows these participants to feel comfortable expressing  their grief with one another. This, in turn, fosters the healing process for grief.

“I just want to say that I absolutely loved Good Grief and that it helped me a lot. I was slightly hesitant going into it, but after the first class or two, I began to love it so much. I learned so much about myself and life." - Connor, 16

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A Proud Partner of the National Association for Therapeutic Schools and Programs


The National Association for Therapeutic Schools and Programs of Oregon have added Good Grief Guidance to their programs.

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Bridges Academy
in Bend, Oregon is a longtime affiliate of Good Grief Guidance and is also the original home of Good Grief. Director Joan McOmber recognized the enormous grief of high-risk teens
, and has been an active advocate for Good Grief in therapeutic schools.

Founded in 1997, Bridges Academy is a licensed, accredited therapeutic boarding school that is dedicated to reuniting at-risk teenage boys with their families by empowering them through self-discovery and education and helping them overcome personal and family challenges. This sometimes difficult progression of self-discovery leads to uncovering their true potential, so they may again become insightful, positive and contributing members of their families and communities.

At Bridges Academy, students and their families benefit from a year-round, extensive personal development program and academic curriculum designed for teenage boys ages 13-18, who are struggling with emotional, behavioral and/or academic issues. Our highly structured, intimate environment provides for concentrated, individualized attention in working with each student and their family as a whole. Here at Bridges Academy, Darlene facilitates the Grief and Loss program which she created and founded, and in which most of our students participate. Currently, Darlene is expanding this program and offering it to other schools and facilities as Good Grief Guidance – “thriving in the face of suffering”.


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New Leaf Academy
, a private boarding school 
for adolescent girls, has become the first NATSAP school to pilot the program to licensure. Under the pro-active direction of Associate Director Deveney Marshall, New Leaf now has two guides-in-training: therapists Candice Bond and Lynnea Paulson. New Leaf Academy leads the way and provides the model for other NATSAP schools.

Located in Bend, Oregon, New Leaf Academy is a private boarding school for adolescent girls and a member of NATSAP. Under the guidance of Associate Director Deveney Marshall, the team at New Leaf is excited to add Good Grief to their permanent curriculum. The first class will be taught by Darlene Gertsch, founder of Good Grief Guidance. She is also training New Leaf’s Director of Programs Candice Bond and staff therapist Lynnea Paulson, to become Certified Good Grief Guides. Once their training is completed, Candice and Lynnea will provide the Good Grief program ongoing to the adolescent girls at New Leaf.

"...I absolutely loved Good Grief..."

“I just want to say that I absolutely loved Good Grief and that it helped me a lot. I was slightly hesitant going into it, but after the first class or two, I began to love it so much. I learned so much about myself and life. All the activities were fun and it was really a great experience to have a close bond like that with the other boys and with Darlene. I’m still so happy that I went ahead with it and appreciative of Darlene for teaching it.”  - Conner, 16

"I recommend it to people who have had truly deep pain in their life"

“I appreciated being able to identify with others and getting to focus on things that I care about. I was able to locate my thinking errors, and now I know where I went wrong in the past. Through participating in Good Grief, I have a better sense of who I am and what my purpose in life is. I recommend it to people who have had truly deep pain in their life, because Good Grief and Personal Mythology really help with that.”  - Drew, 16

"I highly recommend Good Grief because of the insight it gives into your life and your past"

“This course helped me address some core issues and form a new myth that has positive repercussions. It also allowed me to address some beliefs that I had about my relationship with my father. I’ve gained a lot of perspective regarding the grief process and the mono-myth, and I highly recommend Good Grief because of the insight it gives into your life and your past.”  - Cody, 17

"I recommend Good Grief to people who are ready to address their issues head-on"

“I have personally gained an understanding of teamwork and the love and support human beings can give to one another. I personally understand the value in the ability to share your feelings with a group…….The meditation helped me relax in times of great stress, and I have noticed myself treating women with more respect – one of my core issues and beliefs that were untrue. Darlene perfectly incorporated the intensity of looking at yourself as a person and having fun. I recommend Good Grief to people who are ready to address their issues head-on.” - Grant, 17

Have Questions About this Program?

Drop us a line on our contact form and we'll have a member of our team get back to you as soon as possible.