Our vision contains two more guiding principles. First, community is the focus of all we do. The isolation of grief is overcome through connections with others, so we create a nurturing community of facilitators, volunteers, partners, peers & caring adults to surround each child & family who is grieving. And it is in our community – and eventually the community at large – where we hope that everyone is embraced. We are, by & large, a death-avoidant & grief-avoidant culture. We often feel pressure to suppress our emotions, put on a “game face,” & “move on” quickly. But a community that embraces the bereaved will acknowledge the painful losses of life, ensure that time & space to grieve is accessible to all, & see to it that no child, teen or family has to grieve alone.
We envision a community that embraces children & teens who are grieving
Because we love, we grieve. So, at Bridges of Hope, we recognize grief not as a problem to be solved, or as a process to be completed, but as a natural part of life to be acknowledged, explored and expressed. Grief expert, Dr. Alan Wolfelt, developed a “Mourner’s Bill of Rights,” so in that spirit we share these foundational principles of our approach to support.
We believe everyone has the right to grieve
We approach grief as a natural, life-long process
We believe all children & teens deserve a safe space to connect, learn, share & grow
We respect the unique nature & expression of each person’s grief
We affirm the inner strength & resilience of the human spirit
We focus on integrating the loss into life – moving forward with the loss rather than “moving on” or “letting go.” We are grounded in Continuing Bonds Theory.
We emphasize peer connections
And we believe that every child deserves a safe space where they can connect with peers who “get it.” So we’ve created an evidence-based, kid-focused, multifaceted program called Stepping Stones. Stepping Stones empowers young people to connect, learn, share & grow through engaging activities including music, art, journaling, movement & mindfulness. Learn more…
We have a long history of community service in the Charleston area. We began in 1980 as Hospice of Charleston – South Carolina’s 2nd home hospice provider – and opened the Tri-County area’s first in-patient hospice facility. In 2008, facing dramatic shifts in the health care landscape, our board decided to sell the direct patient care operation to a national leader in hospice care, and shift our focus to advocate for end-of-life planning more broadly as Hospice of Charleston Foundation. Then in 2013, we rebranded as Bridges for End-of-Life to better reflect our distinction from hospice care providers. Most recently, in 2020, we narrowed our broad end-of-life advocacy mission to focus exclusively on providing grief support as Bridges of Hope. We are proud of our history and the creative ways we’ve evolved to meet community needs. With our resources & attention now focused on children, teens & families grieving a death, we look forward to our next chapter as we help build a grief-sensitive community.