Teens need help dealing with grief During the grief...


May 20, 2001

Teens need help dealing with grief

During the grief forum at Wilde Lake High School ("Teens discuss grief issues," May 7), I listened to the teens on the panel describe their difficulties in obtaining support from school personnel as they grieved the death of someone close to them. Many of the students on the panel perceived that the schools' resources were either inadequate or not well publicized, and expressed frustration.

As a grief counselor, I know how important this kind of support is to anyone who is experiencing the helplessness, sadness, anger and guilt, which can be so intense in grieving the loss of someone special. Janet Will, a member of the county schools crisis team and adult panelist, commented on the physical, emotional and spiritual impact of grief. A teen can hardly concentrate on school work while in the throes of grief.

Some questions which came to mind:

1. What is feasible for a school to provide when a death occurs, be it student, parent or sibling? In schools with willing, empathetic counselors and teachers, how can they best communicate their availability to the student body?

2. What are the resources in the community? A few were mentioned by the panel and the audience: Hospice of Howard County, youth ministers, Jeffreys Foundation, professionals, and particularly, parents. What else is out there?

3. Knowing that students wrestle with issues of grief long after schools can realistically provide support, how can connections be made between grieving teens and community resources?

4. As Alice Baij from hospice shared, "Grief is a normal process." For years hospice has used trained volunteers, in addition to professionals to provide grief support. Can we as a community explore how a greater number of citizens can receive grief training and provide that listening presence to those who are dearest to them at times of loss? Hopefully we can continue the dialogue.

Mary Kelly Perschy


The writer is author "Helping Teens Work Through Grief."

Quality-of-life issues in YMCA, Lowe's debate

Some towns may be screaming for a new YMCA facility like the one proposed by the Howard County YMCA Board ... and other communities may be lining up just for the sake of opposing anything new ... but being a resident of Autumn Oaks, an 8-year-old, 109- home neighborhood located in back of the Route 103 YMCA, I can assure you that there are legitimate reasons behind the opposition by our residents to this project.

First, I'd like to ask the YMCA Board how many of their members actually live within two miles of the YMCA facility? My guess would be few, other than Mr. Bobotek, the board lawyer who is actually aware of the current traffic problems that surrounding residents endure.

Next, I'd like to ask the board if they are concerned, even in a small way, about the current YMCA members like our family, who are among the "resident opposition"? Perhaps they are so confident about the appeal of this new, state-of-the-art facility that they don't mind losing the bulk of their current members who live in the immediate area as they plow through with this deal, ignoring the needs of their current members/customers! Perhaps they are unaware of the many excellent fitness gyms and outdoor pools within minutes of their location that cost the same or even less than the annual fees they will likely propose for the new YMCA?

Lastly, I'd like to ask each and every board member how they'd feel if, for the last few years, they've ever had to 1) Get off Route 100 an exit before their neighborhood and take two-lane back roads just to avoid 1/4 -mile back-ups on Route 100 to turn onto Long Gate Parkway? 2) Enter their own development using circuitous routes like Stone Crest Drive, to avoid excessive congestion (weekdays and weekends) at the Route 103 and Old Columbia Pike intersection? 3) Wait for at least five minutes to exit from the Long Gate Shopping Center onto Route 103 due to excessive traffic backed up on 103 at other lights?

These are just a few of the very real traffic problems that residents of Autumn Oaks and other adjacent neighborhoods have had to endure since Long Gate was built. And I'm not saying that we don't reap the benefits of this nearby shopping center; I for one rarely shop anywhere else and very much enjoy having a Safeway, a Target and a Kohls a mile from my house. What I'm saying is that the three lanes alluded to in the May 13 Sun article are sorely needed now; and if a Lowe's was built, we'd probably have to replace 103 with another limited access Route 100 type highway parallel to the existing Route 100, just to accommodate the additional volume of cars all this development would entice to the area.

Yes folks, we are all for development, and yes, even in our neighborhood, and yes, even for a new, state-of-the-art YMCA, but not at the expense of our quality of life, home values and our peace of mind.

L. Kendrick

Ellicott City

Don't put a Lowe's in a residential area

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