The initiative includes resources to help funeral service professionals engage families and communities in the powerful conversation about the important role funerals and memorialization play in the lives of youth.

Brookfield, WI – The Funeral Service Foundation’s newly launched Youth & Funerals initiative equips funeral service professionals with tools to navigate the deeply personal question, “Should my child attend the funeral?” Available resources include an e-book and video that funeral homes and organizations can embed on websites and share on social media platforms at no cost. A booklet customized with a firm or organization’s logo and business information is also available for purchase.

The tools, available online, help debunk the common myths that prevent youth from attending or participating in funerals; offer age-appropriate language and advice on discussing death and funerals with youth; and give suggestions for youth preparedness, empowerment and involvement in memorialization.

More than 50 funeral homes have leveraged the online resources and 10,000 customized booklets have been ordered since the initiative’s initial roll out to Foundation supporters in early February.

“The Foundation’s Youth & Funerals initiative places funeral service professionals at the forefront of this powerful conversation,” commented Hugh Strebeck, general manager and owner of Ott & Lee Funeral Home in Brandon, Mississippi. “In addition to featuring the e-book and video on our website, and sharing booklets with the families we serve, we’re taking the conversation to social media, and to civic groups, grief centers, schools, hospice organizations, churches and other community organizations who can benefit from this message.”

The initiative, made possible by the generosity and vision of Foundation donors, underscores the Foundation’s mission to support funeral service in building meaningful relationships with the families and communities it serves. The initiative also provides a natural link to strengthen and grow relationships with organizations outside of funeral service.

“We’re currently working with hospice organizations, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the National Alliance of Grieving Children, Coalition to Support Grieving Children, Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition and the medical community to get the word out on behalf of funeral service,” said Foundation Executive Director, Danelle O’Neill. “We are thrilled that professionals both within and outside of funeral service have embraced the tools and are helping the Foundation carry forward our vision of an improved end-of-life experience for loved ones and their families.”

A task force of funeral service professionals and grief and bereavement experts collaborated with the Foundation on the initiative. Carrie Bauer, Robert Biggins, Michael Haessly, Eleanor Haley, Jessica Koth, Kelly Manion, Annette March-Grier, Gail Marquardt, Sara Moss, Ocreative, Danelle O’Neill, Joseph Primo, Lacy Robinson, Kim Medici Shelquist and Litsa Williams provided insight and assistance.

In the coming months the Foundation plans to expand its Youth & Funerals initiative with webinars, workshops and additional tools.