Learning Through Loss

Learning Through Loss designs and delivers grief and loss education and supportive programs to youth, and promotes awareness in the community about the importance of supporting young people through loss.

Learning Through LossOur Impact Why We Exist

“[the program] allows you to think and relate to different life situations and improve the way you deal with them” Grade 10 student, Claremont Secondary

“I could understand myself and others better” Grade 8 student, Royal Oak

“It made me feel OK about grieving in the future” Grade 9 student, Lambrick Park Secondary

It was calming. I know I’m not alone Grade 7 student, Journey Middle School

“Highlighting some of the results of overlooking or suppressing grief gave the girls reasons to address it and hope for positive change. Due to the exceptional delivery of this workshop we were able to access emotions with our students that had never before been disclosed, with a NEW language and deeper understanding of loss.” Counsellor, Artemis Place, Alternative Education for Girls

"Everything (in the training) was very relevant - I will be able to use almost every exercise within our grief camps and presentations, and I will share the knowledge with my Teen Grief Volunteer Team" Sharon, Coquitlam Hospice

Learning Through Loss reaches over 3000 youth each year with grief education and loss support groups, and we have partnered with over 18 other youth organizations reaching hundreds of youth-serving professionals with training and education on supporting youth through difficult times.


We envision a community where all youth have access to education, support, and resources relating to grief and loss.


  • Hope – providing hope to youth, their families, and community members who are experiencing grief and loss.
  • Healing education – providing professional resources to youth, their families, and community members to live, learn, and heal through their losses.
  • Community – working collaboratively with our community partners to support youth experiencing grief and loss.
  • Ethical – Serving youth, their families, and community members with integrity, professionalism, accountability and excellence.

Learning Through Loss canoeingOur Story What We Do

The late Sandra Elder, PhD, was a respected academic researcher in the field of grief and loss and a Hospice practitioner. She recognized the need for accessible and supportive programs for youth experiencing loss and in 1988 developed a support group program for young people, thus creating Learning Through Loss. In 1994 the Friends of Living and Learning Through Loss Society was formed to raise funds to support the group programs.

In 2010, Learning Through Loss realized a significant need for a life-skills approach to understanding grief and created educational workshops to deliver to young people in schools and community organizations. These workshops enhance awareness and knowledge about grief, teach healthy tools to cope with loss, and connect youth with resources.

Since 2010, Learning Through Loss programs continue to expand in reach. Community education and training workshops are now offered to professionals and individuals supporting youth who want to enhance their understanding and approaches to supporting youth through grief and loss.

Our partnership with Learning Through Loss Society has provided a much needed knowledgeable resource and educational support for many of our students including those most in need. As well, the developmental work that the LTL society has done with our Grade Eight students and with educators within our district has enriched our learning community bringing a deeper level of understanding regarding how to optimally support those among us through loss. The LTL society brings a specialized body of knowledge and experience to our community which increases and deepens the support that we can offer our students and families in our school and district.

Doug Mollard, PhD, Counsellor, Royal Oak Middle School, President of the Saanich Counsellor's Local Specialist Association

Good Grief Classroom EducationOur Programs How We Do It

Learning Loss Group Program

Eight-week program in which the clinical counsellor uses proven curriculum to create an open, supportive environment that promotes individual sharing, connection and strategies for healing. The program’s success is built on understanding the strength of youth peer support, belonging, and learning.

Good Grief Workshop

One-hour workshop in which the facilitator opens dialogue with youth in middle and high schools about loss, the process of grief that follows, and healthy coping strategies. The tone of the workshops is informational and maintains a lively, friendly pace.

Community Education Workshops

Educational workshops providing individuals who support youth a forum for better understanding youth grief and healthy coping and healing strategies. These workshops reflect our facilitators' ongoing professional development in the field of counselling and grief and loss, to provide the community with current knowledge and practices in providing grief support.

These include:

- Supporting Youth Workshop: full day in-depth training for counsellors and professionals

- Leading Through Loss: 4 week learning workshop for youth peer mentors and leaders to gain helping skills

- Community presentations: 2 hour educational introduction to LTL philosophy and practical skills/tools for helping youth through loss and change.

This program has been an essential service that we have referred many of our students and families to over the years. Whether students have experienced divorce, moving, death of a pet or loved one, the first referral our counsellors make is to the Living and Learning Through Loss Program. The fact that there is no fee associated with the services opens up the access for all of our students, especially our most vulnerable.

Tina Pierik, Student Advocate, SD # 63, Critical Incident Response Team Coordinator

Healing together - cirlce of handsWhat You Can Do

We invite you to make a difference to youth and our community by clicking the Donate Now link on the right hand side bar of this page. Let’s ensure our youth have the necessary emotional, intellectual and behavioural resources they need to navigate loss and grief. It is their right to have this learning opportunity. It is our obligation as a responsible community to provide this and respond to this essential need.

We have six levels of suggested donations:

  1. $225 to sponsor one Good Grief Workshop (30 youth)
  2. $2,250 to sponsor ten Good Grief Workshops (300 youth)
  3. $350 to sponsor one youth for one Learning Loss Group Program
  4. $3,500 to sponsor ten youth for one Learning Loss Group Program
  5. $70,000 to sponsor the Learning Through Loss annual programs
  6. Any size of donation that fits your budget.

So, join with us and invest in youth now to invest in the future of a well-adjusted, healthy, and vibrant community.


Shauna Janz
Executive Director & Facilitator
Charitable Number: 890541196RR0001

Donate Now

Finance & Governance

Annual Operating Budget: 
$ 47,839