Kate’s Club Support Services
Nominated by Harper St. George
Kate Atwood was twelve years old when she lost her mother to cancer. At the time, the only other people she knew of whose mothers had died were Cinderella and Snow White. Unfortunately, those fairy tales weren’t the slightest help in trying to process a loss of that magnitude.
Kate was twenty years old and working at a bereavement camp when she was given an opportunity to talk about the loss of her mother for the first time since her passing. This was amazing to Kate—for not only finally giving voice to her grief but allowing her to do so by connecting with young kids who had suffered similar losses. Kate was so transformed by her powerful experience that she decided to build a grief-support community to empower children and teens dealing with the death of a parent or sibling.
Kate’s Club Support Services started very organically on a single night in 2003, with Kate bringing six children dealing with recent deaths to a bowling alley and pairing them with six young mentors, nicknamed “buddies,” capable of relating to the kids.
Thirteen years later, Kate’s Club is now thriving with over a hundred buddy volunteers and serving a thousand kids and their families. As a nonprofit organization in Atlanta, Georgia, Kate’s Club offers a safe environment and community to help heal grieving kids by providing them with opportunities to socially engage with peers who share their experience of loss while they also receive therapeutic guidance in processing their grief.
Drawing kids from all corners of Atlanta, Kate loves seeing them look past their differences to instead connect through the experiences they share. She knows without the programs and activities offered at Kate’s Club, which help them positively channel their emotions, these kids would be more prone to making life decisions based on violence and anger. And though it’s difficult to accurately measure the results of their efforts, it’s easy to spot someone whose emotional well-being changes for the better as a result of the support services they receive at Kate’s Club.
Now that an entire generation of kids has been helped through the support services of Kate’s Club, Kate herself believes that the positive results of their work might even change accepted notions of mental health and grief support. It’s hard to imagine that, once upon a time, Snow White and Cinderella were as good as it got.