Highmark Health 2016 Annual Report | Highlights: Charitable Foundations
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Highlights: Charitable Foundations

A place of hope for grieving families

Beth Beglinger and her two sons, Troy and Dominick, at the Highmark Caring Place

Beth Beglinger and her two sons, Troy and Dominick, found hope at the Highmark Caring Place.

Beth Beglinger has known about the Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families, since she toured the Pittsburgh facility not long after its dedication in 1997. Little did she think at the time that she and her family would one day be using its services.

But in 2014, Beth's husband died after a long illness. Her two sons, Troy, 16, and Dominick, 10, suddenly had no father, and they didn't know where to turn. "It was now the three of us," said Beth. "I knew my boys were sad, angry, scared, and confused, and they needed help sorting it all out."

Beth turned to the Caring Place for that help.

The Caring Place provides peer support services for children grieving the death of someone they love. As the children and teens meet with others their own age, the adults attend as well, so that the entire family receives support.

At the Caring Place, the children's peers in the groups, along with trained adult volunteers, create a safe place in which feelings, thoughts, and memories can be shared openly. As this grief is expressed, the children discover more and more how to manage it and how to integrate their loss into their lives.

One of Beth's biggest realizations came when she and her family walked in for their very first group meeting. As the volunteer at the door welcomed them and got their names, she passed out their name tags and said with a big smile, "The Beglinger family."

"As she handed me my name tag," Beth said, "I stopped because she confirmed what I had forgotten — and that was that we were still a family. Beth, Troy and Dominick Beglinger. Yes, we are still a family."

More discoveries were made over the meetings that followed as Beth and her boys reaffirmed the family that they still were and the new family that they were becoming.

"It has been more than two years," said Beth, "and I don't know where we would be without the Caring Place. I do know that my children would not be where they are today. The gifts we have received and the people that we’ve gotten to know at the Caring Place are far greater gifts than any I could have imagined.

"We still have bad days, but with the ongoing support we receive at the Caring Place, those days are overtaken by good days."

Highmark Caring Foundation, funded primarily by Highmark Inc., supports the Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families (www.highmarkcaringplace.com).