Programs for Young Adult Survivors Expand in 2019
Author: Lalaine Estella
Understanding the need to connect with those who know our pain lies at the heart of what TAPS does. TAPS programming is guided by the belief that hope and healing can be found when we travel the grief journey together. TAPS was founded 25 years ago with grief support for adults and children. Over the years, it became apparent that specialized programming was needed to bridge the gap between Good Grief Camp, which is for children up to 18 years old, and adult programming.
Young adult survivors challenge themselves to climb rock walls at a retreat in Austin, Texas.
TAPS Young Adult Program came about after more than three years of conducting research, said Renee Monczynski, who leads the program. TAPS staff surveyed young adult survivors, those ages 18 to about 25, and asked what they would like to see in a grief support program. TAPS leadership and staff then designed a program to meet their needs based on the results of that research. “What we found was that their questions and comments fell into five main pillars,” Renee said. The five pillars upon which the program is built are:
- Personal development
- Career guidance
- Financial stability
- Service to others
Renee Monczynski, the TAPS young adult coordinator, wants to set up young adult survivors for success in every aspect of life. Photo: Pablo Piedra
Renee, the surviving spouse Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Steven Monczynski and the single mother of a young adult daughter, said young adults may not have very different “grief issues” than children or adults, but in addition to their grief, they may also be navigating the often emotional transition from childhood to adulthood.
TAPS has developed an insightful, fun and comforting curriculum for 18 to 25 year olds. Transitioning into adulthood is difficult enough, but when you add grief to the scenario, it becomes more challenging. A yound adult activity may include a community service project, a high outdoor adventure or corporate day spent exploring career options. With practical life skills explored, the Young Adult Program strives to help each survivor create a well-rounded life full of hope, healing and growth.
As part of a community service project with Habitat for Humanity, young adult survivors refurbished a playground in Louisville, Kentucky.
“We want to set up our young adult survivors for success in every aspect of life—career, work-life balance and service,” Renee said. “Our program goal is to double the number of experiences we have for young adults this year.”
In addition to having programming for young adults at TAPS Regional and National Seminars, there will be more stand alone events just for young adults. Four events are scheduled this year: San Antonio, Texas, in June; Seattle in July; Atlanta in September; and Colorado Springs in December. Details for each event will be posted soon online in our Events Calendar. For more information on the Young Adult Program, call our Helpline at 800-959-8277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.