Kate’s Club: A Safe Space
In January 2023, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation provided $5 million in grants to 15 different nonprofit organizations that focus on mental health and well-being. The portfolio of organizations included Kate’s Club, which received a $250,000 grant. The mission of Kate’s Club is to empower children and teens, their families and young adults facing life after the death of a parent, sibling, caregiver or someone important to them.
Founded in 2003 by Kate Atwood, Kate’s Club started with six children coming together after similar experiences with grief. Inspired by her own struggles after losing her mother at the age of 12 to breast cancer, Ms. Atwood eventually found spiritual healing and comfort amongst others who had experienced comparable losses, especially at a young age.
Kate’s Club accomplishes its mission by providing a variety of impactful and fun member services and support options to children across Georgia, including mentoring, group outings, retreats, camps, family nights, holiday support and virtual programs. All services and programs focus on social connections, improving healthy coping strategies, building confidence and self-esteem and creating a safe space for children who are grieving.
“Kate’s Club develops a sense of community and belonging because we’ve seen how difficult it can be to work through grief alone,” said Lisa Aman, executive director, Kate’s Club. “And we believe it’s possible to grieve and have fun. This eases tension with participants and often feels like less of a forced process for both them and us.”
Partnerships with other organizations focused on mental health and well-being are also important to the success of Kate’s Club. They work with partners to provide the services and programs grieving children, their families and young adults need. Often when a family member dies, there are secondary losses, such as loss of income or housing and food insecurity, along with increased risks for depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicide ideation. Kate’s Club works with several other nonprofit organizations to make sure families and young adults have all the resources they need throughout their grief journeys.
More than 6,000 children and families have been impacted by the therapeutic programming offered by Kate’s Club since 2003, and there are more than 400 active volunteers across Georgia helping to make it all happen.
The vision of the entire Kate’s Club organization is the existence of a world in which it’s okay to grieve. Children, their families and young adults who are grieving the death of someone close to them need to feel connected. Kate’s Club creates that connection for so many who are feeling lost and broken.