What Funeral Directors, Psychologists, Parents, and Kids Say About The STAR Class

A Special Time to Always Remember ™ is one of the most marvelous, compassionate approaches I have ever experienced in helping children cope through their loss. This groundbreaking creation cannot be recommended too highly.

Rabbi Earl A. Grollman, D.H.L., D.D.

Author of Bereaved Children and Teens

Karen Nilsen has developed a valuable resource for teaching children about the most basic events surrounding the funeral of a loved one. By meeting with the children in a bereaved family prior to reviewal/funeral/burial, much can be done to reduce the sense of mystery and threat children often feel, and prepare the way for positive acceptance.

Crafts, exercises and scripts are included in the program so that the leader can elicit from the children the level of understanding they may already possess, and then gently instruct and encourage.

Overall the program provides basic information presented in an objective manner, gives permission for feelings (even negative feelings) and helps the child understand the emotions of others, and facilitates the process of remembering the deceased.

It should be of value to anyone who regularly has opportunity to interact with children at the time of a death. Gordon A. Braatz, Ph.D.

Pastor and Clinical Psychologist

It was great! The kids enjoyed making the STARs, and understanding what Grandpa would look like and that they could touch him.

Mother of Ben (9), and Evan (6)

Matt, Jared, and Ashley really liked the coloring project and the story about Grandpa Amos. They told us all about it. I think this is a great way to help children understand death.  Mother of Matt (12), Jared (9), and Ashley (7)

I wish there could have been a class like this when I was younger and attended my grandparents’ and uncle’s funerals. Our kids said, ‘It was cool! It helped us. It was fun.’ Thank you for caring.  Father of Matt (12), Jared (9), and Ashley (7)

Thank you for offering this. They had so many questions. And it was a difficult time for all of us. This class helped so much.  Mother of Brad (10) and Briane (7)

Our children have had many discussions about life on earth – life in heaven. Also discussions about Grandpa’s illness. Your class offered a place and time to discuss the events of the upcoming days. We ourselves did not feel prepared to always field the questions they may have had. I’m glad they had another expert source in which to ask questions and express concerns. Thank you!  Mother of Sarah (10), and Erik (7)

The STAR Class was very helpful for our children. Especially the cremation and burial information. We really didn’t know what to say to them. We have been able to talk about it as a family now that they understand the facts. Thank you Karen!  Mother of Megan (10), and Katie (7)

Dear Karen, we just finished our 3rd STAR class and it went great! I just saw a 3 1/2 year old boy give Marlene (our STAR Teacher) a big hug! Every class is going to be a learning experience and in time will likely get better. You have done such a great job developing the STAR program! All of funeral service should thank you. Brian Strike

Funeral Director, Strike Funeral Homes

I want to thank you for your time and all your input into this class. It was wonderful how you combine the personal traditions with the basic structure of the process. Also, your blending of what a child already understands with this new experience which, may be scary or at least unknown. I believe the girls felt you not only taught them something new but did it in a caring manner. That’s why I’m sure my youngest took your hand after the class and let you pick her up to see her great-grandfather. My parents were very good about explaining funerals, but it was always such a busy time filled with extreme emotions. The kids were kind of left behind to put the pieces all together for themselves. Once again thank you. I hope you continue this program.  Mother of Chris (8), and Jenny (3)

What a wonderful thing you have going with this class. It’s something that is needed. We so often focus on the front end of life (baby classes and classes for older siblings) but we don’t educate on the end of life. Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into this. I personally was very touched (as were others) to see the children place their STARs in with Grandpa. What a special final tribute to a man who was a great role model for us all.  Mother of Rachel (10), Katherine (14), and Jonathan (4)

What a wonderful thing you are doing! This type of class for kids is so needed. We just didn’t know what to say. We weren’t even sure if we would have the children attend the funeral. We are so glad we did. God bless you.  Mother of Brandon (3), and Sarah (8)

It was wonderful, and we can’t thank you enough! It prepared them and they weren’t alone when first up there viewing and touching – but not in front of strangers. It helped them both tremendously.  Mother of Tyler (9), and Tara (7)

Thank you – this was so wonderful. Just look at them. They were so curious and relaxed around Roy (deceased). It pleases me to see them so at ease – they’re not afraid. 

Grandmother of Cory (8), Jill (6), and Cammy (3)

Even though I can’t to talk to my grandma on the phone anymore, I can talk to her in my heart any time.  Alexi (4)

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