Giving kids a safe place to heal
When Warrick Dunn's mother, Baton Rouge police officer Betty Smothers, was ambushed and killed in an off-duty assignment, 18-year-old Warrick's life changed in an instant. As the oldest of six, Dunn was left with the enormous challenge of keeping his family together while pursuing a college education and football career – but with the help of a therapist and child bereavement programs, Warrick realized a vision to try to help others.
A firm believer in the power of service as part of his own healing, Warrick decided to bring the same sense of hope to his hometown of Baton Rouge. Hope was born out of his desire to make sure that other young people living with loss get the support that they need, empowering them to heal and enhance the quality of their life.
Betty's Hope creates environments for support that are relevant, responsive and fun. The services and programming provided are based on the careful assessment of the needs of the Baton Rouge area – including the best practices of supportive counseling and the child/teen grief experience.
"One out of every 20 children in the U.S. will lose a parent before they graduate from high school."
Loss of caregivers and important role models in a child/teen's life has numerous effects and outcomes. These may include a decrease in academic performance, changes in socio-economic status, homelessness, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, and involvement in criminal activity. Betty's Hope offers a range of programming, recognizing that children and teens grieve differently than adults, and have a need for grief support that specifically addresses these needs.
Betty's Hope launched a mobile programming module that addresses critical issues of access and transportation for the Baton Rouge community. Mobile Hope is a unique, rolling grief support resource that will bring Betty's Hope mission and vision for grief support into neighborhoods and schools. It is available to schools and community centers on a scheduled basis, and according to the specific needs of our community sites and liaisons.
All of services provided by Betty's Hope are offered free-of-charge, as a community service, and include:
- Peer Group Based Grief Support
- Community Advocacy & Awareness
- Parent/Caregiver Support
- Education & Resources
- Community Support & Training