The late Sandra Elder, Ph.D., was a respected academic researcher in the field of grief and loss and a Hospice practitioner. She recognized the need for accessible and supportive programs for youth experiencing loss and in 1988 developed a group program for young people, thus creating Learning Through Loss. In 1994, the Friends of Living and Learning Through Loss Society was formed to raise funds to support the group programs.


Through our group programs, we have reached hundreds of young people over the past 25 years, providing life-changing support and healing. The program’s success is built on understanding the strength of youth peer support, belonging, and learning as guided by a qualified clinical counsellor.


In 2010, Learning Through Loss realized a significant need for a life-skills approach to understanding grief and created educational workshops to deliver to young people in schools and community organizations. These workshops enhance awareness and knowledge about grief, teach healthy tools to cope with loss, and connect youth with resources. We speak to more than 4000 young people a year.

Since 2010, Learning Through Loss programs continues to expand in reach. Community education and training workshops are now offered to professionals and individuals supporting youth who want to expand their understanding and approaches to supporting youth through grief and loss.

Grief, when it comes, is nothing like we expect it to be.

Joan Didion

Our Mission

Learning Through Loss (LTL) designs and delivers grief education and loss support programs to youth, and provides training to other youth-serving community to increase capacity and well being through difficult times.


Our Vision

We envision a community where all youth, and those that support them, have access to education, support, and resources relating to grief, loss and healthy strategies for healing.


Our Values

Providing hope to youth, their families, and community members who are
experiencing grief and loss.

Healing Education
Providing professional resources to youth, their families, and community members to live,
learn, and heal through their losses.

Working collaboratively with our community partners to support youth experiencing
grief and loss.

Serving youth, their families, and community members with integrity, professionalism,
accountability and excellence.


We Need Your Support Today!


Our Executive Director

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Executive Director

As Executive Director, Caroline is focused on expanding our services in support of one of Victoria’s important community organizations; ensuring youth experiencing grief and loss have easy and barrier free access to critical grief supports.With a background in health, health research and education in addition to a long career in a variety of roles in major health and research centres affiliated with academia in both Montréal and Toronto, Caroline relocated to the west coast after the unexpected death of her only daughter. Caroline is deeply committed to positively impacting the lives of others through grief education, support, opportunity and kindness and realizes the significant value of supporting youth through the often life changing grief and loss experience. 

Our Facilitators

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Program Director, Facilitator and Counsellor

David Segal has been providing counselling for children, youth, adults, couples, and families for over 15 years. He has and continues to learn from a vast array of teachers (including non-human natural ones) the tools and skills for guiding people to truly know their own inherent wholeness and how to work with the inevitable struggles of life in order to both harness and harvest the gifts and learning available. He completed a Masters degree in Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria, is registered with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors and holds certifications and advanced training in areas such as complex trauma, grief and loss, anxiety and depression, addictions, diversity, nature-based therapy, and mindfulness.  When not counselling, he loves playing sports, exploring forests, and spending time with his family.



Facilitator and Counsellor

Gaylene has been assisting clients professionally for over twenty years in a variety of capacities, including as a registered clinical counsellor (current). As a counsellor, she has worked with children and youth who experienced sexualized violence and/or other forms of complex trauma in a non-profit agency, as a school counsellor in a First Nations school, and has an established private practice. Prior to this she worked in non-profits: leading a team in assisting refugees and immigrants settle in Canada; in Victim Services assisted people who were victims of crime and trauma; and worked in pastoral care. Gaylene’s own experiences with grief, trauma, and healing have informed her work, abilities, and passion.  Gaylene has lived in Victoria since 2004, where her and her partner have raised two children; cared/cares for many animal companions; and enjoys the incredible natural surroundings. 


Facilitator and Counsellor

Maggie Reidy has a BA in Child and Youth Care and a master’s in counselling from the University of Victoria. Maggie is a registered clinical counsellor with over 25 years experience working with children, youth, adults and families in a variety of settings. Maggie’s work experiences include time as a Youth and Family Counsellor in an Alternate School, an Youth Outreach Worker, a clinician at the Child Abuse Prevention and Counselling Society,  a High School/ Middle School counsellor with Indigenous Youth, and a thriving private practice that welcomes people of all ages. Maggie is grateful to live in Victoria with her family and she is excited to be a facilitator on the Learning Through Loss Team.



Ashley Gillies is a Process-Oriented Community Psychologist, Somatic, Earth-based Therapist and Deep Democracy Facilitator. Gratefully living and working on Lekwungen Territory, Ashley maintains  a private practice supporting individuals and couples through transformation, as well as teaching methods for somatic healing and relationship facilitation in colleges and workshop settings. Having lost both her parents at a younger age, and trained in a wide array of approaches to grief work, Ashley is thrilled to be a facilitator for Learning Through Loss where she is able to offer knowing support and guidance to youth and families going through loss. 



A Registered Clinical Counsellor with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors, Liz received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Victoria and a Master of Counselling Psychology from Adler University in Vancouver. She practices from a client-centred approach, using empathy and connection to help each individual find their own path to growth and healing. She integrates evidence-based techniques, including Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), to encourage self-awareness of thoughts, behaviours, and emotions. Liz also draws from Mindfulness, Somatic, and Trauma-Informed approaches. Specifically, she focuses on working with teens and young adults in the areas of grief & loss, anxiety, and depression. She is grateful to live and work on Coast Salish Territory. Outside the office, she enjoys spending time with her family, song-writing and playing guitar, and being near the ocean.



Sarah is a creative, calm and respectful counsellor who feels privileged to have lived and worked on the traditional lands of the Quw’utsun people for over 15 years. She has worked in a variety of non-profit counselling organizations, VIHA, Cowichan Valley School District, Cowichan Tribes, and Child and Youth Mental Health. Sarah has an BA from Vancouver Island University in Child and Youth Care, and a Master’s degree in Counselling from City University.

Our Board of Directors

James Amarelo


Anita Weng

Board Member

Michael McDonald


Brendan Wright

Board Member

Allie da Silva

Director of Communications

Moiz Qureshi

Board Member


Email: info@learningthroughloss.org

Phone: 250-413-3114

Address: 132-328 Wale Rd.  Victoria, BC  V9B 0J8

Registered Charity: 89054 1196 RR0001

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