Learning Through Loss
It takes a village to raise young people
Grief & loss programs built on the strength of youth peer support
Grief is universal and support should be too.
Immersed in the field of grief and loss, respected academic researcher and hospice practitioner Sandra Elder Ph.D. realized the need for accessible, supportive programs for youth experiencing loss. In 1988, she created a group program for young people called Friends of Living and Learning Through Loss (LTL) which became a registered Canadian charity in 1994. Since then, Learning Through Loss has become the community expert at helping youth through grief and loss and bereavement while teaching others about the impact of grief on youth and how to better help them through it.
Through our programs, workshops and counselling services, we reach thousands of youth each year. Our programs are built on the strength of youth peer support, belonging, and the often difficult terrain of navigating grief and loss guided by an experienced registered clinical counsellor.
Educational workshops are provided to youth in schools and community organizations to enhance community awareness and knowledge about grief. Our community education and professional development workshops are available to communities across the island for anyone who wants to learn more about how to better support youth through loss.
Learning Through Loss is a proudly an accessible and inclusive organization that is welcoming to BIPOC, 2SLGBTQIA+ and all youth regardless of socio-economic status.
YEARS IN SERVICE
GRIEF WORKSHOPS DELIVERED
I learned that, with grief, you have to take it one day at a time and learn how to find the happiness amid the heartbreak.
Adrienne C. Moore
"Grief, when it comes, is nothing like we expect it to be".
Learning Through Loss (LTL) delivers grief and loss education and support programs to youth and provides professional development and training to youth-serving organizations to increase well-being through grief, loss and bereavement.
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 well-being.
Who we are
Giving hope to youth, their families, and community members who are navigating grief and loss.
Providing professional resources to youth, their families, schools and community members to live, learn, and cope with loss.
Working collaboratively with our community partners to support youth experiencing grief and loss.
Serving all youth, their families, and community members with integrity, professionalism, accountability and excellence.
Meet the team
Our Operations & Program Support Team
KATHRYN DAFOS (She/Her)
Executive Director andProgram Manager
Kathryn is focused on ensuring youth experiencing grief, loss, and bereavement have easy and barrier-free access to grief support. To further LTL’s endeavours, she is working on expanding and enhancing LTL services in support of one of Victoria’s important community organizations. She is a skilled strategist, public relations and organizational development professional with more than two decades of experience in the non-profit sector. Her life experiences have uniquely shaped her ability to understand the profound impact of loss and grief, especially on young people.
RUVA GATSI (She/Her)
Youth Engagement and Program Assistant
Ruva is a student pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Communications Studies. She has a passion for Public Relations and Marketing and is planning to focus her career down this path. In addition to supporting LTL operational and program administration, Ruva is particularly interested in connecting with younger individuals through our social media platforms. Her own lived experiences enable her to deeply understand the gravity of coping with loss and grief. She looks forward to her using her voice help support fellow youth find comfort and support at Learning Through Loss.
Our Counsellors & Facilitators
GAYLENE TURNER MA, RCC (She/Her)
Facilitator and Counsellor
Gaylene has been assisting clients professionally for over twenty years, including as a registered clinical counsellor. Gaylene has worked with children and youth who have experienced sexualized violence and/or other forms of complex trauma as a school counsellor in a First Nations school, and also maintains an established private practice. She led a team in assisting refugees and immigrants in settling in Canada; and in Victim Services, she assisted people who were victims of crime and trauma. She has also worked in pastoral care. Gaylene’s own experiences with grief, trauma, and healing have informed her work, abilities, and passion. She and her partner have two children, care for many animal companions, and enjoy the incredible natural surroundings of the Kelowna.
MAGGIE REIDY MA, RCC (She/Her)
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 of experience working with children, youth, adults and families in multiple settings. Her 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, in addition to a thriving private practice for people of all ages. Maggie is grateful to live in Victoria with her family and is a dedicated facilitator at Learning Through Loss.
ASHLEY GILLIES MA (She/Her) - On Leave
Ashley Gillies is a Process-Oriented Community, Somatic, Earth-based Therapist and Deep Democracy Facilitator. Gratefully living and working in Lekwungen Territory, Ashley maintains a private practice supporting individuals and couples through transformation, as well as providing teaching methods for somatic healing and relationship facilitation in colleges and workshop settings. Having lost both her parents at a younger age, Ashley trained in a wide array of approaches to grief work. Ashley is a facilitator with Learning Through Loss where she can offer knowledge, support, and guidance to youth and families experiencing grief and loss.
NICHOLA WATSON, RCC (She/Her)
Nichola intentionally creates safe spaces to have conversations and work together. She is a graduate of City University of Seattle and a Registered Clinical Counsellor with more than fifteen years of experience. In addition to providing loss and grief counselling for Learning Through Loss, Nichola works with individuals experiencing psychological trauma, interpersonal violence, suicidality, substance use, as well as mental well-being and poverty issues. As a crisis counsellor for Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, she also provides immediate short-term support to women, girls, and trans survivors of sexualized violence. Nichola leads a Black Youth Empowerment Group and worked as a private contractor at a Tribal School providing counselling to children and youth. When she is not doing clinical work, Nichola is researching, writing, or publishing books. She is grateful to live and work on the unceded Coast Salish territory of the Lekwungen and WSANEC nations.
CHELSEA PEDDLE, M.Ed, RCC (She/Her)
Facilitator and Program Developer
Chelsea is privileged to be a guest on the beautiful traditional territories of the Lekwungen peoples where she strives to offer inclusive and compassionate support to the diverse families. A death doula and a registered clinical counsellor, Chelsea helps individuals, families and children feel anchored through the uncertainty of a serious diagnosis or the grief of terminal illness. Chelsea has a master’s degree in education from the University of British Columbia and a Certificate in Human Rights Education from Equitas International Centre for Human Rights Education in Montreal. She lives in Victoria with her two children, loves to watch baking shows with her family, though she says her own recipes don’t usually turn out as well as the ones on tv!
MACAYLA YAN, RCC (Any Pronouns)
Facilitator and Counsellor
Based on Lekwungen Homelands, Macayla is a justice-oriented counsellor. Their approach is rooted in systemic, holistic, and anti-colonial understandings of wellness. In counselling, they understand the relationship to be the foundation of the work we do together. To Macayla this means believing in a co-created safe and establishing a supportive relationship together that provides space for nurturance and transformation. Macayla works with you to uphold and expand upon your inner healing abilities and natural capacity for growth.
Take action. Join our Board of Directors.
Our Board of Directors are an essential part of furthering our mission to make grieving resources and support more accessible to youth. By becoming an director, you directly affect the lives of thousands of youth each year.
Please fill in our expression of interest form and we will be in touch.