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Kate's Club accepts U.S. Surgeon General's highest civilian honor for mental health work

Date
August 30, 2023
Author
Kate's Club
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FIRST GEORGIA ORGANIZATION TO BE AWARDED U.S. SURGEON GENERAL MEDALLION
Kate’s Club accepts U.S. Surgeon General’s highest civilian honor for mental health work

Atlanta, Ga. – August 30, 2023 – Kate’s Club will accept the U.S. Surgeon General’s Medallion for its excellence in the public health field. The organization will be awarded the medallion at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. on September 18, 2023.

For 20 years, Kate’s Club has empowered grieving children, teens and their families, a need exponentially necessitated by the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Kate’s Club has served 20,000 individuals since 2003, with 10,000 of those since 2020.

Georgia is one of six states that accounts for more than half of U.S. children bereaved by COVID-19. It also has the second highest number of Black children bereaved by the pandemic. Kate's Club quickly pivoted its community-based grief support to safely address this dramatically growing need. The organization’s first virtual program was in April 2020, and it returned to masked and socially distanced in-person programming in March 2021.

“Grief is the most common form of childhood trauma, and 1 in 11 children - 1 in 8 in communities of color - in Georgia are bereaved,” said Lisa Aman, Executive Director. “The Kate’s Club mission is to provide meaningful mental health support to the growing number of grieving families throughout Georgia.”

While reimagining its existing programs in Atlanta and Newnan, Kate’s Club also expanded to Georgia communities hit hardest by COVID-19. In 2022, it started programs in Albany and Brunswick, which have children’s bereavement rates of 9.5% and 8.5% respectively, and experienced estimated 40% increases in the number of bereaved children due to COVID-19.

In response to the pandemic, Kate’s Club also launched its digital platform Kate’s Hub, an online community with 24/7 peer support and access to grief resources. The organization also expanded its services to another overlooked and under-resourced group: young adults ages 18 to 30 experiencing grief.

“I am honored to present the Surgeon General’s Medallion to Kate’s Club, which empowers children and teens, their families, and young adults facing life after the death of a parent, sibling, caregiver or someone important to them,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. “Since the pandemic began, there have been precious few opportunities to process what we’ve been through, grieve what we’ve lost, and recognize individuals who have gone above and beyond for others. This is why the Office of the Surgeon General and the Kennedy Center collaborated to create a unique event designed to celebrate those whose extraordinary acts of service, sacrifice, and compassion have advanced the mental health and well-being of their communities. Together, we acknowledge the past, look forward to a brighter future, and applaud those who model kindness, love, and service.”

The Surgeon General’s Medallion is the highest honor the office can award to a civilian and the fourth highest award of the U.S. Public Health Service. Only 30 individuals and organizations have received this award in the past.

“We are honored to receive this recognition for our work to support the mental health and well-being of bereaved children, teens and young adults, and it is especially meaningful as we celebrate our 20th anniversary this year. Together, we know that we can create a world in which it’s okay to grieve,” Aman said.

ABOUT KATE’S CLUB

Kate’s Club empowers children and teens, their families, and young adults facing life after the death of a parent, sibling, caregiver or someone important to them. We build healing communities through recreational and therapeutic group programs, education and advocacy. Since its founding in metro Atlanta in 2003, Kate’s Club has served thousands of individuals who are grieving, through both direct service and outreach programs. For more information, visit katesclub.org.

Media Contact: Meagan Chong, Marketing & Communications Associate, meagan.chong@katesclub.org

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