Healing Through Creativity

Helping Young People Respond to Grief Through the Healing Power of Art and Writing

For young people who are figuring out their larger place in the world, having a safe place to express their emotions can be particularly hard. The process of creating, however, can provide an outlet for self-expression and an opportunity to be heard by others. Teens from across the United States submitted their creative work to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards’ New York Life Award, which recognizes the stories of young people and their experiences with losing a loved one.

This curated collection of works submitted to the New York Life Award reflects a wide range of experiences and forms of expression, and we honor the vulnerability of our contributors and their effort to bring this conversation to light.

The Anthology

This Anthology and Discussion Guide features 17 works of art and writing that explore grief, loss, and healing through the perspectives of young people. Download a free copy.

The Exhibition

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, in partnership with the New York Life Foundation and local organizations, presented an exhibition showcasing a selection of inspiring and innovative original work addressing grief and bereavement by teens from across the country who received Scholastic Art & Writing Awards honors from 2017–2019.

Mourning Hope Grief Center at The Foundry
Lincoln, NE | September 2019

Mercy Health Hospice
Paducah, KY | November 2019

Unity Hospice
De Pere, WI | November 2019

New Hope Center for Grief Support
Northville, MI | November 2019

Michael’s Place
Traverse City, MI | November 2019

Explore the Featured Works



The Beautiful Day Dance by Darius Atefat-Peckham

To the Dead Bird in the Target Parking Lot by Amanda Chen

Peace Is Only Real in a Photograph by Phoebe DeAngelo

Thoughts From a Believer by Olivia Kane

My Elephant and Me by Alexa Russell

Seasons by William Schenck

The Mourning Of by Kendall Vorhis

It Is What It Is by Makayla Wach

Hug Coupons and Shoe Boxes by Brian Wee

Carrying Season by Mackenzie Whitehead-Bust

About the New York Life Foundation

Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided nearly $300 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program and Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative. To learn more, please visit www.newyorklifefoundation.org.