Hannah Todoroski knew she needed someone to talk to after she lost her cousin and best friend.
Todoroski, a sophomore at Pine-Richland, received help at the Highmark Caring Place. Now she is helping others by being a part of the Caring Team at Pine-Richland High School.
The Caring Place is a place for grieving children, adolescents and their families to work through the grief associated with the death of a loved one. Caring teams, organized in local schools, act as a fundraising and awareness arm of the organization. About 200 schools in western Pennsylvania have Caring teams, according to Fasy Greevy, manager of special initiatives with Highmark Caring Place.
"It's a meaningful, fun way for schools to make a difference in their local community," Greevy said.
Todoroski joined the Caring Team at Pine-Richland because she wanted to help others in the same way she was helped.
In February 2007, Todoroski's cousin Gerard died after a long battle with cancer. Todoroski describes her cousin as her best friend.
"He was like a brother to me," she said. "He was the person I could go to for advice. He could make me laugh all the time. He always had a big smile on his face even though he was bald from chemotherapy."
After Gerard died, Todoroski didn't know how to deal with her grief. Another family recommended that Todoroski and her siblings look into the Caring Place. There, Todoroski said she was able to talk with her peers about how she felt and tell them about her cousin.
"It takes a special person to talk about grief with somebody," Todoroski said. …