Grieving kids take center stage in New York Life film

(Courtesy New York Life)

Grief has an enduring impact, but support is often short-lived. Americans who lost a parent growing up say it takes six years or more to move forward – but support from family and friends wanes within three months, according to a New York Life survey.

Grieving children can feel alone and isolated. Eluna, through Camp Erin, the largest national bereavement program for youth grieving a significant death, and, help combat that feeling by bringing kids together as a community to facilitate powerful experiences and collective healing.

“Camp Erin has emerged as such a special place for children coping with grief and loss. We wanted to take that safe space and translate it to a new environment, providing support for those kids year round,” notes Bethany Gardner, Director of Bereavement Programs at Eluna. “This event was the perfect way to connect with our campers in the off season and show them that their person always remains with them.”

In Oklahoma, the Childhood Bereavement Estimation rate is 1 in 11, higher than the national average. Camp Erin Tulsa, run by Tristesse Bereavement Center, provides local support to grieving children and their families. Since 2008, New York Life has maintained a dedicated philanthropic funding area to support the under-resourced yet very common issue of childhood bereavement, offering its first of many grants to Camp Erin in 2009.

An expert in the bereavement space, New York Life has invested over $7 million in supporting the Camp Erin network over the past 15 years. This year, its local Tulsa office saw a need to connect Camp Erin to Tristesse, bringing hope and healing to local grieving children and teens.

The film chronicles an event hosted by New York Life with support from Anomaly called Constellation of Love. Held at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum planetarium on February 4th, the event helped minimize feelings of isolation for grieving children. It celebrated the memory of each person who has died through the beauty of the night sky with special tributes for the 40+ children in attendance.

Throughout the evening, each child received a star in honor of their loved one. Each dedicated star comprises part of a constellation representing all the people the children have lost, forming the Constellation of Love. Each child also received a nightlight and a necklace, charm, or bracelet that includes an engraving of their star’s coordinates so they can always keep their lost loved one close. Watch below:

“Helping families to create a brighter future is at the core of our organization’s goals. Through research, we know that acknowledgement, support and accessible resources are critical to supporting a bereaved child and their family,” said Heather Nesle, SVP, at New York Life. “We created this event to help campers realize that their person is always with them and provide children with a safe place to open up and feel a sense of camaraderie with peers similarly grieving losses.” 

As a digital extension, New York Life partnered with an app that makes it easier for children to find their star at any time of the day, from anywhere in the world, and keep track of it. The event included a special message John Herrington, retired United States Naval Aviator and the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to fly in space.


CLIENT: New York Life

  • Heather Nestle, New York Life Foundation President
  • Maria Collins, New York Life Foundation Vice President 
  • David Williams, Corporate Vice President, Brand Content
  • Fernando Urruchua, Corporate Vice President, Brand Marketing, Advertising and Sponsorships
  • Melissa Allred, Corporate Vice President, Brand Marketing, Advertising and Sponsorships
  • Noemi Bambino, Corporate Vice President, Advertising & Sponsorships

AGENCY: Anomaly


Daniel Navetta, Director

  • Eluna, Bereavement Non-Profit 
  • Camp Erin, Bereavement Non-Profit
  • Tristesse Bereavement Center, Bereavement Non-Profit

Follow us on Facebook!