When surveyed 79.8% of parents stated they did not feel comfortable talking about dying and death related topics (including suicide) with their children.
C.A.N.D.Y. Café is a unique program offered by Home Hospice Association (HHA) designed to help young people and the adults in their lives navigate challenging questions about dying, death, and grief. Are these appropriate conversations for young people? Absolutely! In fact, their mental health might depend on it.
Pictured: a post-it note written by one of our young participants expressing how they felt after a Candy Cafe for youth event... "relieved - small weight lifted off my shoulders from letting go - comfortable - still have a fear of death."
And from one of our adult participants: “Before attending How To Talk with Kids about Dying Death and Grief, I was afraid to say to my child that the batteries in a toy had died, because I was afraid of the question 'what does dying mean'.”
About C.A.N.D.Y. Café (Creating Awareness & Normalizing Death for Youth)
C.A.N.D.Y. Café is part of HHA’s Death Education Program. Its goals are to:
Help adults (parents, guardians, and caregivers) gain confidence discussing these concepts with young people
Help young people gain a clearer understanding of dying, death, and grief
Help young people feel comfortable talking about these topics
Help adults and young people communicate more freely with each other about dying, death and grief
These conversations can be challenging and many tend to avoid them altogether. But death, just like birth, is a natural part of our lives. As parents, guardians, and caregivers, it is our responsibility to ensure young people know it’s okay to talk about dying and death and learn healthy ways of coping with grief.
This program is designed to give people of all ages different ways to participate. We work hard to create a safe space for all our participants, and we hope that our values of inclusion and respect for diversity make C.A.N.D.Y. Café a program in which both adults and young people can trust and feel comfortable taking part.
How C.A.N.D.Y. Café Helps
Learn how to approach age-appropriate conversations about dying, ensuring that the information shared is accessible and tailored to the developmental stage of the child. Gain insights into effective communication techniques to navigate these discussions with openness, honesty, and understanding.
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Engage in introspective discussions that encourage participants to reflect on their first experiences with death. By understanding the impact of these experiences on our own beliefs, emotions, and fears, we can gain insights into how they shape our conversations with young people.
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In an inclusive and relaxed environment where questions are encouraged, this program is designed to give young people, ages 10 -18, the opportunity to connect with their thoughts and emotions while discussing the mysteries of death. Participants will gain tools and strategies to draw upon when they are experiencing grief due to the loss of a loved one.
Register a young person for our next event:
Date & Time TBA!
Designed for professionals working with young people and a pre-requisite for facilitating all HHA events for young people (including those facilitated by our partners), this online certificate program provides the tools and techniques you need to feel confident navigating conversations about dying, death and grief with youth in your care.
Learn more about the course content and delivery, and register for an upcoming session:
The C.A.N.D.Y. Café Team
Our C.A.N.D.Y. Café facilitators have undergone hours of training specifically for working with youth around death. They listen and respond empathetically to both young people and adults, helping them gain confidence in their abilities to deal with these difficult topics.
Are you interested in becoming a C.A.N.D.Y. Café Facilitator? Learn more here!
Join our CANDY Café Program Team and help build the capacity of this program including volunteer engagement, community outreach, agency partnerships and financial sustainability.
Complete your Post Secondary Education as our Program Manager. Ideally suited for someone currently enrolled in a Social Worker, Social Service Worker or Community Worker Program.
Join or support our "Crushing it for C.A.N.D.Y." team! The Moonlit Memory Walk is our major annual fundraiser where we celebrate the lives of those we have lost and raise money for the pioneering work HHA does. By joining the "Crushing it for C.A.N.D.Y." team you will help ensure funds are available to educate staff and volunteers of charities working with young people, ensure events are delivered in-person in communities, including Metis Communities throughout Ontario, and to help those working directly with young people in the juvenile detention system to have the tools and confidence they need.
Help ensure that every young person feels comfortable talking about dying, death, and grief - and that the adults in their lives are able to meet them where they're at.
Your donations allow us to offer these important spaces, events and communication-building workshops to kids, parents, guardians and caregivers in order to promote communities where experiences of dying, death and grief can be openly discussed and explored with young people.
Together, let's create a world where discussions about death are met with understanding, empathy, and healing.