Inspired by teaching, helping others, life…and, yes, death…Cheryl Amari takes her energy and channels it into a unique service: GriefTeach. Little did Cheryl know when she earned her undergraduate degree in Business Administration and then a Master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry, that one day her background in these areas would eventually lead her to create GriefTeach.
Teaching in a high school while writing her Master’s thesis on “Adolescent Bereavement” inspired Cheryl to find ways to reach out to others, especially teenagers, during difficult times. But, in fact, it was not only her love for education that brought Cheryl to pursue a career in thanatology (the study of death, dying, and bereavement), but a deep loss she experienced herself that unexpectedly drew her to learn more about death, loss, and the intense pain of grief. Instead of succumbing to what can be a dark hole of confusion and sadness, Cheryl found it liberating and therapeutic to learn all that she could on this topic. She studied thanatology, as well as psychology, theology, and education, and ended up finding light through the darkness. It was this discovery and subsequent healing that inspired her to share with others what she had learned.
The road to what became GriefTeach began first upon completion of graduate studies at Boston College. As Cheryl continued to enjoy teaching high school students, she discovered she also enjoyed teaching adults when she worked as a dance choreographer for a local community theater group. Soon she began teaching adult classes on loss and grief at various community education programs, where she saw firsthand how eager her students were for grief education, and how willing they were to share their stories and be open to the transformative power of education. For several years, Cheryl was an instructor at a mortuary college where she taught both in-house and online courses in the social sciences, including grief psychology.
Prior to becoming an educator, Cheryl spent many years in the business sector, working for a number of companies in Boston ranging from large corporations to small firms. Since she has worked in a multitude of settings, Cheryl has the versatility to address a wide variety of groups. She is just as comfortable speaking one-to-one as she is in a large group or small gathering. She enjoys working with children and adults of all ages. She can also cater to religious organizations with faith-based programs. Even though she studied pastoral counseling, she has chosen to be an educator, not a licensed counselor, and she uses her listening skills to educate with understanding, patience, and non-judgment.
Cheryl is Certified in Thanatology: Death, Dying, and Bereavement from the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC), and she continually seeks to expand her knowledge via conferences, discussion groups, webinars, and readings on the most current research in the field. Cheryl believes that a good teacher must be a perpetual student, so she looks forward to all the new and exciting learning experiences that await her.
It takes someone with both compassion and knowledge to guide and educate in this area, and Cheryl possesses both. With an inspiring and hopeful outlook, a passion for education, and a diverse professional background, Cheryl has created a unique and much-needed service. As someone who has been empowered and enlightened by education, Cheryl’s goal, through GriefTeach, is to free the bereaved from the grip of despair….to offer hope when things look hopeless….to provide tools for healthy coping….to share with others the gift of education. Education with compassion is powerful and transformative. We hope you will allow Cheryl to create a program for you that will truly be life-changing.
You control your response and therein lies your freedom.”
Cheryl’s Fortune Cookie, Dec. 2006
Cheryl Amari is a compassionate, gifted, and talented educator. She has the intuitive ability to connect with children, adolescents, and young adults in an extraordinary way. In these many relationships, Cheryl shows a depth of insight, a compassionate understanding, and a proven ability to assist others in their need. As a former campus minister and secondary school educator, Cheryl has shared life’s journey with many. She is an empathetic and insightful person – a most welcomed combination in today’s world.
Sharon Morris, School Counselor St. John’s Preparatory School Danvers, MA
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