California State University, Fullerton

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CSUF Student Turns Tragedy Into Hope

May 23, 2013

Blond haired woman in sleeveless red dress

Graduating child development major Megan Griffin was honored earlier this month for her role in helping military families.

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At the annual dinner earlier this month honoring student veterans, a non-veteran was recognized for her service.

The Student Veterans Association, which hosted the event, honored Megan Griffin, who graduates this weekend with a bachelor's degree in child and adolescent development, for her work with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, providing grief counseling for military families who have lost a loved one on active duty.

Griffin is a "Gold Star" widow — her husband, Mike, committed suicide while in the Army.

The newly widowed single mother soon found her way to a seminar sponsored by the military for spouses of soldiers who had committed suicide.

Griffin realized she would have to support herself and her son. She was already working and attending community college when she transferred to Cal State Fullerton to pursue a degree in child and adolescent development.

That was when she began volunteering with the University's Student Veteran Center, meeting first with women veterans and then with the broader group.

"I wanted to help the veterans," she said. "And frankly, I needed to keep busy. I soon discovered that I needed them, too."

Griffin will take her place among those graduating from CSUF on Saturday. Once she has her diploma, she hopes to focus on grief counseling with children in elementary schools.

"My son, who is six now, was angry at his dad for quite some time," Griffin admits. 

"Seeing firsthand how difficult it is for my own child, I'd like to work with children who are dealing with the loss of a parent, sibling, or someone close to them," she said. "My goal is to reach out to children who are confused and hurt and help them learn to deal with their anger and sadness."

By: Valerie Orleans, 657-278-4540

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