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Avow Kids’ Camp MendingHeart helped 20 children deal with grief

Avow staff leading campers at Camp MendingHeart in reflective sunset meditation

Avow Kids provided Camp MendingHeart for 20 children ages 7 to 17 to process grief at Riverside Retreat in Labelle Oct. 13-15. Avow Kids’ professional children’s bereavement team helped participants learn more about grief and coping with their loss, develop bonds with new friends who have experienced similar losses, and have fun while learning about ways to practice wellness by processing feelings using skills learned at camp.

“Grief is a part of life, and we understand how challenging it can be, especially for our young ones,” said Avow Kids Manager Lea Pascotto. “At Avow Kids, we help them understand that healing is possible, even amid sorrow. We’re grateful for the incredible weekend we shared and look forward to more healing journeys.

Activity at Camp MendingHeart encourages writing names of lost persons and supporters

After camp, parents said their children who attended were less angry about their loss and were doing better in school and interacting with other children. Children surveyed after camp said they learned that it is OK to cry, talk about what is bothering them, that others are going through what they are, and that there are people who want to help. Twelve of the attendees had been to camp sessions before.

Camp MendingHeart, which has been provided for free by Avow Kids to children who have experienced a death loss, is sponsored in part by the Naples Children & Education Foundation – founders of the Naples Winter Wine Festival and Suncoast Credit Union Foundation, as well as donations from the community to Avow Kids.

Avow Kids has been providing bereavement services for children ages 5-17 years old for more than 40 years and has been a partner with the Collier County School District providing in-school sessions for 30 years. Offering support and companionship to children who are grieving the loss of a parent, sibling, friend, or relative through illness, accident, suicide or homicide, Avow also helps children process other types of loss including divorce, loss of a friend, instability in the foster care system, or deployed or incarcerated parents and family members. Support is in the form of in-school workshops, individual one-on-one sessions, family groups, day and overnight camps and special activities. All Avow Kids services are offered without charge. In 2022, Avow provided 926 bereavement groups, events, and one-on-one session to children between the ages of 5-17 in the Avow Kids program.

To learn about Avow Kids programs and upcoming camps, avowcares.org/avow-kids.

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