How do you reach out to a child who has experienced the death of someone they love? How does an adult family member explore and cope with grief, yet still support a child's loss?
Stepping Stones of Hope provides an opportunity to answer these questions during our weekend Camp Paz for Kids/Grown-Ups. These programs reach out to both children and adults in separate, synergistic settings that have been designed to provide a nurturing, expressive, creative and fun environment for healing to transpire.
Death is a difficult concept for children to grasp. Kids often keep their emotions hidden, not knowing how to communicate their pain, and not wanting to add to an adult's grief burden. Weekend programs provide a safe place for these children to express themselves. Through art, music, role-playing, and a lot of talking and laughing, kids learn about death and dying. And, they learn how to begin to cope. At the same time nearby, adult family members are learning too, exploring their grief through journaling, music, art, self-care, relaxation and dialogue. And they discover ways they can best support the children who share their loss. Check out this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=134uAgXioiU
"Our weekend camp programs re-opens a camper's heart and eyes to life, and helps facilitate growth, hope and healing."
- Lisa Weyer, Executive Director to 2008
Weekend programs are facilitated by caring volunteers who are skilled in supporting the bereavement process. Some are physicians, psychologists, counselors, nurses and crisis interventionists. Others just want to help. But all of them have lost a loved one, and they have journeyed a similar path to healing and peace.
Founded in 1999, Stepping Stones of Hope is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing programs that advocate for the bereaved and support the grieving process.
In addition to our weekend camps, Stepping Stones of Hope offers other programs that build upon the journey of healing. These include: After Camp Support Groups, A Day at Camp Paz, Camp Paz at School, Grief at School, Grief at Work, Educational Outreach, and a variety of collaborative programs and special offerings.
Healing can transpire during weekend camps, where campers establish a place within themselves to cope with the lonely, sometimes all-consuming grief they feel. Programs promise to help lift the burden and provide support that campers need. Memories will be made and friendships formed. Anger and pain will be sorted out. Happy times will be remembered. And in the end, when the balloons dedicated to those lost loved ones float away into the late afternoon sky, the experience will become a stepping stone to new hope.
"While there is no way to make the hurt go away, our sadness can turn to joy as we share our stories. The memories shared in the small groups, the chat with the doctor, the tie-dying, the chocolate chip cookies, crafts, music, hikes, the candlelight ceremony and the balloon send-off enables each camper to tell a little bit of their story. And, for a moment, peace and healing is a part of their lives."
-Dr. Charles Finch, Founder