(11-6-21) EverHeart Hospice has distributed grief toolkits to area children coping with the loss of someone special in their lives.

Sarah DePoy, Bereavement Coordinator at EverHeart Hospice

Typically, EverHeart Hospice hosts their annual Camp Encourage for children aged 6-15 experiencing loss. The camp provides a supportive and welcoming environment for children to sort through their feelings and lets them know they are not alone in these thoughts. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person camp was canceled for 2021, but the organization still wanted to provide support for the campers. The toolkits were designed to meet this need in a format that could be personally delivered to each child at home.

“We knew that just because the camp was canceled this year, that doesn’t mean their grief was canceled,” said Sarah DePoy, Bereavement Coordinator at EverHeart Hospice. “The past year has been an emotional roller coaster for everyone, and we want these children to know they are still supported.”

The way children experience and express their grief varies from child to child. The goal of the box is to provide coping skills to help children self-regulate their emotions. Each toolkit contains a variety of sensory objects for children to explore as an outlet for the emotions they may be experiencing.

Instructions for how each item can aid in this process were provided in the boxes. Examples of items provided include journals, tangrams, coloring books, and stress balls, among several others. In total, about 30 toolkits, packaged in a vintage-style lunch tin, were distributed.

Just like Camp Encourage, the Grief toolkits were provided to children free of charge thanks to the generosity of community donations and grants.

The response to the toolkits from caretakers was overwhelmingly positive, and several children have expressed interest in volunteering for Camp Encourage in the future.

“To have such young children already realizing that they can make a positive impact on future generations of campers because of a program we were able to provide to them is humbling,” shared DePoy.

EverHeart Hospice is hopeful that Camp Encourage will resume in person for 2022.

To learn more about Camp Encourage or the Bereavement Support available from EverHeart Hospice, call 1-800-417-7535 or visit their website at everhearthospice.org.