Moultrie Observer


October 1, 2012

Kids dealing with grief

MOULTRIE — Ever noticed how a young child may withdraw and go silent in the wake of a tragedy in which someone close to him has died? Or maybe one does the opposite and  responds with anger. How does one equip a youngster to face such trauma?

Area children who have experienced a relative’s death or the loss of a loved one soon will have a chance to interact with other children and social workers to deal with such issues.

   Hospice at Colquitt Regional Medical Center is hosting Leaves of Love, a Children’s Grief Camp on Oct. 20 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Norman Park Baptist Assembly. The registration deadline is Friday and there is no charge. The camp is open to ages 5 to 12.

   CRMC social worker and bereavement coordinator Alex Shivers said he expects up to 15 children to participate in a series of physical and artistic projects designed to offer a supportive environment where the children can use their grief to relate to others and have some fun at the same time.

   “Young children can only go so far in dealing with something verbally,” Shivers said.

   Among the physical  activities will be an obstacle course in which the kids will be blindfolded and will have to negotiate the course with assistance from others.

   “It teaches them to build trust and to work their way through something they have never been through before,” said Shivers, who will be joined by hospice social worker Jaimee Clayton.

   The children also will use pieces of a puzzle to create a work of art that shows they all have a common thread. An arts and crafts project will teach the children to identify emotions such as anger and sadness through colored beads used to make a bracelet.

   Shivers and Clayton visited counselors and teachers at Colquitt County schools to help identify children who are dealing with grief.

   “The school system has been a big part of this,” Shiver said.

   This is CRMC’s first grief camp, and it is based on a similar program hosted recently by Tift Regional Medical Center.

   The Hospice at CRMC deals with people who have a life expectancy of up to six months, and many of the adults will be leaving children behind, Shivers said.

   “They have been affected by grief already,” he said.

   Friday’s registration deadline for the camp is necessary to have adequate supplies and food for the camp and to also determine the number of volunteers needed.

   “We’d like to have as much one-on-one contact with the children as possible,” Shivers said,

   He and Clayton can be reached for signup at 229-891-2128.


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