Hero Club deals with loss through art

NEWTON. Members of the Hero Club were recently recognized with a plaque and champagne reception for their donation on behalf of the Children's Art Bereavement Program. The program helps children deal with grief after the loss of a loved one.

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  • Bereavement Counselor Joel Peterson works with members of the Hero Club on their theme; the seashore.

  • Members of the Hero Club with Bereavement Counselors.

Members of the "Hero Club," were recently recognized with a plaque and champagne reception at the Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center in Augusta. Each members of the club made a donation of $3,000 which will permanently fund the Children's Art Bereavement Program. The money will go into an enduring endowment for the purpose of endowing scholarships to the program for children whose families would not otherwise be able to afford the $100 fee.

The program helps children deal with grief after the loss of a loved one.

"One in 20 children suffers the loss of a close family member by the age 18," said John Quinlan, director of foundation at Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice.

The art program, for children ages 6-12, helps them deal with the loss through artistic expression. It meets for two hours one night a week for four weeks, using art to help the children get in touch with their feelings. Parents must participate as well in a simultaneous group. This group is intended to be educational and supportive in nature.

The program meets at the Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center on Plains Road in Frankford. The next session will start on Tuesday, July 9, from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. and will continue on Tuesdays throughout the month ending on Tuesday, July 30. The theme of the program is the jungle.

About 30 children a year go through the program, which is held in the Spring, Summer and Fall, and about half of those cannot afford the cost, which the foundation has been paying as a scholarship, which creates a budget shortfall, Quinlan said.

Members recognized at the reception include: The Family of Ronald and Mary Ellen Donner, The Families of Norman and Deirdre Worth and Michael and Margie Maneri, The Dietz Family, Kiwanis Club of Sparta, Heather and Peter Ronco in Honor of Ellen V. Nowicki, Parishioners of St. Mary's Episcopal Church - Sparta, John and Peggy Post, Gregory and Jackie Buckalew, The Friends of Hospice, "Thank You Mom" Foundation, The Families of Joseph and Julia Quinlan, Paul and Maria Armstrong and Frederic and Karen DiMaria.

Ten children are enrolled in each bereavement program class session. These programs have been offered for more than fifteen years. They were created in order to address the unmet needs of grieving children, who are frequently known as the “forgotten mourners.”

"From a developmental perspective, young children lack the verbal capacity to express their grief, often leading to internalized emotions, which in turn can lead to somatic symptoms," said Diana Sebzda, MA, LCP, FT, director of bereavement.

"Since its inception, the program has provided an expressive outlet for bereaved children to get their “inside feelings out,” convey their emotions, process their feelings of grief and learn coping strategies to help in," said Sebzda.

"The generosity of the members of the 'Hero Club,' means that we will always be able to offer this program to the community. The help and support we can provide to these children can change their lives. Thank you, thank you, thank you," said Sebzda.

Anyone families interested in registering for the upcoming Children's Art Bereavement Session can do so online at karenannquinlanhospice.org/CAT or by calling the Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center directly at 973-948-2283. Individual and family counseling is also available to anyone in the community suffering the loss of a loved one. The Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center is funded entirely from donations.

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