To commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month, Quest Diagnostics Foundation grantee Experience Camps hosted several events for young people working through grief, including a Grief Town Hall, in conjunction with the YMCA of Central Maryland, and several Playing Through Grief events at area schools and community centers.
In these workshops, the grief specialists at Experience Camps share with participants what to know about grief, how to show up for someone who is grieving, how to support youth, and what it means to create a grief-smart culture in their community.
Play is one of the most critical elements of positive childhood development and can take a back seat to more adult responsibilities and feelings when tragedy strikes. As a result, grieving children can be left lacking in fundamental building blocks of growth. Giving them permission to be kids again—to sing at the top of their lungs, to focus their entire beings on the score of a game, and to explore the boundless freedom of unstructured time—can reignite their childhoods.
Dedicated to exploring this concept, Experience Camps is a nonprofit organization that transforms the lives of grieving children through summer camp programs and innovative, year-round initiatives. Funding from the Quest Diagnostics Foundation as part of the Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE) initiative is helping Experience Camps establish summer programs in the Baltimore area in coordination with other community leaders. The one-week, overnight summer camps for children who have experienced the death of a sibling, parent, or primary caregiver aims to empower campers with the necessary coping skills to move forward with their lives.
“We are so proud to work with Experience Camps,” said Michael Floyd, Senior Director and Leader, Q4HE. “Their initiatives to help support children dealing with grief are so important. Their work has already made an impact in many communities, and we look forward to supporting this summer’s camps in Baltimore to bring their expertise to more children in need.”
“Receiving support from the Quest Diagnostics Foundation has helped our program expand to touch more lives in Baltimore,” said Sara Deren, CEO of Experience Camps. “Quest has been a great collaborator in furthering our mission of helping children who have experienced the unimaginable to feel joy and hope again.”
To learn more about Quest for Health Equity, visit our website at www.QuestForHealthEquity.com.