When children experience a loss, they may not have the vocabulary to accurately express their grief. However, children love art, and we know art can help children who are grieving. Drawing, painting and molding clay provide an outlet for a child who is suffering the loss of a loved one. With other grieving children, they can commemorate and validate their feelings artistically and view their own healing through their art.
The Elaine Litman Endowment for Arts in Bereavement has provided a foundation for continued arts in the Partners In Care Children’s Grief Program. The endowment enables Partners In Care to use art as a primary mode of supporting children through their grief process. Children are encouraged to express themselves through various artistic expressions. Whether they are painting or coloring a portrait of how they see themselves, remembering those they love or what it feels like to experience the death of someone they love, they are releasing their feelings about death and loss. They create keepsakes, such as memory boxes, to remind them of those things they cherished about the person who loved them.
Camp Courage is a three-day, free summer art camp that provides a safe and healing environment where youth can share and express their feelings of loss and grief. This year, Camp Courage will be organized by a local non-profit partner, Clear Mourning. Registration is open and camp is scheduled for July 11-13 at Hollinshead Barn in Bend, OR. Youth from Central Oregon who have experienced a loss and are in grief are invited to register and participate in this art-based grief camp. As one former participant shared, “It’s just so good to know I am not alone and that even when you’re grieving, you can be together and have joy.”