Social work students lead children's grief camp

Sixteen children, ranging in age from 5-11 years, attended the first Camp Hope, sponsored by Orange City Area Health System, Orange City Home Health & Hospice, and Northwestern College social work students, on Saturday, Nov. 22.

Games and activities centered around the four tasks of grieving--including understanding what death is, grieving the loss, commemorating the loved one, and moving forward. As part of  the task of "going on," the children wrote a note to their loved one and attached it to a balloon, which was released outside.

Puppeteer Lisa Laird provided a child-friendly program dealing with grief and loss. In addition, parents and guardians of the children were invited to a time of grief education by Orange City Hospice social workers.

"We were able to educate parents and children about grief and also provide some helpful tools for their grief journey," says Kimberly Jansma, Hospice volunteer coordinator. "Many of the children asked if they could come back again the next week!"

Curriculum for the day was developed by students in Valerie Stokes' Theory and Practice 2: Social Work With Groups class.

“The students had done a lot of research into what would be beneficial. I was very pleased. It was a positive experience for all involved,” says Stokes.