When one of her grandchildren died, Carolyn Kitchens became involved with Kidzcope, a nonprofit organization that helps families cope with grief.
That was three years ago, and now the 62-year-old grandmother from Belle Plaine has become a facilitator for the group.
“I learned so much about the grieving process,” Kitchens said.
Although the organization was designed for ages 3 through 18, Kitchens said, adult family members are also helped.
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The group offers programs, workshops and art therapy. The organization began in 1999 as Three Trees Inc. In 2010, the name was changed to Kidzcope.
“There is a lot of art therapy,” Kitchens said. “The older kids may make masks and decorate them with words of expression or just paint them. The little kids make bracelets of the name of the person they have lost. They draw pictures and read stories.
“It is all about commemorating the person they’ve lost.”
When her granddaughter died, Kitchens said, a friend told her about Kidzcope.
“I got some understanding of the grieving process,” she said. “I was devastated when it happened. But I felt like they gave me so much in the eight-week course, this was my therapy.
“And I think my granddaughter would love that I am doing this to help other kids.”