A group of Fairfield County partners this month will provide the first in what they plan to be a series of programs to help area youths deal with losing loved ones.

A group of Fairfield County partners this month will provide the first in what they plan to be a series of programs to help area youths deal with losing loved ones.

Through a new regional partnership, however, FairHoPe Hospice and Palliative Care Inc. is teaming with United Way and the Robert K. Fox Family YMCA in Lancaster to provide free quarterly programs that will use art, music and physical activities to help young people deal with grief and express themselves, and to guide them toward building new relationships with others.

Registration for the first Creative Arts for Mourning Pals (CAMP) event is Sept. 8. Those interested can sign up by calling (740) 475-0699, or by emailing palsforgrievingchildren@gmail.com.

The first CAMP event will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Robert K. Fox Family YMCA. Youths and their family members who live in Fairfield, Hocking and Perry counties can attend.

"We are reaching out to children and adolescents in the area," said Tracey Miller, a children's grief specialist with FairHoPe Hospice and Pallative Care. "We're trying to help children, adolescents and families be supported as they learn to cope with the loss of a loved one, while honoring the memory of that loved one."

The Sept. 24 program will be limited to 20 participants, so organizers are encouraging early registration. The date for a second program to be held in January has not been set.

On Sept. 24, FairHoPe's children's grief specialist, music therapist, social worker and volunteers will lead the program, with additional support from selected Robert K. Fox Family Y staff members.

The YMCA is donating space for family Zumba, craft time, oral sharing, musical expression and team-building.

Adults accompanying children will be given an opportunity to participate in the Zumba class and will receive information regarding YMCA programs, facilities and scholarships.

A free, one-week YMCA pass also will be made available to each family.

"We want to help the children have coping skills, social skills and good self-esteem," Miller said. "Sometimes, children who experience loss isolate themselves. We try to get them to trust again.

"We're looking at fulfilling an unmet need in the community," she added. "We've found a lot of children in the community have experienced the unexpected loss of a loved one. Children do not need to grieve alone and families do not need to grieve alone."

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