Coping during the holiday season

Lara Blum
Lara Blum shares a moment at Kids Hurt Too Hawaii with sons Nolan (left) and Devon.

HONOLULU — For Lara Blum, it has been nearly three years since the death of her two sons’ father.

 

But the Manoa resident said that trying to cope with his loss doesn’t get any easier for her sons Nolan, age 16, and Devon, age 11, especially around this time of year.

“It’s much harder this time of year,” said Blum, who turned to Kids Hurt Too Hawaii for grief support about a month after the tragic death in March 2011 of her children’s father.

“There are constant reminders of not having their father,” Blum said. “If it weren’t for Kids Hurt Too Hawaii, it would have taken a lot longer for my older son to get through his anger. Kids Hurt Too Hawaii has allowed them to get out of their particular dilemma and be with other kids who are like themselves.”

Blum’s two sons are among the more than 250 grieving children, between ages 3 and 19, who every year in Hawaii turn to Kids Hurt Too Hawaii for a safe space to express feelings about their loss of a parent to such factors as a death, divorce, or incarceration.

Overcoming feelings of isolation

Support group  for  children of divorce
Grief-stricken children find refuge in a peer-support group at Kids Hurt Too Hawaii.

HONOLULU – A support group for children whose parents are divorced is taking on new meaning this holiday season.

The group’s weekly meetings at Kids Hurt Too Hawaii have become a refuge for children who find it especially hard to cope with a parent’s divorce around this time of year.

Their support group is among services Kids Hurt Too Hawaii offers annually to more than 250 children who are struggling with the loss of a parent to such factors as divorce, death and incarceration.

“Our programs are intended to help grief-stricken children overcome sadness and feelings of isolation,” said Cynthia White, executive director of Kids Hurt Too Hawaii.

Looking ahead with enthusiasm

Cynthia White meets with support group for children in foster care.

HONOLULU – More than 20 youth in foster care paused during their weekly meeting at Kids Hurt Too Hawaii to reflect on what they are thankful for this holiday season.

The children in support group for foster youth, who are between ages 3 and 19, thrive on a safe space to express feelings found here.

The group’s weekly meetings are also part of a broader effort at Kids Hurt Too Hawaii to help restore hope to grief-stricken children in foster care.

“Our focus is on playing a significant role in helping foster youth look forward to their future with enthusiasm instead of anxiety,” said Cynthia White, executive director of Kids Hurt Too Hawaii.

Moving beyond the pain

Single-mother Nicole Cruz and her children participate in a Kids Hurt Too Hawaii water activity, designed to help children cope with the loss of a parent.

HONOLULU — If Nicole Cruz knew then what she knows now about her two children’s pain from her decision to leave their abusive father, she would have turned to Kids Hurt Too Hawaii a long time ago.

The 37-year-old meal clerk for a charter school credits the non-profit organization for the ability of her adolescent son – Zeph, age 11, and daughter – Kanani, age 8 – to move beyond the pain of losing their father over a violent temper that landed him in and out of jail as well as permanently out of their mother’s life.

“Kids Hurt Too Hawaii has been like another parent to my children,” said Cruz, who has benefited from the organization’s support since Feb. 2009. “My children get asked all the time, ‘where’s your dad?’ They are told, ‘I never see your dad.’ With help from Kids Hurt Too Hawaii, they have been able to answer those questions. Kids Hurt Too Hawaii has made them feel like they are not alone. It has helped them work through their feelings and has made it easier for them to talk about their feelings.”

Zeph and Kanani are among the more than 250 grieving children, between ages 3 and 19, that every year turn to Kids Hurt Too Hawaii for a safe space to express feelings about their loss of a parent to such factors as a divorce, death or incarceration.

Drawing strength from peers

Cynthia White sits in on peer-support group meeting for kids who have lost a parent.

HONOLULU — For a glimpse of the effect of Kids Hurt Too Hawaii on grief-stricken children, look no further than a peer-support group that meets monthly at the Kukui Center near downtown Honolulu.

About 19 kids, who lost a parent to death, divorce, or incarceration, gathered for up to two hours to share memories of Thanksgiving Day together with their families.

The kids, between ages 3 and 12, also took turns talking about what they are thankful for as part of ongoing efforts by Kids Hurt Too Hawaii to help children, struggling with sadness and feelings of isolation, draw strength from their peers.

“Our hope is that our support can enhance a family’s ability to see a sad and despondent child smile again,” said Cynthia White, executive director of Kids Hurt Too Hawaii.

Helping foster kids take charge

Seymour Kazimirski volunteers time to talk with former foster youth about taking charge of their lives.

HONOLULU — In the latest example of its efforts to restore hope to grief-stricken children, Kids Hurt Too Hawaii continues to take steps to help a group of former foster youth focus on goals.

The nine youth in the group met for their weekly meeting led by Seymour Kazimirski, a Kids Hurt Too Hawaii volunteer, who brings expertise in a full range of professional experiences.

Kazimirski led the youth, between ages 17 and 26, in a group discussion centered on identifying and reaching goals imp source.

Kazimirski is among Kids Hurt Too Hawaii’s dozens of volunteers who are enthusiastic about the organization’s mission and demonstrate their excitement by willingly devoting time and energy toward helping it reach its goals.

“I am so grateful that life has been so good to me that I want to help others in making life good for them,” Kazimirski said.

Helping kids of terminally-ill parents

Cynthia White speaks during workshop at St. Francis Healthcare Systems of Hawaii.

HONOLULU — An estimated 50 doctors, nurses and social workers are expected to benefit from a presentation led by the top executive at Kids Hurt Too Hawaii and meant to help children with seriously-ill parents.

They walked way from the presentation by Cynthia White, executive director of Kids Hurt Too Hawaii, feeling better equipped to help children when their parents are seriously ill.

White’s hour-long presentation was arranged by the St. Francis Healthcare Systems of Hawaii, which tapped expertise at Kids Hurt Too Hawaii for help with its efforts to better support young children of  patients who are seriously ill or fragile.

“I answered questions and talked for about an hour,” White said. “One  social worker who attended walked me to my car afterward to tell me that she benefited greatly from my presentation.”

Kid's Heart Project

Kids Hurt Too Hawaii will be in Japan from November 21-December 4, 2013, assisting with children tsunami victims support groups, conducting training, and continuing to assist victims with understanding and managing trauma and grief.

This would not be possible without the support of Acura of Honolulu/Dan Keppel sponsor of Ai on Japan Golf Tournament and Benefit Concert/Banquet, Children’s Grief Support Station, donors in Hawaii and Japan, and the compassion of the Tohoku people.

Thank you  http://ciao-ciao.co.uk/news-reviews/ Acura of Honolulu for the  http://kao-studio.com/work/donaukanal/ Ai on Japan Golf Tournament and Benefit Banquet and Concert, a fundraiser to support the Kid’s Heart Project that provides grief and trauma care and training in Tohoku.

Thank you to all sponsors, donors, and volunteers espanafarmacia.net. The event was a big success.

 

Current Events!

Training Opportunities

Next Children’s Grief and Trauma Facilitator and Mentor Training

August 2016

To register please contact Kids Hurt Too Hawaii at (808) 545-5683 or [email protected]

All four days are required prior to working with children in peer support groups. If you are interested call 545-5683 or send in your registration.

We have upgraded our training to include up to date information on childhood trauma and strategies for working with traumatized children.

Volunteers are needed to facilitate in peer support groups with children, teens, or adults. We ask for a one year commitment to provide consistency for the children. Volunteer time can be as little as four hours once a month or four hours twice a month. The cost is $125 or you can apply for a sponsorship if the fee is an obstacle for you.

The training is available for those who do not plan to or are unable to volunteer but the cost is $550.

January 2014 training graduates with two repeating the skills portion of the training. Welcome and thank you all.