Camp Aloha: Helping children live through grief

Full Frame

Camp AlohaCamp Aloha helps children cope with grief after loss of a loved one.

Heart disease claims tens of millions of lives every year and for loved ones left behind, the loss can be very painful.

Nestled in the outskirts of Savannah, Georgia, Hospice Savannah provides those in need with end-of-life services.

Part of the non-profit organization’s mission is to also help people in the community with grief counseling and assistance as they deal with life after saying goodbye.

Hospice Savannah’s independent grief and loss center, named Full Circle, hosts an annual retreat called Camp Aloha. It gathers children, between the ages of six and 17, from all economic backgrounds, who are coping with grief after the death of a loved one.

Camp Aloha: Helping children live through grief

Camp Aloha helps children deal with grief after the death of a loved one.

Malik Knight is a camp counselor and former camper.

“I lost my grandma, and I came here,” says Malik. “My grandmother was a big part of my life and I loved her.”

While children are often called the “forgotten mourners”, the peer activities and understanding environment at Camp Aloha encourages them to express their feelings and hopefully find comfort in the shared experience of grieving.

Jamey Espina is the vice president of Service Excellence for Hospice Savannah. He says while the camp is a place where kids can have fun, it also provides support.

“They learn how to use physical activity to deal with grief,” explains Jamey. “They learn how to laugh and know that it’s ok to laugh and to know that from crying to laughter is all part of the journey, part of the process.”

Full Frame visited Camp Aloha to hear these children’s stories first hand.
Follow Hospice Savannah on Twitter: @HospiceSavannah