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Teens work through grief at weekend retreat

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Universal Home Health & Hospice Care recently hosted a weekend retreat at Marmon Valley Farm for teens working through the loss of a loved one, including a parent, grandparent, sibling or a close friend.

At the event, “Surviving Loss: The Hardest Journey of Your Life,” teenagers learned that there are others like them. The retreat was the idea of Cheryl Varian, Universal volunteer coordinator and retreat director.

“I’ve been wanting to facilitate something for teens for quite some time now and I felt that this was the right time,” Mrs. Varian said. “We’ve been running a camp for younger children for several years now, called Camp Braveheart, but I always thought we could do more for the older youth in our community.”

Sponsored by Caring Hearts of Ohio, the teens, along with volunteer counselors, worked through many activities that relied on each other to help them, whether it was helping someone through a hay maze or sitting around the campfire, the teens could talk about their feelings in a safe environment.

Another activity involved the teens grooming their horses after a trail ride and then painting their feelings on their horse with words and images. The horses then were released from the corral to join the other horses grazing nearby, symbolizing the release of sorrow while their memories remained in their hearts.

At the end of the retreat, Mrs. Varian and the counselors all felt that everyone was able to work through some of the grief they were feeling and that some healing had begun.

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Caring Hearts of Ohio is the 501c3 non-profit fundraising arm for Universal Home Health & Hospice Care’s hospice program that along with providing funds for loss support groups, the teen retreat and for Camp Braveheart, also provides funds to assure services to every patient in need of hospice care regardless of their ability to pay.

The upcoming Camp Braveheart is scheduled for June 11-13 at Marmon Valley Farm. For more information, contact Mrs. Varian at 844-2894.

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