Dover-Foxcroft, Maine --- What began as a vision two years ago, becomes a reality this week in Dover-Foxcroft. After hundreds of hours of meetings, planning, and trainings, area children and teens and their families now have a weekly peer support group to help support them in grieving the death of a parent, sibling, family member or friend. Evergreen, the Pine Tree Hospice Center for Grieving Children and Their Families offers "Nights of Service" on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:00 p.m. in Dover-Foxcroft starting October 1st. The Evergreen program has received several foundation grants, community donations as well as handmade Linus quilts, toys, games and, most recently, dozens of homemade hearts from the Sebec Lakeside Quilters.
Expressing feelings of sadness, anger, joy, love, and sharing memories in a safe place is part of healing and it is the foundation of the work done in peer support groups. Children, teens, young adults, and adults benefit from a supportive environment with a group of their peers who have suffered similar losses. Evergreen provides a supportive community to foster the discovery and development of each child's own resiliency and emotional well-being and is modeled after The Center for Grieving Children, located in Portland, Maine, founded in 1987.
All Evergreen groups are led by two trained volunteer facilitators (also known as "hearts with ears") who have completed 28 hours of extensive training in areas such as grief, boundaries, confidentiality, child development, age appropriate activities, stress management, safe and fun ways to physically express emotions, special issues of suicide survivors, spirituality, and rituals. Evergreen is a peer support model and does not provide therapy or counseling. When the need for grief support arises, individuals are welcome to begin participation in Evergreen. When the need no longer exists, the individual may bring to a close his/her participation. There is no charge to families to attend the peer support groups.
A 10-minute video is available to anyone who would like to take a closer look at the program. Families interested in learning more about Evergreen can receive additional information about Evergreen by requesting an "Evergreen Packet." Families returning an application will be contacted to set up an appointment to discuss whether Evergreen can meet their needs.
FMI: Contact Pine Tree Hospice at 564-4346 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.pinetreehospice.org.
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