Support for children affected by violence - KMSP-TV

Support for children affected by violence

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Camp Kangaroo, from the outside, looks like any other summer camp.

But, unlike most camps, this one is helping children cope with losing a loved one. All of the children attending the 3-day camp have lost someone close to them within the past two years.

From illness to violence, the Seasons Hospice Foundation is teaching them how to grieve.

"They're coming together in this therapeutic environment to express their grief, different emotions of their grief, learn about death education concepts and most importantly to cope with grief and loss and bond with other children," Russell Hilliard from the Seasons Hospice Foundation said.

Several of the children here have been impacted by the violence on the south side of Chicago. Camp kangaroo teaches them they're not alone and to communicate about the loss of a loved one.

"I think that if we can take a 5 year old, a 7 year old, a 15 year old and we can teach them to deal with something tragic, like the death of a special someone in their heart, then we're teaching them coping skills for the rest of their lives," Hilliard added.

The kids were treated to a performance by former American Idol finalist Leslie Hunt. She even learned the song the children wrote.

Although there is no easy way to grieve, the Seasons Hospice Foundation hopes this summer camp will lead them to closure. "My little brother Sean passed away last year... And we were here last year and it was really helpful. I learned that you could always lean on somebody else and they'll help you, you're not alone," said 11-year-old participant KK Mear.

This is the second year the foundation has run the camp. 50 children participated, all between the ages of 5 to 13.

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