It’s been a whirlwind two years, said Jodi Wass as she prepares for the annual fundraiser for the Douglas Center for Hope and Healing, set June 22 at Trimmer Outpost.
Since the center opened in 2011, it has moved to a new location, doubled the number of monthly support group meetings, and is sending 14 children this year to a grief camp at Lake Tahoe in August.
The center’s mission is to provide support for people who have lost a loved one.
That includes children, teens and adults helped to cope with loss and move toward healing.
“We are so thankful to our donors,” Wass said.
She had special mention for Minden Fortnightly which makes an annual donation.
“Their generosity enabled us to send many more children to camp this year,” Wass said.
One of the families helped by the center includes April Walker and her daughter Raeann Nelson, 11, who lost a family member.
Walker is training to become a support group leader.
Raeann is a member of the children’s group.
“The group is wonderful,” Walker said. “Raeann gets to be with her peers. I love that in addition to the socialization and support of her peers in the children’s group, they also do art therapy and music therapy in group. She has thrived since attending, and I am very grateful she has the opportunity to attend. She has made some wonderful friends there, and looks forward to every group she attends.”
“I like being with kids my own age, kids who have been through the same things as me,” she said.
A new undertaking this year is Project Hope and Healing, brightly colored backpacks filled with items distributed to all participants.
“We’re giving these out to people who attend the groups,” Wass said. “We asked the groups what would be good to put in the backpacks.”
She said there were tissues for tears, chocolates, stress balls and punch balls for anger release, and journals, among other items. Wass estimated it costs $25 to fill each backpack, and is seeking donations from individuals or organizations.
Wass, a school counselor and therapist, worked for several years with community members to create the Center for Hope and Healing.
The center gives children and their families opportunities for sharing and self-expression in healthy ways to override feelings of loss, anger, guilt and depression that could surface months and years after a death, she said.
It’s modeled after the Solace Tree in Reno, whose founder, Emilio Parga, was instrumental in helping Wass get the Douglas group started.
Wass estimated 25 families are helped annually by the center.
Wass works with a board of directors and a team of volunteers who undergo 16 hours of training. Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact the center or visit the web site.
The center also offers a 24-hour hotline. The next training session is Aug. 16-17.
The fundraiser is 5-9 p.m. at Trimmer Outpost, 2276 Main St., Genoa. This is the third year the Outpost owners have donated the site.
Tickets are $40 for adults, $10 ages 10 and under.
Limited tickets are available at the door, or in advance by calling 450-2826 or 691-1955.
The Center for Hope and Healing is at 1677 Lucerne St., Suite B, Minden. Information: 775-450-0329, www.douglascenterforhopeandhealing.org.