Dumas ‘Hope Camp’ helping youth deal with grief

Local News

DUMAS, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Dealing with grief can be tough, especially at an early age. A Dumas ISD counselor has stepped up after she saw the limited amount of resources that help young students deal with grief.

As an elementary school counselor, Tonie Crawford has a passion for wanting to help her students out any way she can. That is how she realized that some students were having trouble handling a tough subject.

“I started noticing that we had a lot of students that were dealing with grief. They’ve lost parents, siblings and other loved ones,” said Crawford.

Crawford also saw that some did not have the means to come to Amarillo for grief counseling classes. So with that, she decided to educate herself through the hope and healing program.

“I could go to a two-day training and learn all about grief and what they do and bring the curriculum and start the camp here,” said Crawford.

This last summer, Crawford and several volunteers started the first ever hope camp to help kindergarten through sixth graders deal with losing loved ones.

One of the biggest aspects of the camp is learning to cope through various activities, including art therapy, which also helps them to show emotion.

“It’s a way of healing and it’s good,” said Crawford. “It’s good to cry. It’s ok to cry.”

Helping out Crawford is seventh grader Diana Reyes. She has experienced tough times after losing her father at a young age. Reyes said it gives her joy knowing she is doing what she can to help.

“I felt like if I would help the kids feel better, it would help me feel better,” said Reyes.

Also helping the kids is knowing their loved ones cared for them too.

“We honor them, we respect them, and we memorialize them, and we live our life in a way that they would be proud of,” added Crawford.

While the camp has already wrapped up this year, Crawford told us they will have one next year.

The camp is completely free of charge.

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