Richmond, VA, September 04, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- When the national bereavement camp organization Comfort Zone Camp responded to the World Trade Center attacks ten years ago, it provided free therapeutic services to the children of September 11th victims less than two months after the attacks. Its services were provided through weekend camps in the New Jersey area where campers were paired with mentors, placed in age-based support groups, and also experienced traditional fun camp activities. Initially, these camps solely served children of 9/11 victims and, after four years, those children were transitioned into Comfort Zone Camp’s traditional camps with other children and teenagers who had lost a parent or sibling due to a variety of causes. Today, many of these staff and volunteers from Comfort Zone Camp, who worked in direct response to the 9/11 tragedy, look back at the progress the children have made over the last 10 years, and plan to hold a reunion camp for those children of 9/11 victims in 2012 for the camp’s 10th anniversary.
“These children and teens came back to camp year-after-year, which helped them continue putting their lives back together, despite the story constantly resurfacing with the trials, changes in funding, construction on or near Ground Zero, and with the death of Osama Bin Laden,” said National Program Quality Manager, Kim Kaufmann. Kaufmann first came to Comfort Zone as a volunteer at the camps for the children of 9/11 victims and came on staff in 2009 to provide clinical oversight.
“I’ve seen these children grow over the years and know that if they hadn’t received the support from our program, they would have taken a very different path,” continued Kaufmann. “They are now such confident young adults, with a desire to give back and make the world a better place.” She added that the impact of the age-based support groups, confidence building programs and safe risk-taking activities that are the foundation of Comfort Zone Camp’s program is proven by seeing where they are today.
Comfort Zone matches each camper with a mentor for the weekend experience. Called a Big Buddy, this mentor gives the child or teen individual attention and support. It is a common trend for campers to become volunteers once they age out of the program. Kaufmann says that has been true about the children of 9/11 victims, noting that who attended the first camps developed a desire to later give back by volunteering as a Big Buddy. She remembers one of the campers-turned-volunteer going on to become a mentor to a seven-year-old who had been an infant when his father was killed on September 11th.
“The children and teens of 9/11 victims are not the only ones making a positive impact on those attending Comfort Zone Camp now,” Kaufmann noted. They also made an impact on her: “The confident, inspiring young adults I know today are not the same, scared and lonely children that showed up on that first day of camp—and, I’m not the same either, thanks to them.”
Comfort Zone Camp continues to provide grief therapy to children ages 7-17 through its camps in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia. The organization also plans to hold a reunion camp for those Comfort Zone Camp attendees who were victims of the September 11th tragedy in 2012, and more information will be provided as details are planned. For more information about Comfort Zone Camp, its work with children of 9/11 victims or its 2012 reunion camp for children of 9/11 victims, please contact Alicia Lane at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-377-3430x203.
About Comfort Zone Camp
Comfort Zone Camp is a nonprofit bereavement camp that transforms the lives of children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver. The free camps include confidence-building programs and age-based support groups that break the emotional isolation grief often brings. Comfort Zone Camps are offered across the country and year-round to children ages 7-17 years old. Comfort Zone Camp has offices California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and is headquartered in Richmond, VA. In 2012, Comfort Zone Camp will hold a reunion event to reunite those who attended the camps for those affected by the World Trade Center attacks for 10th anniversary in 2012. More information can be found at www.comfortzonecamp.org.