For the past 13 years, the Lost and Found Greif Center in Springfield has guided those in the community through the most difficult times of their lives.
For the past four years, memorial balloons are released in Springfield in honor of loved ones who have passed away.
The Lost and Found Greif Center is behind the event. They provide grief support to adults, children and families and help find peace as they learn to continue life without their loved ones.
“Lost and Found is here,” says Nannette Thomas, program and resource coordinator. “We are a safe place for kids to be able to come and share their stories and kind of figure out how to process that loss. It’s a lot for an adult to figure out, to process loss and grief and how to keep going on in life and for a child it’s even more complicated.”
The Center has 70 volunteers that help children and their loved ones through the journey of grief. Many suffered losses as well.
Sara Morton’s sister was murdered in 2001; today she volunteers her time to help middle school aged children.
“I've learned a lot about myself by being a part of it,” Morton says. “I mean these kids come in and they've experienced probably the worst thing that will ever happen in their life and they're just so strong and so brave. To see them come together and unite it’s an amazing process and to be a part of. That is so rewarding, you can't help but be a part of that I guess.”
On average, from the time a child and their families walk into the house they spend nine to 18 months here before going out on their own. But the doors are always open if they wish to return.
“But I think really the message of Lost and Found and grief support services is that people aren’t alone in their journey,” says Thomas. “That there are other people who have been there and now what it is like and I think that is really one of the most healing aspects of loss and found is just to know that you are not alone.”
The Center was founded by Dr. Karen Scott and former-attorney-turned-chocolatier Shawn Askinosie.
Askinosie lost his father as a teenager and struggled with grief. Dr Scott worked as counselor in specialized work with terminally ill teens.
The Center is no cost to those seeking help.
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