helping youth heal from trauma
Kids Above All is proud to announce that we have partnered with the Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation to assume operational control of Camp Sheilah, a grief camp for youth ages 7-17 who have lost a parent or sibling to homicide.
Read more about the partnership below:
NONPROFITS PARTNER ON GRIEF CAMP TO HELP KIDS IMPACTED BY HOMICIDE
Kids Above All takes over operations of Camp Sheilah to help youth heal from the trauma
In the Chicagoland area, children and young people—especially from black and brown communities—are dying at unprecedented rates from violence, and Illinois is ranked in the top 10 nationally for death rates related to homicide, per the CDC. The impact on a child from a family member’s death due to homicide is devastating and life-altering. That’s why Kids Above All and the Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation have officially come together on Camp Sheilah, a grief camp specifically tailored to help youth ages 7-17 cope with the loss of family member to homicide.
“The pain and loss of the young people who attend Camp Sheilah changed their lives forever,” said Kids Above All President and CEO Dan Kotowski. “The partnership between Kids Above All and the Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation ensures these youth begin the very difficult process of healing from the trauma they’ve endured. For Kids Above All, this is also an opportunity to step up and stand up for the safety and well-being of all children in every community in and around Chicago.”
Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation’s Founder, Kevin Doyle, lost his mother to homicide when he was 17-years-old. In 2009, he created the Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation in honor of her and the first Camp Sheilah took place in September of 2011.
“It’s hard for people that haven’t gone through this to understand what it’s about,” said Kevin Doyle. “When you go through it, you feel very alone. We bring kids and families together so they know they’re not alone in this grief journey and that what has happened to them does not define their path forward. Partnering with such a dedicated and empowering organization like Kids Above All will allow Camp Sheilah to grow and thrive and we know they will take care of these kids, and always put them first.”
Due to restrictions from COVID-19, this year’s camp took place virtually on September 11 and 12. Activities included s’mores, writing exercises, art projects, grief circles and a memorial celebration.
Attendees will leave camp equipped with tools to continue to work through their loss, as they move toward a brighter future.
“We inspire courage in our campers by challenging them to do what they would normally be afraid to do. These skills help in situations that trigger their loss, such as a monumental moment or life event that their loved one isn’t going to be present for. We help them learn how to navigate these situations and carry on in their journey,” said Kids Above All Chief Clinical Operating Officer and Camp Sheilah Director Jeri Laureano. “Everyone’s journey will be different and there’s no rule or treatment that will get you over your grief quickly. Kids who have lost a family member never get over their grief, but we can help them get past it and live with it. If anything, this is a life lesson.”