NEW YORK, NY --(Marketwired - November 19, 2013) - The Moyer Foundation and the New York Life Foundation, in conjunction with Children's Grief Awareness Day, announce Healing Hearts - A National Memory Board Project to increase awareness of childhood bereavement and the need for children's grief support services nationwide.
Children, families and adults who have experienced the death of someone close to them are invited to share a photo and/or memory of their loved one via social media channels. The result will be a collection of photos that stand as a tribute to those who have died and as a powerful reminder to grieving children that they are not alone.
To participate in the National Memory Board Project, the public is encouraged to visit The Moyer Foundation's Facebook page and share their story and/or photo on the page's wall with hashtag #MemoryBoard. For Twitter and Instagram, use hashtag #MemoryBoard or #CGADHOPE with your Tweet/photo post. To see the complete collection of photos and memories, visit www.moyerfoundation.org/memoryboard.
"As a society we tend to overlook how grief affects children, despite the tremendous impact it can have on their lives," said Jamie Moyer, former World Series Champion pitcher and Moyer Foundation co-founder and vice president. "We hope the National Memory Board Project will be a source of comfort to these children, and that it will raise awareness of this important issue."
The National Memory Board Project has its roots in a signature activity of The Moyer Foundation's national Camp Erin program. During a special ceremony on the first night of camp, campers have the opportunity to place a photo of their loved one on the memory board and share their story. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the memory board serves as a visual reminder to campers that they are not alone in their grief, reducing the sense of isolation that many grieving children face.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 1.5 million children lose a parent each year, and countless others experience the death of a relative, friend or someone else close to them. Data indicates that grieving children are at a much greater risk for depression, suicide, poverty and substance abuse.
Observed on November 21, 2013, Children's Grief Awareness Day was established to increase awareness of childhood bereavement and the needs and perspective of a grieving child.
"The New York Life Foundation, which recently announced a $950,000 three-year national grant with The Moyer Foundation, has been focused on leading a national discussion about childhood bereavement since 2008," said Heather Nesle, head of the New York Life Foundation at New York Life.
As one of The Moyer Foundation's largest sponsors, the New York Life Foundation and New York Life volunteers from more than 20 different locations across the country are engaged in supporting Camp Erin through employee contributions, volunteering at local camps and other activities.
"We have made tremendous progress, but this issue needs more attention. We are pleased to be partnering with The Moyer Foundation to elevate the national conversation on childhood bereavement and ultimately reach more grieving children across the country," said Ms. Nesle.
The Moyer Foundation's Camp Erin program is designed for children ages 6-17 affected by the death of someone close to them. Since the first camp opened in 2002, The Foundation has expanded to become the nation's largest network of free bereavement camps serving over 2,500 children and teens annually at 41 locations, including every Major League Baseball City.
"Jamie and I continue to be amazed by the healing and transformation that happens at Camp Erin," said Karen Moyer, The Foundation's vice president and co-founder. "Over the years, we have been profoundly moved to see hope returned to so many young lives. We are thrilled to have the continued support of the New York Life Foundation to help fulfill our vision that no child should have to grieve alone."
As a culminating event in March of 2014, images from the memory board will be displayed at the premieres in New York City and Los Angeles of the upcoming HBO documentary, One Last Hug (…and a few smooches) Three Days at Grief Camp, which features The Moyer Foundation's Camp Erin Los Angeles program. Camp Erin is held in partnership with OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center in Los Angeles. From the individuals who post and share their stories, a small group will be chosen at random to be featured at the film's New York City and Los Angeles premieres.
About The Moyer Foundation: The Moyer Foundation is a public, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to provide comfort, hope and healing to children affected by loss and family addiction. Founded in 2000 by World Series champion pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife Karen, The Foundation created and supports two signature programs. Camp Erin® is the nation's largest network of free bereavement camps for grieving children and teens ages 6 - 17. Camp Mariposa® is a free, first-of-its-kind program for children ages 9-12 impacted by a family member's addiction. For more information on The Moyer Foundation and its programs, please visit http://www.moyerfoundation.org.
About The New York Life Foundation: Inspired by New York Life's tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided more than $168 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. Through its focus on "Nurturing the Children," the Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees, agents, and retirees of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program. To learn more, please visit www.newyorklifefoundation.org.