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Join us for Portraits of Courage, Friday, October 16

Fears and Worries...How to Help Kids & Teens Who Are Grieving

Brennan Wood Named "Extraordinary Executive Director"

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Portraits of Courage
presented by KinderCare Learning Centers
Friday, October 16, 2020
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October 2020

Join us for Portraits of Courage, Friday, October 16

Portraits of Courage

Portraits of Courage is almost here! Join us Friday, October 16 to learn more about The Dougy Center’s work with children and families who are grieving and hear from a past participant on the continuing impact of The Dougy Center in his life. Plus enjoy a virtual art exhibit with original photos by Dougy Center participants and volunteers around the theme “Through the Lens of Grief.” To watch, go to The pre-cast begins at 4 p.m., followed by the live program at 4:30 p.m.

Dr. BordereAs part of Portraits of Courage, we are thrilled to welcome Dr. Tashel Bordere, Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Missouri. Dr. Bordere’s research focuses on Black youth affected by grief, gun violence, and race-based trauma. Dr. Bordere will discuss how by recognizing suffocated grief and its effects, we can begin the important work toward change.

How to participate:

■ Register here and consider hosting a Zoom party. RSVP to attend or host a virtual table by 5 p.m., Wednesday, October 14, and be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card. The winning name will be drawn live during Portraits of Courage.

■ On October 16, starting at 4 p.m., go to The Dougy Center’s website, The program will be broadcast live through our website.

■ You can make a donation in support of The Dougy Center before or during the event here.


Fears and Worries...How to Help Kids & Teens Who Are Grieving


This time of year is often associated with scary creatures and things that go bump in the night. Costumes and decorations display images that are meant to spark shock and fear, but for kids and teens who are grieving — especially with additional worries that come from the COVID-19 pandemic — Halloween can exacerbate these fears.

Many times, fears and worries are connected to a sense of life being unpredictable. When someone dies, it can come as a shock, leaving everyone unsure of what will happen next. Re-establishing predictability is one of the best ways to reassure children.

Talk with kids and teens about what scares them. If they are hesitant to share, you can open the conversation by making guesses about their worries. This is a great time to bring in some humor and lightness by guessing some outrageous fears first, like, “I guess you worry a huge mountain of spaghetti will fall on our apartment,” or “I guess you worry we will get so many casseroles that we won’t eat anything else for a year!” before easing into more serious ones.

Once you’ve helped identify fears, it can be helpful to do some safety planning together. Even though some of their fears may be things you can’t ensure won’t come true (someone else dying, someone getting hurt or sick) you can work together to outline what you would do individually and as a family if something were to happen.

As a parent or caregiver, being present with your children’s fears can be difficult. Our instinct is often to quickly dismiss their worries because we want them to feel safe and comfortable. Being willing to have these conversations with kids and teens, knowing that you won’t always be able to take their fears away, might require you to take care of yourself before and after. Take a few deep breaths, do some movement, journal, call a friend, or eat a nourishing meal. Choose whatever helps you bring a sense of groundedness, curiosity, and creativity to the process.


Brennan Wood Named "Extraordinary Executive Director"

Brennan WoodBrennan Wood, Executive Director of The Dougy Center, was recently named “Extraordinary Executive Director” as part of Portland Monthly magazine’s 15th Annual Light a Fire Awards.

Brennan came to The Dougy Center at age 12 after the death of her mom. She later became a volunteer and then, in 2004, joined the staff as the receptionist. Now the executive director for the last five years, Brennan is dedicated to expanding The Dougy Center’s services and helped lead our transition to virtual support in the wake of the pandemic.

“I am humbled and thankful to Portland Monthly for this award,” Brennan said. “A non-profit executive director can only be as extraordinary as the team of people who walk alongside them every day. I am beyond grateful to Team Dougy — the staff, volunteers, and Board of Directors — for all they do, consistently and with great care, to support children and families who are grieving here in Portland and around the world.”

The Light a Fire awards program is Wednesday, October 14 at 6 p.m. You can join online and find more information here.


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