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Sunrise Kids Program


Bereavement counselors provide young people support as they cope with emotions and changes that may be difficult, confusing, or frightening. Behaviors and feelings that occur in a typical grieving process are explained, along with ways they can be safely expressed. This is necessary before young people can begin to reinvest their energies into their own futures.

In-School Program: A Sunrise Kids counselor works with a school counselor to facilitate support group sessions within many schools across Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover, and Pender counties. Children referred to these support groups learn they are not alone by interacting with others facing similar experiences. They are empowered to identify and express personal feelings related to their loss and to develop coping skills.

Individual Counseling: An expressive arts therapist is available for individual counseling in her studio office. Young people are encouraged to use their creative ability to get in touch with their feelings through symbols, patterns and images. Artwork can capture memories, emotions and create a direction for the future. Within the school setting, a social worker is available for consultation with school counselors about the needs of individual students who have experienced a death.

Sunshine Camps: A five-day summer camp and a one-day Saturday camp encourage children coping with the death of a loved one to express themselves through play, art, recreation, and small group discussion. They learn the benefits of sharing their experiences with their peers. Summer Sunshine Camp, for second- through eighth-graders, is a Monday-Friday camp in Wilmington. A one-day camp takes place in Whiteville in Columbus County and in Bolivia in Brunswick County. Camp Happy Hearts, also a one-day camp, is hosted by Lower Cape Fear Hospice Mercy Care in South Carolina.

Wilmington Sunshine CampAt Sunshine Camp, young people are encouraged to share memories, express feelings, and learn from their life experiences. Space is limited. Call now to get an application. After an application is received, a meeting will be scheduled with each child and a youth grief counselor at the camp site. Campers must attend this brief meeting prior to camp. There is no fee to attend camp. Donations are accepted.

For more information, call Melinda McKeon at (910) 796-7991 or (800) 733-1476.

Brunswick County Sunshine Camp

Space is limited. Please call for an application. After an application is received, a meeting will be scheduled with a Children and Youth Grief Counselor at the camp site. Campers must attend this brief meeting prior to camp.

Camp facilitator is Jean Roney, Lower Cape Fear Hospice bereavement counselor. For more information, call Melinda McKeon at (910) 796-7991 or (800) 733-1476.

Columbus County Sunshine Camp

Columbus Sunshine CampSpace is limited. Please call for an application. After an application is received, a meeting will be scheduled with a Children and Youth Grief Counselor at the camp site. Campers must attend this brief meeting prior to camp.

For more information, call Melinda McKeon at (910) 796-7991 or (800) 733-1476.

New Hanover County Sunshine Camp

2017 Camp Dates

June 26-30 Rising Second and third graders
July 10-14 Rising fourth and fifth graders
July 24 – 28 rising sixth, seventh and eighth graders

Camp is Monday through Friday from 8:30 am-12:30 pm at our Phillips LifeCare & Counseling Center, 1414 Physicians Drive in Wilmington.

Space is limited. Please call for an application. After an application is received, a meeting will be scheduled with a Children and Youth Grief Counselor at the camp site. Campers must attend this brief meeting prior to camp.

For more information, call Melinda McKeon at (910) 796-7991 or (800) 733-1476.

Sunrise Kids is funded through the generosity of donations and grants.

Camp Happy Hearts

Camp Happy Hearts, a free camp for children coping with loss, is offered by Lower Cape Fear Hospice Mercy Care and is open to children ages 5-17 who have lost someone through death, deployment, abandonment or any other circumstances where a loved one or even pet is no longer in a child’s life.

Camp Happy Hearts 2014Camp Happy Hearts’ purpose is to allow children to laugh and play with others who have also experienced loss. The day includes horseback riding, inflatable rides, games, crafting and other fun activities. Bubbles to Heaven is a short ceremony that gives campers the opportunity to honor someone lost. Lunch and snacks will be provided.

Registration is required. For more information or to register your child, contact Tom Badurski at 842-331-2212 or email tbadurski@mercyhospice.org.

Sunrise Teens

Grief support groups for middle and high school students, Sunrise MeetUps, are offered periodically for middle and high school students. These small groups form as the need arises. If you are interested in being part of this experience, please call Children & Youth Grief Counselor Marty Hernandez at 910 524-1872 to find out about this service.

For more information, about Sunrise Kids or Sunrise Teens, please call 910-796-7991.

Contact us today for general information about Lower Cape Fear Hospice, or check out our volunteers page for information on how you can help.