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      Grief counseling volunteers celebrate 10 years of service

      "Mourning is one of the most profound human experiences that it is possible to have... The deep capacity to weep for the loss of a loved one and to continue to treasure the memory of that loss is one of our noblest human traits." -- Edwin S. Shneidman, famed American suicidologist

      Anyone whoâ??s lost a loved one knows all too well the pain of grief â?? and for the last ten years, some local volunteers have been helping others work through that pain. And today (Oct. 20), theyâ??re celebrating their own tenth anniversary.

      Since 2003, The Hope and Healing Place has been helping people all across the panhandle deal with their grief on their own terms and get back to living their lives. And while much of the focus is on children, who are naturally more emotionally vulnerable than adults, the house is open to anyone who needs help putting their hearts and minds back together.

      "The death of a loved one and grief and loss is not a respecter of persons; it's not a respecter of age,â?? says co-founder Tricia Trimble. â??It can impact an entire family, and no two members of that family are going to respond to that loss the same way."

      The house features support groups, trained counselors, and a slew of hands-on activities like painting and memorial birdhouses that provide a creative outlet for grief in young minds.

      "No two people's needs are the same,â?? explains Trimble, â??so it's not to try to fix anything or change anything; it's to meet those families and/or those children where they are, and to be with them as they walk through this journey."

      Participants are counseled by a full staff of volunteers of all ages, like Autumn Logan, Trimbleâ??s 11 year-old granddaughter who has been involved with the house since the age of two.

      As a junior facilitator, Logan says her experiences with small children have taught her that grief doesnâ??t affect everyone equally.

      "People take it differently, and at different standards,â?? says Logan, â??so if someone is taking it really hard, and say they have other family members who don't really understand what they're going through, they can come here with other people who are going through what they're going through, because if they don't have anyone that they can lean on, then really, they're just in it on their own.â??

      The Hope and Healing Place offers all of its services free of charge, and is sustained by donations and volunteers.

      If youâ??d like to learn how you can donate or offer your time, follow the link attached to this story.