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Grieving youngsters to Feel the Magic at Lake Macquarie camp

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Hunter and Central Coast youngsters dealing with grief from the death of a family member will have access to vital support, thanks to Newcastle Permanent employees.

Through Newcastle Permanent’s CommunityAssist program, staff have donated $15,000 to enable 15 local kids to attend Feel the Magic’s first regional Camp Magic in Lake Macquarie from 17-19 June.

At the three-day event, kids work with a mentor and participate in psychoeducational sessions as well as fun physical activities to help them to face, feel and heal with their grief. 

Feel the Magic CEO Adam Blatch said the Newcastle Permanent employee support would help bring its much-needed programs to the Hunter and Central Coast.

“In Australia, more than 300,000 children will lose a parent before they turn 18,” he explained.

“One in 20 kids aged 7 to 17 will experience the death of a parent.

“Children also experience sibling and legal guardian loss.

“Childhood bereavement causes disruptions in relational, academic, and occupational functioning later in life, and is associated with greater risk of maladaptive coping, mental health disorders, substance abuse, suicide, and early mortality.

“Grieving children can feel isolated and alone.

“They require ongoing support to develop strategies to cope and move forward with their lives.

“Our evidence-based programs have been developed by a clinical psychologist and are delivered by mental health trained professionals.

“We go beyond traditional young people’s grief support groups by offering free camps, programs and resources plus support for parents to create a community of families to support each other.”

An independent evaluation of Feel the Magic’s programs for kids aged seven to 11 showed a 12% increase in their ability to cope through challenging times, 11% growth in their ability to manage emotions when feeling overwhelmed and a 9% shift in mental wellness and belief in the ability to get through tough times.

Newcastle Permanent business manager Sabina Andersson nominated Feel the Magic to her colleagues as a charity worthy of support.

The organisation is close to the heart of a good friend of hers.

She said losing an immediate family member would have a devastating impact on a child’s wellbeing and potential, immediately and possibly for their whole life.

“Feel the Magic is helping individuals deal with their grief and supporting them towards a positive future which benefits the community as a whole,” Ms Andersson added.

“I also like the whole of family approach.

“There is support for parents and carers to simultaneously navigate their grief and the grief of their child, to move forward as a family.

“The other great thing about Feel the Magic is that it brings families in similar situations together to support each other and create a community rather than feelings of isolation.”

Feel the Magic is an NSW-based charity founded in 2013.

It provides free in person and virtual camps, early intervention grief education programs and other resources for kids aged seven to 17 following the death of a parent, guardian or sibling.

The charity’s annual fundraising bike ride will run in the Hunter Valley from 16-19 June and finish at the camp.

To find out more about Feel the Magic’s programs, the bike ride, to volunteer or donate visit www.feelthemagic.org.au

Under Newcastle Permanent’s CommunityAssist Program, employees donate almost $60,000 a year to charities they vote on.

About $1 million has been provided since CommunityAssist began in 1997.

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