Turning Sadness Into 'Good Grief' for Kids of Fallen Heroes

May 22, 2015 5:25 PM ET
Judy Mathewson

As we approach Memorial Day, we honor fallen heroes and the volunteers who serve their families. Read about Daily Point of Light Award winner Judy Mathewson and nominate an outstanding volunteer you know as a Point of Light.

For many kids, Memorial Day is just a day off from school, a taste of summer break. But for some children, it can be a reminder of a loved one lost in the line of duty.

That’s where Judy Mathewson comes in. A retired school teacher and member of the Arkansas Air National Guard, Mathewson for two decades has been an integral part of the TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) Good Grief Camp.

During the annual camp, children who have lost a parent, sibling or other close loved one in the military meet each year in the Washington, D.C., area over Memorial Day weekend.

Young survivors are paired with active duty military mentors who teach them about how the country honors fallen heroes. The campers see they are not alone in their sadness, making new friends and participating in special sessions geared toward their age to help them manage their grief.

“Children and teens meet others of their own age group to share and learn together,” Mathewson told Counseling Today. “[They] have fun while discovering how to cope with the pain they are experiencing. They learn a lot from each other.”

Read the rest of the story on the Points of Light blog.