I took a tour of the Walker’s House in Canby the other day with the executive director and program director of the Dougy Center. It is the seemingly empty house located across from Wait Park on 3rd Ave that we’ve all driven or walked by many times but do not know what it is.
It is a nonprofit, that also has larger centers in Portland and Gresham, that serves children who are grieving the death of an immediate family member. They host support groups in the evenings. It is a colorful, inviting environment for kids ages 6-18, where they gather to talk and play (fun toys and games!) regularly in order to cope with their grief.
I learned a lot about the grieving process and the importance of a support system so that the kids can express themselves with other adults (and children) who are listening. Having visited the house and felt sad, imagining the kids’ suffering, I’m not sure that I have fully dealt with the sudden death of my younger brother 11 years ago.
If anyone would like more information about this wonderful place, please let me know. They are recruiting volunteer facilitators right now. It would be gratifying work if you have the spirit for it!