Children's Grief Awareness Day: 'Billy's Place' helps children cope with death in Arizona

GLENDALE, AZ - A West Valley mom and her son are forming a group to help children cope with death.
 
They will hold a candlelight vigil at Sierra Verde Park in Glendale Thursday evening to mark "Children's Grief Awareness Day."
 
The group is called "Billy's Place" , named after 10-year old Billy McGreal who lost his father when he was 15 months old. His father Mike was killed in a car accident.
 
"It wasn't until he was three that I realized how much it impacted him," said his mother Julie McGreal-Schragel. "He was angry and asking questions about his father."
 
They found a kids' support group in Illinois where they lived.
 
They relocated to the Valley several years ago and now are forming the grief support group to help other kids.
 
Julie explains that kids often deal with things differently and sometimes work out their stress and grief through play or other outlets that adults do not.
 
"We have things like 'scream boxes,' where kids can let it out in a healthy way," she said.
 
Even today, Julie says her son still struggles with the loss of his father. 
 
"It comes up at times," she said. "Sometimes when school starts and the class projects are all about getting to know each other's families it surfaces and he breaks down."
 
The support group meets at a church. They are trying to get the word out to help other kids.
 
It is estimated that 1 in 20 kids under 19 will lose a parent.

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