How do we grow through difficult experiences?
In this episode, meet Sara Deren, Co-Founder and CEO of Experience Camps, a national, no-cost program that helps grieving children reframe the experience of loss and empowers them with the necessary coping skills to move forward with their lives.
Sara Deren is passionate about improving the lives of grieving children.
Many children that suffer the loss of a parent feel they have no one to turn to, no one that can understand their feelings, and no one to look up to as a model of how they can cope with their grief now and in the future.
Sara was laid off from her finance job while pregnant. This life and career transition motivated her to utilize her business management skills and family resources to found Experience Camps.
Experience Camps is a unique opportunity for children to meet others who have lost a parent and to care for and be cared for by someone who understands their experience.
Today Experience Camps has 6 locations around the country. 1,200 children this year will come to camp, free-of-charge for fun and community building with trained counselors.
It’s a space where they are free to play, mourn, laugh, cry and be themselves, where they develop new strategies and friendships that they can take home with them.
And Sara is just getting started. She is expanding the Experience Camps mission to further improve grief support beyond one week a summer, including ways campers can practice the skills they learned at camp and maintain the close friendships with campers and counselors during the 51 weeks between camp sessions.
Sara’s work inspires Service Academy’s Ryan and Thomas to grow through their own difficult experiences, overcoming their own personal challenges to re-dedicate their personal strengths and resources to develop the next generation of systems change leaders through meaningful service opportunities.
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Service Academy is a youth-led social impact organization committed to elevating the social value of youth service and co-creating youth service activities that map to the life skills that young people value.
WITH SPECIAL THANKS — The Service Academy Podcast is created and produced in coordination with MCS Media, executive producers Donny Dykowsky, Dan Strong, Aaron Kheifets, and Mike Bulger.