Initiative aims to help kids who have lost loved ones

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A project in the Valley this weekend is aimed at helping children who are dealing with the loss of a loved one. 

Consider it an investment on the front end in their future that could pay dividends to the community on the back end.

"He was an amazing stay at home dad.  He cared for those boys every day, and he just loved them.  They were his life," said Jennifer Decker, whose husband passed away in January.

"He gave the best hugs. I miss him a lot," said Jennifer's 5-year-old son Zachary.

A new initiative may help Zachary, and dozens of other children in the Valley who have also lost loved ones, keep their memories alive through adulthood, bypassing the potential psychological effects of forgetting the people who left them so early on.

"It's more so for self counseling. For instance, Zachary said 'I don't want to forget my dad.'  He said that in his own words. This helps instead of internalizing, and not knowing how to deal with it," said Shana Del Grosso, of Reflection Studios.

Shana partnered up with Mike Maziarka, who's working on a leadership project, to document memoirs for kids at Desert Horizon Park in Phoenix this Saturday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

"We are looking to have as many kids as we possibly can, to make a difference in as many lives as we possibly can," said Mike.

The non-profits "Acts of Simple Kindness" and "The Miss Foundation" are also supporting the event, which is free.

Here are some links to the websites of everyone involved: