This box is a ‘priceless resource’ for Arizona kids and teens
Pay It Forward is sponsored by America First Credit Union and Super Star Car Wash.
The pandemic has exacerbated loss for Arizona’s families. Thousands of moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, and uncles died from COVID-19 complications, leaving their loved ones crippled with grief. It’s especially tough for kids and teenagers who have a hard time expressing their emotions. They box up their grief inside them and don’t understand how to process the loss.
That’s where a local grassroots effort, Boxed Up Project, comes in.
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The story behind Boxed Up Project
A local high-schooler who has experienced a fair share of grief herself created it. Milan Coraggio-Sewell lost her best friend when she was just 6 years old. The two families were together on a trip when it happened.
“All I can remember from that trip is that one day I was playing with my best friend on the beach and then I never saw him again,” Milan explains on Boxed Up Project’s website. “I couldn’t make sense of the sadness I felt. I didn’t know how to express what I was feeling and kept everything boxed up inside me. All I knew was that I was angry, sad, confused and I was empty.”
Milan couldn’t find a way to channel her grief when she was 6. When two of her grandparents died a few years later, she found herself lost again. “I felt like no one understood my pain because I didn’t even understand it.”
Milan created Boxed-Up Project in 2021 to help other kids and teens like her understand their loss and unpack their grief.
“When struggling with grief, loss, sadness, anger, and loneliness, it can feel like life will never get better,” Milan says on BoxedUpProject.org. “I want to help kids realize how resilient they can be so they discover all the things in life that bring them joy.”
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Run by youth for youth, Boxed Up Project created grief toolboxes to help kids and teens process and cope when they experience grief and loss. Each box contains items carefully selected by grief experts, including books, art supplies, comfort cards, photo albums, a journal, and more. The boxes are designed for two age groups -- 5 to 11 and 11 to 17 -- and include resources for adults to support kids and teens struggling with grief.
Boxed Up Project donates boxes -- more than 500 so far -- to several community organizations.
- New Song Center for Grieving Children
- Billy’s Place
- Stepping Stone of Hope
- Open Hearts Family Wellness
- Ryan House
- The Navajo Nation
- Society of St. Vincent DePaul
Because so many kids and teens lost loved ones during the pandemic, Boxed Up Project is struggling to keep up with the need for grief boxes.
You can help Boxed Up Project get grief toolboxes into kids’ and teens’ hands
This summer, Arizona’s Family and our Pay it Forward partners -- Super Star Car Wash and America First Credit Union -- are Paying It Forward to Boxed Up Project.
With essential tools to help kids and teens deal with their grief in a healthy way, each box costs $40 to make. Arizona’s Family is hosting a donation drive all day on Wednesday, June 8, to help Boxed Up Project put together as many boxes as possible. Every penny donated will go to box production.
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