Phoenix teen paying it forward to Arizona kids struggling with grief
Pay It Forward is sponsored by America First Credit Union and Super Star Car Wash.
Helping Arizona kids and teens unpack their grief one box at a time
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Milan Corragio-Sewell is a 16-year-old in the Valley. When she’s not in school or playing tennis, she’s running her own nonprofit to help kids and teens who are experiencing grief. It’s something she went through at an early age.
“I kept all my feelings inside of me and didn’t talk to anyone about them,” Milan said. “I really struggled because I was just putting it all on myself.”
Milan was only 6 years old with her friend died. She lost her grandparents a few years later.
“I had a lot of unresolved grief from those experiences in my life,” she said. “When COVID-19 hit, I saw a lot of my friends going through the same thing I struggled with.”
Boxed Up Project was born out of Milan’s desire to help kids and teens process their grief. She worked with local grief experts to curate a box of items designed to help them remember their loved one and help them heal.
- Coloring books
- Colored pencils
- Grief books
- Fidget spinners
The boxes also include a stuffed cow, which has special meaning for Milan.
“My best friend had a massive cow, and [he gave it to me] a couple weeks before he died,” she said. “He wanted me to take care of it, and he wanted me to have it. So, having that cow in each box is just a dedication to him.”
Milan and her nonprofit are paying it forward by donating these boxes to organizations that help Arizona families dealing with loss. New Song Center for Grieving Children, Ryan House, Billy’s Place, and the Navajo Nation have all received donations from Boxed Up Project. It’s changing the way these organizations address grief.
“They’re creating curriculums around the boxes so that they have their own workshops and classes to help the kids go through each item,” Milan said. “[They] figure out how to use each item to help families work through the boxes.”
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.
“We’re trying to support [kids and teens] and show that they’re not alone going through their grieving process,” Milan said. “These grief feelings are normal, and we’re here to help.”
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