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Phoenix nonprofit calls Boxed Up Project a priceless resource for grieving kids and teens

Pay It Forward is sponsored by America First Credit Union and Super Star Car Wash.
Ryan House is one of the Arizona organizations that receives bereavement boxes from Boxed Up Project.
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 10:47 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- There are a lot of different wheels turning at Ryan House. They provide medical care for children with life-limiting illnesses, serve as a place of refuge for their families, and provide emotional support for families grieving the loss of a child. Mitch Cohen is a child specialist at Ryan House; part of his job is to help families going through the unimaginable.

"Ryan House's job is to help support families of grieving children and help support siblings...
"Ryan House's job is to help support families of grieving children and help support siblings and the grieving child themselves."(Arizona's Family via Ryan House)

“Ryan House’s job is to help support families of grieving children and help support siblings and the grieving child themselves,” he explained. “We do a lot of memory-making and [family] support.”

Ryan House is one of the Arizona organizations that receives bereavement boxes from Boxed Up Project. Valley teen Milan Coraggio-Sewell started the nonprofit specifically to help kids and teens process their grief.

“What [Milan] was able to create in those boxes, and how much thought she put into each item, I was just in awe,” Cohen said. “She really had an ability to understand what a child may go through while dealing with the death of their loved one.”

Mitch Cohen, a child specialist at Ryan House, says he's "in awe" of what Milan has been able...
Mitch Cohen, a child specialist at Ryan House, says he's "in awe" of what Milan has been able to create.(Arizona's Family via Boxed Up Project)

Milan went through it herself, losing her best friend when she was only 6, and then her grandparents a few times later.

🔗 Phoenix teen paying it forward to Arizona kids struggling with grief

Cohen collaborated with Milan to find the best items to put in each box.

“I’ve come to them with questions, wanting to make sure the boxes can be the best they can be and the most appropriate,” Milan said.

Cohen pointed Milan to a few items he’s used in the past, including a book called “Healing Your Grieving Heart for Teens: 100 Practical Ideas.” She immediately fell in love with the book and started including it in her boxes. It’s something Cohen says is a priceless resource.

A copy of "Healing Your Grieving Heart for Teens: 100 Practical Ideas" is just one of the many...
A copy of "Healing Your Grieving Heart for Teens: 100 Practical Ideas" is just one of the many items in the boxes.(Arizona's Family)

“Ryan House doesn’t have the ability to buy a book for every single kid,” he said. “A lot of times, I’m making copies of the books I have so families are able to take it home with them. But these boxes have a book in it. I can’t say thank you enough to Milan for this program.”

🔗 Phoenix grief organization for kids benefits from Boxed Up Project boxes

“We just really care so much about helping all these kids and teens, and seeing that response is something we’re really excited about,” Milan said.

🔗 You can help AZ kids, teens cope with loss through Boxed Up Project

Boxed Up Project creates grief toolboxes designed to help kids and teens cope with loss.
Boxed Up Project creates grief toolboxes designed to help kids and teens cope with loss.(Arizona's Family via Boxed Up Project)

You can help organizations like Ryan House get their hands on more Boxed Up Project boxes this summer when Arizona’s Family and our Pay it Forward partners, Super Star Car Wash and America First Credit Union, pay it forward to Boxed Up Project. 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.