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Phoenix grief organization for kids benefits from Boxed Up Project boxes

Pay It Forward is sponsored by America First Credit Union and Super Star Car Wash.
Arizona's Family is helping a Phoenix teen who started a nonprofit. Pay It Forward is sponsored by America First Credit Union and Super Star Car Wash.
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 9:09 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- New Song Center for Grieving Children is part of Hospice of the Valley and provides free support to kids and teens who are grieving the death of a loved one. The kids in their program heal through group support, individual counseling, and the help of Boxed Up Project boxes.

“They get to feel included [and] validated,” explained Jill Lovill, one of the child specialists at New Song. “They get to have tools to help them process everything.”

New Song Center for Grieving Children says the impact of the Boxed Up Project boxes starts as...
New Song Center for Grieving Children says the impact of the Boxed Up Project boxes starts as soon as it gets in the kids' hands.(Arizona's Family via Boxed Up Project)

“You don’t want to be known as the kid who has had your special person die,” she continued. “So, maybe you wear a mask to school, but when you’re at New Song, you get to be you and can talk about really hard stuff.”

Boxed Up Project reached out to New Song to create a partnership. They worked hand-in-hand to develop the perfect set of tools to put in Boxed Up Project’s grief boxes.

“They’ve been super helpful, and they all have such amazing resources and such great people to give these boxes to,” Milan Coraggio-Sewell, the 17-year-old founder of Boxed Up Project, said. “They’re creating curriculums around the boxes so that they have their own workshops and classes to help kids go through each item.”

Boxed Up Project was created by an Arizona teen to help other teens and kids.
Boxed Up Project was created by an Arizona teen to help other teens and kids.(Arizona's Family via Boxed Up Project)

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

What’s in the boxes

  • Play-Doh
  • Bubbles
  • Stuffed animal
  • Journal
  • Photo album
  • Stickers
  • Coloring book

“Play-Doh has many uses; one of the big things is it can really settle your nerves,” Lovill explained. “You can be creative with Play-Doh, or you can pound it when you’re mad.”

“Bubbles are fun because they’re mesmerizing to watch,” she said. “But in order to use bubbles, you need to take a deep breath. You’re going to slow your body down and help relax.”

"In order to use bubbles, you need to take a deep breath. You're going to slow your body down...
"In order to use bubbles, you need to take a deep breath. You're going to slow your body down and help relax."(Arizona's Family via Boxed Up Project)

Milan says she’s constantly receiving feedback about how these boxes are helping grieving children.

“Grief counselors from different organizations will e-mail me saying, ‘A girl was really struggling in our workshop, so we pulled her aside and used the bubbles,’ or she wanted to color,” Milan said. “It’s truly amazing to see just a little bit of what we’re doing is helping these kids on their path to healing.”

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

Because New Song offers its services free of charge, Lovill says these boxes help them in their day-to-day operations as a nonprofit. She says the impact of the Boxed Up Project boxes starts as soon as it gets in the kids’ hands.

“It’s something that says, ‘I feel special,’ which is hard to do in grief because it usually feels isolating,” she said. “If you’re handed this box with all of these items inside that you can really connect with, it almost makes you feel special, that you have someone who’s listening.”

Learn more about Boxed Up Project

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