our story

In 1998, Carrie Kenyon, the Family and Children’s Services Coordinator at Lewis-Clark Early Childhood Program, noticed year after year, a child in her classroom experienced the death of a parent or sibling.  She was troubled by the lack of services for these children and contacted the Dougy Center to arrange for them to present a two day workshop.  The first day focused on children and grief while the second focused on the process to start a bereavement support group.  From that workshop, a handful of people came together and formed a steering committee to present the idea to the community.  A year later, a board of directors was formed, volunteers were solicited and Willow Center, Inc. was born.

In January 2000, the program opened to start the first children’s bereavement support group in the region.  The plan to begin with one group quickly changed to two when eleven children of various ages signed up for services plus a group for caregivers/parents.  In the second year of operations, the participants doubled in size which was a clear indication that the services were much needed in the LC Valley and surrounding areas.

We currently offers four different support groups for children and teens.  A pre-school group (ages 3-5), a primary group (ages 6-9), an intermediate group (ages 10-13), and a teen group (ages 14-18).  A concurrent support group is also available for the adult. 

Caregivers & Parents of the Children that are Attending

In 2010, we were fortunate to begin a partnership with the Eluna Foundation to begin a ten year commitment to host Camp Erin, a weekend, overnight bereavement camp for kids ages 6-17, who have experienced the death of a loved one.  Camp Erin is free for all children that attend.  Over the course of the years, this camp has grown to 60 children attending from the Pacific Northwest in 2018.

As the program continues to grow, the Willow Center staff and Board of Directors are diligently working to gain more funding that will help provide continued training for volunteers, staff support, resource materials for participants and a space to call our own.


support us and change the course of a child’s life today!

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