Wild, Wet and Wonderful – Laughter is the Best Medicine

When the last school bell rang we wanted to help our NorthStar families kick off the summer season and what better way than with a Carnival! For over a year St. Francis Reflections limited in person events, so our NorthStar Program Coordinator, Lynn Kiefer set out to find creative ways to engage our NorthStar families. She began providing monthly family days for the families to promote new memories and give them fun-filled days to “just be kids”.  Lynn’s passion for the NorthStar program and her love of helping others has shown through the growth of the NorthStar Program and the community’s desire to become more involved. As plans were developed for our first Summer Carnival we were overwhelmed by business and individuals who wanted to volunteer, provide goodies, prizes and baked goods for the event. Prizes were donated by McDonalds, Sky Zone, Kelsey’s Pizza of Cape Canaveral, Planet 3 Extreme Air Park, CW Theaters and the Brevard Zoo.

Almost 130 attendees, comprised of NorthStar Families and 37 awesome volunteers came together for fun memory making. Kids and their families took part in a cake raffle, enjoyed popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones. They enjoyed having their face painted, Beat the Bucket Challenge, played carnival games to win prizes. Through the generosity of donors, Chick-fil-A lunches were provided for all kids, families and volunteers.

The Cocoa Police Department brought three of their four-legged officers to display their talents.  “K9 Bear” was the celebrity of the day as he and his handler recently won the US Top Dog Challenge.  “K9 Kyra” and “K9 Copper” were also a big hit of the day. ABC K-9 of Mims, FL was also a big hit at the Carnival with their super talented agility dogs. 

Bouncing back from the loss of someone you love is difficult for everyone. Add to that the mind of a child and it is even a more difficult journey. We understand how children grieve differently when they are affected by loss.  Our hope is that the Carnival brought children together with fun activities and gave them a chance to express what they are going through.  It is also a commitment of St. Francis to invite children from all over the county who have experienced loss. The children do not have to be associated with St. Francis Reflections to belong to NorthStar. Beginning October 2021 we plan to have small NorthStar events every month of the year and hold two large events in the summer and winter. When families grieve we want to be there every step of the way and give them opportunities to bond at our events. 

We are grateful to the Community Foundation for Brevard – Barbara Wells Family Foundation, the Cocoa Rotary, our staff, board members, and Community Credit Union volunteers for helping to make this a memorable way to kick off the summer for these special families. It doesn’t stop the grief but for a little while they were able to focus on being kids and creating special memories as a family. If you want to help make those events happen click here:

If you know of a child in need of help click hear to learn more and contact a child grief specialist.https://reflectionslsc.org/services/grief-support/#hospChildrensGrief

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