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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Campus renews support group for students coping with grief

    Tu Nidito volunteer and facilitator Dawn Kossmann sits below a mural honoring a former member yesterday at the Tu Nidito childrens center. Tu Nidito is a nonprofit organization that assists children and families with life-threatening illnesses.
    Tu Nidito volunteer and facilitator Dawn Kossmann sits below a mural honoring a former member yesterday at the Tu Nidito children’s center. Tu Nidito is a nonprofit organization that assists children and families with life-threatening illnesses.

    Years after Dawn Kossmann lost her mother to cancer as a teenager, the studio art senior credits a local charity’s grief support group with saving her own life.

    On Oct. 12, Kossmann plans to return the favor to UA students who struggle with their own losses, by offering the same resources as a volunteer in a biweekly grief support group.

    “”It’s something that I can definitely relate to, considering my experiences,”” Kossmann said. “”This will offer them a place to come and deal with whatever they’ve been through.””

    The program will be an opportunity for students to link up with others who’ve experienced losses and to learn new coping techniques from experienced counselors, said Ciara Manson, development director for Tucson’s Tu Nidito charity.

    Any person between age 18 and 29 who needs to talk is invited, including nonstudents, Manson said.

    “”This will be a great place for young adults to meet with other adults who have experienced a loss,”” Manson said.

    Tu Nidito is best-known for nonprofit assistance over the last decade to more than 800 children and teens annually who have experienced illness or deaths in the family.

    The charity is eager to resume services for UA students after a two-year hiatus, which began after the loss of their meeting space at the St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center at the University of Arizona.

    About 15 students would attend each of those meetings, and organizers expect similar turnout eventually, Manson said.

    “”That program was really successful,”” Manson said.

    The young adult support group was revived with new meeting space recently donated by the Campus Christian Center, 715 N. Park Ave., when Episcopalian minister Jim Strader “”felt moved”” as he learned of the charity’s desire to be active on campus again.

    “”I said ‘We need to make this happen,'”” Strader said. “”I’m not one to shirk away from these sorts of things.””

    Although the group will meet under the roof of a religious facility, worship activities will not be part of the Tu Nidito program, Strader said.

    “”My interest is to provide space for what I feel is a real good cause, and if that means they just need us for meeting space, that’s just fine,”” Strader said. “”And if they need us for spiritual support, that’s just fine too.””

    Tu Nidito’s support group arrives at a key moment. As the holiday season approaches, stress is often heaped on students who are already in crisis, said Marian Binder, director of counseling and psychological services at Campus Health Service.

    This will be a great place for young adults to meet with other adults who have experienced a loss.
    – Ciara Manson, development director for Tucson’s Tu Nidito charity

    “”Timing can certainly interact in such a way that may make grief seem more acute,”” Binder said. “”Our services are in high demand all year around, but certain times of the year they do seem to focus more.””

    The return of Tu Nidito’s and Kossmann’s grief counseling services on the UA campus are quite welcome, Binder said.

    “”I think it’s important with any problem to have multiple sources of help,”” Binder said. “”We have referred students to (Tu Nidito) quite a bit. We’ve found that their services are well-utilized by students.””

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