WILMINGTON, Del. — With some help from the widow of a slain state trooper, counseling services her daughter used to deal with grief, which had been suspended, will soon be available again for other children.
Supporting Kidds, a nonprofit family grief counseling service, had cut out one-on-one programs over funding issues. But Louise Cummings put on a fundraiser that collected $40,000 to revive the service, enough to allow individual counseling for another year.
And that’s just the start, Cummings said.
“We are now creating a long term plan of sustainability for Supporting Kidds to continue and grow it’s mission of helping our children and families who are grieving the loss of a loved one,” Cummings wrote on Facebook June 25.
Supporting Kidds merged into the nonprofit Children and Families First last year but, without the kind of donations the counseling service received in years past, keeping solvent meant ending the one-on-one sessions and leaving only group meetings active.
“The group and the individual programming really work hand-in-hand,” Supporting Kidds Program Manager Nicole Smith said earlier this month. “When we’ve lost the ability to help them in an individual way, we’ve lost a ton of families.”
Cummings’ daughter, Abigail, attended individual counseling sessions after Delaware State Police Cpl. Stephen Ballard was murdered while on duty in 2017. Ballard was a father figure to Abigail, and Cummings said Supporting Kidds helped the girl process dark feelings.
Cummings hosted a fundraiser on June 7 at Constitution Yards in Wilmington. Its “Light the Pathway” theme was emphasized by the purchase of electric candle-lit memorials that raised $10,000 themselves and inspired $20,000 in matching gifts from two donors.
“For me, it was somewhat personal,” said St. Francis Hospital’s Dr. Sandra Gibney, who matched $10,000 in donations at the fundraiser. “It touched me what they do there.”
Gibney said she’d offered to support the program even before she learned her goddaughter, who lost her father to a heroin overdose, recently had participated in a Supporting Kidds group session. Now she’s going to help the program long term.
The other $10,000 donation from the fundraiser came from the Carrington Charitable Foundation. Cummings said Jim Carrington is a longtime supporter of the nonprofit.
Gibney said she wants to continue donating $10,000 herself over the next two years. She is hopeful two other donors might match that donation over the same time.
“It’s just so important for these kids to have this other level of wraparound services and I didn’t want to see it go away,” she said. “If I just did this for one year, it would be in vain.”
— (Delaware News Journal via the AP)