Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Caring Place Sponsors Art Exhibit

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Caring Place Sponsors Art Exhibit

Article excerpt

Victoria Lydon was 9 years old in 2011 when she lost her older sister, Rehanna, to cancer. Her sister, Makeena, was only 4.

Mia and Marlo Cyanovich were 6 in 2012 when they lost their father, Mark.

The mothers from both families turned to the Highmark Caring Place in Marshall to help their children deal with their grief.

Marcia Shepard, the mother of Victoria and Makeena, is grateful to the center.

"It was so comforting to go there and be around people who knew what you are going through," said Mrs. Shepard, of Forward. She said she heard about the center from friends. With her daughters, she started attending one of the group sessions.

Joy Cyanovich, Mia and Marlo's mother, agreed.

"It has been such a blessing," said Mrs. Cyanovich, of Robinson. "As people came to the funeral home, they kept recommending the center."

The Caring Place opened in 1996 Downtown and in 2009 in Marshall. There also are centers in Erie and Harrisburg.

Since that time, the support organization has helped 90,000 family members who have lost loved ones deal with their grief. The mission is to help children and adolescents and their families through peer support, programming and services.

The center sponsors groups that meet every other week for 10 weeks, in which families and children have dinner. It holds activities and, perhaps most important, gives participants a chance to talk.

"They are closed groups, so they really get to know and trust each other," said Krista Ball, program manager at the Marshall center.

The Caring Place also offers ongoing and one-time programs. As part of these offerings, the children often create artwork to deal with the grieving process.

"Art is a huge part of what we do, especially for our littlest members. They may not have the words to be able to express themselves and can use art," Ms. Ball said.

That artwork is the feature of "A Journey Through Grief," exhibit at the Sweetwater Center for the Arts, 200 Broad St., Sewickley. This is the first time that artwork from the children at the Caring Place will be displayed outside of their facility.

"We had a show here [at the Caring Place] two years ago that was very successful. …

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