The KinderMourn Story
The KinderMourn story began as the vision of Lucy and Bill Christopher following the death of their infant daughter, Sally. Lucy had a vision to help parents cope with the loss of a child and that vision became KinderMourn. In 1978, the agency began with two volunteers in donated rooms at Dilworth United Methodist Church.
Seven years later, KinderMourn had established two support programs. The Grieving Parent Program meet the unique needs of parents grieving the death of a child, regardless of the age of the child's age or cause of death. The agency's Empty Arm's Program provided counseling services to parents experiencing a pregnancy loss or newborn death. Needing more staff, an executive and program director were hired. Under their guidance, the agency grew and the program expanded to include individual and family counseling, community workshops and professional in-service training.
Public awareness of the KinderMourn program increased referrals and the need for support services grew. KinderMourn worked to establish a stable funding base to accommodate the accelerate growth and in 1987, KinderMourn became a member agency under United Way.
Both the organization and its services expanded considerably as KinderMourn celebrated its tenth anniversary. Over the next several years, community awareness and education was heightened through a speaker's bureau, annual seminars for professionals and increased volunteer programs.
Awareness of bereavement issues brought requests from the community for support services for grieving children. In 1992, the Grieving Children's Program was created at KinderMourn to provide support to bereaved youth coping with the death of a family member or friend.
In 1994, KinderMourn established Helping The Hurt, an outreach program providing support to at-risk youth grieving the death of a family member or friend. Continuing the model today, KinderMourn staff provide support groups and counseling services to youth in local schools and community centers.
KinderMourn achieved its dream for a permanent home through the efforts of friends of Carter Seawell, a Charlotte executive who died suddenly at the age of 34. Carter's daughter was served by the KinderMourn children's program following his death. A campaign with a goal of $300,00 was launched in 1995 to purchase a house at 1320 Harding Place. Withing six months, the goal was met and KinderMourn moved into the KinderMourn Carter Seawell Home, which provided the much needed counseling rooms, administrative and staff offices for the next phase of growth.
Three short years later, the agency underwent a second campaign to raise $1.3 million dollars to expand the size of the home and accommodate for the increased growth for both in-house services and Helping The Hurt outreach. The addition to the existing KinderMourn Carter Seawell Home would include a playroom for young children, space for art and recreational therapy and a room for grieving teens.
Today, as KinderMourn celebrates its 41st year, the agency now has a professional staff of 28 with a twenty member board of directors and hundreds of volunteers serving its mission and continuing to provide a unique program offering empathy, understanding and hope to those who have suffered unthinkable loss.