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Thursday July 30th, 2015 6:16AM

New group reaching out to youth who have lost a parent

By Ken Stanford Reporter
GAINESVILLE - A newly formed organization in Gainesville called Carry On Youth hopes to provide mentoring and recreational services to youth who have lost a parent.

Carry On Youth, Inc., was founded by Gainesville native Nick Howard.

In 1999, Howard suffered the loss of his father, and since then says he has wanted to spread awareness of the unique needs of grieving youth to others. Howard decided to form a nonprofit to bring about awareness as well as assist youth who are grieving the loss of a parent.

The goal of Carry On Youth, he says, is to provide mentoring in areas that are being neglected on an individual basis as well as provide recreational and therapeutic services that seek to pair youth with similar peers. Howard feels that once youth are able to interact with others with shared experiences the healing process can be expedited in most cases.

Additionally, he says he realizes the need for a comfortable outlet to express one s feelings, and that' s where the recreational outings come in. Howard says he hopes they will provide an avenue for participants in the program to feel relaxed about sharing feelings with one another as opposed to a clinical environment that may encourage a child to internalize feelings.

As far as mentoring needs go, he says Carry On Youth seeks to find mentors in many different areas, whether it be academics, sports and arts, outdoor activities, housekeeping and domestic, and many other fields. Howard says he believes a grieving child should not be neglected even in areas that may be an afterthought to most. He says if the person who would have taught a child to hit a baseball or bake a cake is no longer present, then a child may not be exposed to something in which he or she may have found to be of great interest.

"We are focusing primarily on kids in Hall County and then the immediate surrounding areas," Howard added. "We are actively making contacts throughout the Hall County School System and in the mental health field in order to gain referrals of kids that wish to participate in our programs."

Currently, Carry On Youth is planning its first outing which will be a bowling mixer. Carry On Youth is also looking for volunteers for mentoring and recreational services as well as donations. In addition to monetary contributions, donations of gently used clothing and household items are needed for use in the programs or for additional proceeds.

For more details on attending the event, referring a child to attend the event or future programs, or to volunteer or donate email carryonyouth@gmail.com or contact Nick Howard at 770.540.3170, you can also find additional info on our face book page www.facebook.com/carryonyouth.

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