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RACINE — MargaretAnn’s Program (MAP) is a free monthly support group offered to grieving children, teens and their caregivers at Family Service of Racine.

Originally an independent nonprofit founded in 1998, MAP became a program of Family Service of Racine (FSR) in 2014 when the original agency closed. The program helps youth to process the loss of someone close to them with peers. Groups are led by certified therapists and trained volunteers who place the participants in age appropriate small groups to allow for the most benefit and connection.

Historically MAP didn’t meet during the summer months but that has now changed.

"This didn’t make much sense to us or the families involved in the program,” according to FSR Executive Director Liz Hanson Will. “Since when do we get to take a three-month break from grieving? It was an easy decision to expand programming to year-round.”

Another evolution of the program is the inclusion of the caregivers.

“We realized all the caregivers of the participants were sitting in our waiting room each month so we pulled them into their own room,” said Katie Badeau, program coordinator. “While structured activities are offered to the kids and teens in addition to talking time, the caregiver group is very peer led. These adults have also lost someone very close to them. They are often parenting alone now and have really appreciated the opportunity to bond with others in a similar position.”

MAP also now works with schools to provide a six-week grief adjustment group to students when needed.

“School mental health staff reach out to us when they have a group of grieving children and we go to the school once per week to help the students process their grief in a small group format," said Hanson Will. "We are also available to return for monthly check-ins if the school would like.”

There is no charge for services due to the ongoing generosity of donors. To learn more about MAP or to make a donation to FSR, go to www.fsracine.org. To participate or volunteer, call the office at 262-634-2391.

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