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Pouches' Community Corner

LLOST: Loss of Loved Ones to Sudden Tragedy

“Everyone runs the other direction when a baby dies.”

I remember one nurse came into my hospital room while I was recovering from Zara Beth’s stillbirth, and she said nothing about Zara Beth dying. I thought, "Oh, we’re going to pretend nothing happened.”

But there was another nurse who stayed all night in my room with me, the night after our loss. And she did things for me that I didn’t know to do for myself.

Vicki Niblett, now 40, lost her daughter Zara Beth Niblett at birth in 2007. That experience, along with the sudden loss of her 22-year-old brother in 2005, led her and her mother, Eileen Reichler, 66, to create Llost (Loss of of Loved ones to Suddent Tragedy) a 501c3 foundation dedicated to healing people in the first 48 hours after sudden loss. Four of her five siblings serve on the board.

“We funded it with my brother’s life insurance policy,” says Niblett.

The foundation has helped 44 hospitals in 22 states through their Treasured Memories program. The program sends nurses to bereavement training, and provides or supplements the $55 memory boxes that include clothes, booties, handknot blankets, pictures, foot prints, hand prints, clipped hair and other mementos.

“When Zara Beth died, at first I didn’t want to hold her or take footprints. But my nurse, Tammy Ruiz Ziegler, the perinatal bereavement coordinator at MWH, talked me through those feelings. The first time I saw Zara Beth she was wrapped in a beautiful blanket and dressed in a complete outfit from our memory box.” After a few months, I realized what a gift that memory box was. What else do I have that shows she was real, that she existed. My kids know their sister was real through that box.”

keepsake box

The foundation also runs a program called “Grieving, Handle with Care” to educate people on how to help friends and family suffering from sudden loss.

“We found LLost’s information on what to say and not say to grieving parents through Julie Brosnan, our sales representative here at Fredericksburg Parent, after she lost Gwendolyn (Gwen) in her 6th month of pregnancy. We were all so sad and really had no idea how to help Julie, or what exactly to say the first time she came back to a meeting,” says Leigh Anne Van Doren, publisher of Fredericksburg Parent and Family.

“After her loss, Julie located the LLost foundation and showed us some of their materials. We've since added a message to the bottom of our prenatal and baby eletter to say, “If you are unsubscribing due to loss, support can be found at the Llost foundation, www.llost.org.”

“One of the first things I did was unsubscribe to all of the baby emails for Gwen,” says Brosnan. “And I was so angry each time another email came. It’s not rational really. I also was surprised at how angry I became if people called her Gwendolyn, not Gwen. I wanted them to say her name, and I also wanted them to say it correctly.”

October is Infant Loss month. On October 1st, the Llost foundation will hold their annual “Healing Hearts Walk to Remember”at Old Mill Park, starting at noon.

“We can’t keep boxes or pins people wear to show they are grieving in stock,” says Niblett. “We need $4000 to keep six months of supplies on hand.”

But what Niblett really wants is to expand Llost’s reach. “We have a great model. We’ve reached a whole region and we know where the gaps are. Now we want to expand to the whole country.”

Books about Pregnancy & Infant Loss

• A Guide For Fathers: When A Baby Dies, by Tim Nelson

FigmentAn Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: A Memoir, written by Elizabeth McCracken. This touching story written after the author lost her first baby in the 9th month of her pregnancy. This book is deeply moving and will have you not wanting to put it down.

Companioning at a Time of Perinatal Loss: A Guide for Nurses, Physicians, Social Workers, Chaplains and Other Bedside Caregivers, by RN, Jane Heustis, et al

empty cradleEmpty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby, written by Deborah Davis. This book covers things from immediately after the loss all the way to being pregnant after a loss. This book has many quotes form various families that have lost children (pregnancy loss and stillborns) and various topics, such as the differences in how woman and men grieve, are covered.

I Never Held You: A book about miscarriage, healing, and recovery, by Ellen M. DuBois

For a complete list, go to llost.org/resources

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Pouches Joins an Explorer Troop

One Team, One Dream, One Family

pouches explorers

Back row left to right: Caleb Sanderson, Andrew Buck, Garrett Thamas, Pouches, Briann Lussier, Dillon Stewart
Front row left to right: Kylee Tucker, Ashley Woodyard, Alexandra Richards, Cassandra Mitchum

This month Pouches poked her head into an exciting new program for teens interested in law enforcement.

The long running Spotsylvania Sheriff’s cadet program has reorganized as a Boy Scout Explorer troop, said Sgt. Blackington, who took over the program in February 2017.

“We’ve reworked the program to attract a fresh group of applicants,” said Blackington. “The Boy Scouts of America Explorer program is really neat. Not only is it a nationally recognized program that carries a lot of weight on a resume, but the program is directed by the teenagers and young adults themselves, instead of being solely an adult-directed program. They run their own Explorer Post.”

Why are You a Member?

“I’ve always wanted to be a cop”

“I want to help out in the community.”

“I wanted to get out of my shyness and explore new opportunities.”

“I like coming to the meetings; we all talk as friends and family.”


Troop-Supported Events

Blue Christmas
National Night Out
Autism Awareness
Stars and Stripes
Trunk N Treat

The trips, activities and scholarships available through the Boy Scout of America program are another draw.

“We are planning a mini-police week August 7 through 11,” said Blackington. “We will have a K-9 demonstration, a crisis negotiation class and a patrol work lecture.”

The current 12 troop members are enthusiastic about the mission of the program, according to Pouches, who attended their July 11 troop meeting.

“Some of the main things this program is about besides law enforcement is treating everyone with respect. We as an Explorer Post created a motto (One Team, One Dream, One Family) and we follow that to the T. We work as a team to accomplish our dreams as a family. If one member falls we all fall. It’s a brotherhood, just like the department we fall under,” said Blackington.

“We are looking for 14 and 15 year olds who are interested in learning about law enforcement. We would like to start them at an early age and have them stay through 21. Four or five Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s [Department] deputies started out in the earlier cadet program, and we would like to keep encouraging and training potential future deputies.” The program teaches responding to crashes; executing traffic stops, building searches, hand cuffing and learning CPR/First Aid.

If your 14- to 21-year-old is interested in joining, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

police week

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Pouches Learns about Service Leadership

Three years ago, Leadership Fredericksburg alumni Matt Mitchell (’11) and Jennifer Mackowski (’11) and Next Generation board member Phil Leonhardt attended a Chamber of Commerce Next Generation meeting as usual. Luckily for area high school students belonging to Key Club, the speaker at that meeting, Kiwanis Club board member Roger Keddie, persuaded all three to step up and revitalize the Fredericksburg Kiwanis Club, the sponsor for area high school Key Clubs.

Key Club is an international student-led organization offering opportunities to teens to provide service, build character and develop leadership. The Fredericksburg chapter was formed in 1923.

Mitchell, Mackowski, and Leonhardt were happy to take on the challenge.

“Our experience with Leadership Fredericksburg and the Chamber NextGen board prepared us to encourage students to step forward to help their communities,” says Kiwanis Treasurer Matt Mitchell. “We were impressed by the Kiwanis mission to help high school students discover their leadership qualities.”

Since 2014, all three Chamber members have served as President of the club. The club now has 20 active adult members and supports 5 local Key Clubs, including one of the largest in the Capital Area at Stafford Senior High School.

These young students work hard to change their communities for the better. Stafford Senior High Key Club has focused on the Relay for Life event to eliminate cancer. James Monroe High School has worked to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus deaths through the international Eliminate Project.

What is Service Leadership?
Service leadership is the powerful force that occurs once people discover their heart to serve, answer their call to lead and exercise the courage to engage.
It's the premier level of social contribution.

At the June meeting, Aiden Gossett, Key Club Lt. Governor for the Capital Area and a rising Senior at Stafford Senior High, announced that Capital Area Key Clubs’ focus for next year will be supporting area Boys and Girls Clubs.
The Kiwanis Club’s impact on the community is impressive:

  • In December 2016, Kiwanis rang the bell for the Salvation Army red kettles. Their one day contribution of $18,569.47 was the highest in the region.
  • In April 2017, over 20 Key Club students from James Monroe High School, Stafford Senior High, Brooke Point High School and Chancellor High School collected over 700 pounds of trash from Old Mill Park to Bragg Hill Road.
  • The annual golf tournament, just completed in May, raised over $10,000 for scholarships for local Key Club graduates.
  • In 2016, the local Club and the Kiwanis Foundation contributed $30,000 to find activities and provide financial support for young men and women in the community.

If you are interested in joining, check out kiwanisoffredericksburg.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Kiwanis Club

Kiwanis Club members clean up the Rappahannock River region




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Pouches Celebrates Surprise $20,000 Grant to Friends of the Rappahannock

Pouches kayak2

Pouches is ready to kayak on the beautiful Rappahannock River. She’s also ready to learn more about how she can protect the river’s health using the Friends of the Rappahannock new River Report Card, sponsored by a surprise grant from the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region (CFRRR)

The CFRRR voted unanimously to award its first Visionary Grant in the category of Environment to Friends of the Rappahannock to create a River Report Card – an information and awareness tool that will deliver highly accessible local data about the state of the Rappahannock.

The foundation’s review committee selected Friends of the Rappahannock because its River Report Card has the potential to influence the quality of life in our region in the near future and for generations to come. The nonprofit’s staff demonstrates excellent expertise in their field and is equipped to support citizens who wish to take action for clean water.

“If I could sum it up in a few words, it’s a culture of clean water. I want people to recognize we have this incredible resource and we have to take care of it!” said Kathy Harrigan, Friends of the Rappahannock Executive Director.
Going forward, The Community Foundation will award grants to three more nonprofits in the categories of Arts, Human Services and Education.

- See more at: http://www.cfrrr.org/about-us-and-our-initiatives/news-events/breaking-news-the-community-foundation-awards-surprise-20000-grant-to-frien

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Pouches Rides for a Good Cause

Bikers Against Child Abuse, Inc. (BACA) exists to create a safer environment for abused children by empowering children to not feel afraid of their world. Imagine how an abused child feels when a group of large bikers rides up to their house, inducts them into their club and then escorts them to court to testify against their abuser.

BACA member Shadow says, “we exist to fill a hole that the therapists and attorneys can’t fill once the child has to go home. We will stay outside that child’s home until the child feels safe.” BACA lends support to their wounded friends by involving them with an established, united organization. They work in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children. They send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of their organization, and that they are prepared to lend their physical and emotional support to them by affiliation and by their physical presence. They stand at the ready to shield these children from further abuse.

They do not condone the use of violence or physical force in any manner; however, if circumstances arise such that they are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, they stand ready to be that obstacle.

To contact Bikers Against Child Abuse (NOVA chapter), call their help line at 571-279-8908, or visit bacaworld.org.

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Pouches' Community Corner

This month Pouches learned about a very important resource for families who have lost loved ones to sudden tragedy, an organization called LLOST.

keepsake box

The foundation has helped 44 hospitals in 22 states through their Treasured Memories program. The program sends nurses to bereavement training, and provides or supplements the $55 memory boxes that include clothes, booties, handknot blankets, pictures, foot prints, hand prints, clipped hair and other mementos.

Read more...