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My name is Heather Cohen, and I am the Program Coordinator for the Kate’s Club satellite Clubhouse in Coweta County. I have a Master of Arts in Communication Studies and will soon (fingers crossed!) have my PhD in Communication Studies. My research focuses on how people who have experienced a close death during childhood use their communication to cope over time. For over a decade, I have been involved with children’s grief organizations across the southeastern United States—it’s safe to say that working with grieving kids has evolved into my life’s passion. Upon moving to Atlanta in 2017, I began my relationship with Kate’s Club, volunteering as a Buddy and assisting with small projects on the side.
My favorite Kate’s Club Coweta memory is a special one. Last year, a new family joined our Coweta location. The children’s mother had expressed to me that her biggest concern was that her oldest son never talked about his grief and seemed very withdrawn at home (which is common). During the kids’ first group, we all shared our grief stories during the Welcome Circle. When it was the new families’ turn to share, the oldest son, without hesitation, talked about his person who had died and the situation surrounding the death. He engaged during all of the activities and connected with a few peers his age. He confronted me at the end of group and confided that he had never felt safe enough to share that story and always felt like he needed to “put on a face” to be “the man of the house.” That disclosure resonated with me—I knew there was a need for a safe space to grieve in the Coweta area and we were finally meeting it.
Although Kate’s Club has been able to impact so many families in Georgia, we recognized that there were areas outside of the greater Atlanta area with families that still needed our support. In 2019, Kate’s Club partnered with the Abby’s Angels Foundation, a nonprofit foundation in Newnan, Georgia. The Abby’s Angels Foundation was created in honor of Abby Bacho, who died at 9-years of age in a car crash in 2012. In addition to helping fund the satellite location in Newnan, Abby’s Angels provides school supplies to children in need, shares awareness about safe and responsible teen driving, and educates others about organ donation. In just over a year, we have been able to provide grief support to nearly 50 families, with our numbers continuing to grow!
The Abby’s Angels Rainbow Run and Family Fun Day is a fundraising event to celebrate the colorful life of Abby Bacho. The 2021 Abby’s Angels Rainbow Run and Family Fun Day is scheduled for July 24, 2021 from 8:00 AM-12:30 PM at Greenville Street Park (the heart of downtown Newnan). In addition to the 5K, there will be food trucks, music, games, a magic show, and a whole lot more! There is also an option to register as a “virtual runner” this year.