Camp for Children Coping with Homicide Receives Support from Community First Credit Union | Business

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Camp for Children Coping with Homicide Receives Support from Community First Credit Union

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – Community First Credit Union awarded a $1,000 Investing in You grant to Compassionate Families, Inc., to benefit Camp Maddie, its therapeutic camp that provides grief recovery and support services to children affected by homicide. Camp Maddie serves as a living memorial to Maddie Clifton, an eight-year-old Jacksonville girl who was brutally murdered by her young neighbor in 1998.

“Children affected by homicide often have a hard time navigating their grief,” said Compassionate Families co-founder Glen Mitchell. “Camp Maddie gives these children a place to connect with their peers and lets them know they’re not alone.”

Camp Maddie sessions are normally scheduled in mid-May each year at the YMCA's Camp Immokalee in Clay County. This three-day residential camp provides children aged seven to 17 with coping skills that help them better understand and deal with their grief through a mix of group therapy and traditional camp activities. The camp staff includes mental health professionals experienced in dealing with children's grief, along with an array of trained volunteers. While Camp Maddie serves up to 60 children per session, there are almost 900 young homicide survivors in Jacksonville. This grant will help Camp Maddie expand its capacity for campers and continue its support in aiding children who have lost loved ones due to violent crime.                                                                    

“Camp Maddie provides these children with the resources to help them work through the pain of losing someone so suddenly,” said John Hirabayashi, CEO of Community First Credit Union. “We’re proud to be a part of the community’s efforts to help these children heal from their ordeals.”

Camp Maddie is the fourth winner of six grants that are available through the 2012 Investing in You campaign. The initiative launched in April inviting anyone with an idea to make the First Coast a better place to participate. The credit union awards $1,000 every two weeks for 90 days, with the last winner being chosen July 13. Semi-finalists are chosen based on which ideas receive the most “likes,” with a panel selecting the winners that will receive grant funding from Community First. Entries for the remaining grants can be submitted through Community First’s Facebook page.

Learn more about Camp Maddie, vote on the next winner or contribute your own idea on the Community First Facebook page, or

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