'Kenzies Gift', Dealing with Grief workshop.

Wednesday 13th June 2018

In April Kenzie’s Gift founder and CEO Nic Russell took her ‘Adventures with Grief Workshop’ to our Year 13 and 12 lads, encouraging students to talk about grief and loss.

Nic Russell presenting with her son Conor.
Nic Russell presenting with her son Conor.

It’s a serious topic. What is the right thing to say, and do? I needed to know more about how to handle it. Talking about grief can be tough. It’s a subject Nic Russell is all too familiar with. Her two-year-old daughter Mackenzie was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in 2005. Two months later, Nic was told she had breast cancer. Mother and daughter underwent extensive and harsh treatments. Sadly, Kenzie died in December 2005. Through this experience, Nic realised there was a need for greater understanding of the grief process and more support for children and families struggling with the impact. She founded her charity, Kenzie’s Gift, to help meet that need. Nic offered to come to Dunedin with her 18-year old son Conor and conduct her workshop.  Adventures with Grief brings the subject of loss front and centre, provides strategies for coping, and gets young people talking. Such conversations break down barriers and stigmas around grief and smash that timeworn response, ‘Man up and get over it.’ Nic encouraged the students to participate in discussions and group exercises, to think and talk about grief... 

"Dear grief –things may be tough now, but things will get better."

"Dear grief – I am never going to face you alone."

"Dear grief - I can outlast you". 

She provided strategies for coping at the time and in the future, gave the boys activities, had them getting up, writing and doing. Understanding how young men operate and how to connect with them, she had invested a lot of time and care in the planning and preparation of the workshop. It was geared towards engaging the boys and no-nonsense, light-hearted approach and thick Irish accent made for a very engaging and powerful workshop.  

Boys doing a group work activity at the workshop.
Nic Russell workshop...