American and Israeli Children Learn About 'Good Grief'

Photo: NewsChannel 8

ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - Several dozen children belt out the lyrics from "Cups."

"You're gonna miss me when I'm gone," they sing.

That American pop song seems fitting for a group of kids who all miss someone.

"I only remember the night I got the Chapmans knocking on my door," said Jay Stoddard, a camper.

Home movies help 13-year old Jay remember his dad, James.

Jay was just 4 years old when he learned that his dad had died.

"He was in Afghanistan in a Humvee and a sandstorm came. And it tipped the Humvee and it took a wrong turn off the road and went off a cliff,"Jay said.

At the Good Grief Camp, inside the Crystal City Marriott, Jay is not alone in his grief.

Ori Efraim Bar also lost her father. He died in combat in Israel in 2002.

"Everyone is like me and I don't feel different," said Ori Efraim Bar, an Israeli girl. "I think he is a hero."

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and the Israeli Defense Forces Widows and Orphans Organization bring the children together.

Camp mentors bring support and guidance.

Ten children from the U.S. and 34 children from Israel came for this week's summer camp in Washington.

They will visit historic sites, a military base, and have grief counseling sessions together.

"They are able to find someone who speaks a different language, who is coming from a different culture, but can still understand exactly what they are going through," said Shlomi Nahumson, IDFWO Director of Youth Programs.

"It's so heartwarming just to know that this horrible thing that happened in their life, brings them together," said Diana Wright, TAPS Youth Program Coordinator.

Together these children wrote messages of hope and peace which will placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

No matter the language, they all want the same thing.

"I am usually a shy one at school but these people make me act like I can be normal," said Jay Stoddard.

This is the second year that the two organizations have teamed up. All children were able to attend for free through the help of donations.

Also, a group of U.S. children visited Israel in the spring.

Both organizations say they expect to work together in the future.

For more information on TAPS, click here.

For more information on IDFWO, click here.