Welcome to the Sweet Pea Project's Blog, part of the Sweet Pea Project's effort to create a supportive and compassionate community for those of us affected by the death of a child. Here you will find updates on the Sweet Pea Project, as well as anything going on in the world that relates to childloss. If you have a suggestion for a topic you would like to see discussed here, I'd love to hear it. Please make sure you stop by the official website, www.sweetpeaproject.org and feel free to email me for any reason at anytime at Stephanie@sweetpeaproject.org.
peace, Stephanie Cole (Madeline's Mom)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sweet Pea Project's 4th Annual Sweet Pea Sisters & Brothers Picnic

There is no greater pain for a parent than the pain of outliving their child.  But we parents are not the only ones who suffer.  The death of a baby can be very difficult on our surviving children, and even our subsequent children. These kids witness their parents wrestling with overwhelming grief, and struggle with their own feelings of sadness and confusion. They deserve a day just to be carefree children, playing with their parents in the sunshine and having fun, and that is what our annual picnic is all about.
Sweet Pea Project will hold this special event for children who have lost a brother or sister during pregnancy or infancy on Saturday, June 7th, 2014.  Parents are invited to bring their surviving and subsequent children to Lititz Springs Park in Lititz, PA, from 4pm-7pm to play, eat, and enjoy each other's company.  This event is free but registration is required.  To register, go to www.sweetpeaproject.org/picnic and click on Picnic Registration Form! Registration will close on April 30.

Just as we did in years past, we will be offering tons of food and family fun activities.  Rita's Italian ice will be handing out free ice, Dancing Bears Music will be performing on the bandshell stage, Ronice Kay Photography will be doing free family portraits, Bob's Critters will be doing live animal demonstrations, Acts of Jennius will be leading kids in some hula-hooping fun, Country Conjuring will be performing magic tricks and Tony the Balunguy will be making balloon animals.  We'll be offering various arts and crafts projects, face-painting, a bounce house, and children will be able to plant flowers from Shenk's Greenhouse.  We'll be serving a picnic dinner and dessert, so bring your appetites!  Grace Photos will be on hand to capture images of the festivities, all of which will be available to our guests after the event.  We'll continue to announce activities as the event date approaches, so be sure to check out www.sweetpeaproject.org/picnic for more!

The idea for the Sweet Pea Sisters & Brothers Picnic came about after Beth Gauthier and Nicole Jackson joined the board of directors in 2010. Both had older children who grieved along side of them when their sons were stillborn and each have had another baby since then. Though support groups exist for parents, very little is offered for children. Sweet Pea Project is excited to be able to reach out to these children through this annual picnic, in honor of Mark and Max.

Monday, March 24, 2014

5k, poetry photos & more!

We are so excited to announce the first ever 5k to benefit Sweet Pea Project!  Kat's 5k Family Run/Walk Presented by Friends of Angels will be held in Strasburg, PA on Saturday, May 10, 2014.  It will be a fun-filled morning to remember our little ones and raise awareness and funds for Sweet Pea Project.  There will be children's activities, music, food, and awards for top race finishers!  See the flier above for more details and registration info.  Please consider drumming up support in honor of your little one by creating a team and running/walking with friends/family.  You can also collect donations from non-participants and send them directly to Sweet Pea Project, and your child's name will be added to a big sign on race day.  Sweet Pea Project will even give a prize to the team that raises the most funds!  Donations should be made payable to Sweet Pea Project, with a notation on the check or in the paypal notes field that says "5k" and the name of the child.  All donations are tax deductible.  I'll be out there running (ok, walking) for Team Madeline, and I would love to see a ton of you there!  If you are unable to participate, but would like your child's name included on the sign, please email Chris@friendofangels.org- no donation necessary.  *Please Note: Every runner/walker MUST fill out their own individual registration form in order to participate in the 5k.  Register today at https://www.pretzelcitysports.com/onlineform1.php?id=467.
Also exciting- I was recently interviewed on live TV in the Author Spotlight Segment of Good Day PA.  During the interview we talked about Sweet Pea Project, my books, and, most importantly, my daughter.  You can catch the segment online at http://www.abc27.com/story/24808569/author-spotlight-to-linger-on-hot-coals, and be sure to tune in on April 14th when I return to the studio to discuss the needs of children who have lost a sibling and the ways in which Sweet Pea Project reaches out to those kids.
I also want to thank everyone who came out to celebrate the release of my new book, to linger on hot coals (www.tolingeronhotcoals.com), with me at our poetry gathering a few weeks ago.  It was a beautiful afternoon, made even more sacred by the 162 candles that lit the space with love. A video of the candles is now up on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OvCTfD8Qs0, if you'd like to check it out. Individual candle images and candids of the poets and the event can be found on the facebook pages for Sweet Pea Project & to linger on hot coals.  We are so grateful to Loving Memories Photography for donating these beautiful images. If you had a candle lit for your little one and would like to download your free high resolution jpg or order prints/enlargements of the candle image, please email me for details at Stephanie@sweetpeaproject.org.
Lastly, for those of you who have surviving or subsequent children who would like to participate in a fun event to remember their brother/sister, please mark your calendar for the 4th Annual Sweet Pea Sisters & Brothers Picnic on Saturday, June 7th, 2014.  Registration forms and event details will be coming out soon!
Hope you are all having a gentle afternoon.