From the darkest of nights, come the brightest stars, A testament proved true one fateful night in January 2016.
Stephanie Pauley has made the most out of a situation none wish to behold. Due to a devastating event in her life, Pauley quickly realized there was not enough infrastructure within the community to properly handle tragic circumstances. The event, one that hugely affected a school and the youth within it, bore the EP7 Youth Outreach program.
The program was revealed to be a necessary part of a grief-stricken community after her son Ethan was killed while sledding in Wheelersburg that winter evening.
“Ethan’s impact on his community was amazing,” Pauley said. “His leadership and inspiration will go on far past his life.”
The organization offers many services to the youth who are going through the bereavement process. The Outreach program has a summer camp known as Camp E’nCOURAGE. It is an animal and arts interactive camp to help children who are dealing with the loss of loved ones. SONshine Memory Boxes, Encouragement cards, and Graceful Healing support groups are just a few among the countless activities at Camp E’nCOURAGE. Camp 2019 was held in partnership with the OU Southern Horse Park and offered equine-assisted learning to better aid those hurting.
The EP7 staff believes the camp is a healthy way to process grief, “Everyone, especially our youth, needs to be able to express their grief and loss through a healthy outlet which is what our grief camp, Camp E’nCOURAGE offers.” Pauley said.
Fortunately, the support groups are not exclusive to the camp. Those, as well as a grief resource library through the Portsmouth Public Library, are available year-round. The nonprofit organization also provides burial assistance funds for those families in need. Education on grief and its effects are offered to the community.
“After E (Ethan) died, I observed a need for grief services focused on our youth and their families as a way to provide awareness that it’s OK to feel sad when we have a loss.” Pauley said, “It’s completely a normal part of life that many of us rarely discuss.”
Her faith is quite strong, as a professing Christian and US Veteran, Pauley would add,
“There is also a societal stigma in that we must be tough and get over it. So it’s important to spread awareness of the ups and downs with grief.”
The Staff of the EP7 Youth Outreach wants to see that grief is handled and processed correctly. That is why they offer so many services to the community. However, they are not stopping there. Another service they would like to implement in the future is education and awareness training for our first responders and classroom teachers.
The EP7 Youth Outreach program gives scholarships to graduating high school students through the Ethan C. Pauley Memorial College & Trade Scholarship Fund. Both college-bound and trade students are eligible to receive these individual scholarships.
To fund all of these services, the Outreach program holds various fundraisers such as car shows and the annual EP7 Memorial Futsal Tournament. In keeping with Ethan’s life long love of soccer, the futsal tournament is the premier event for the organization. It has consistently drawn in teams from all over the tri-state area. The tournament is held in January each year with the next beginning the 25th.
When grief tore apart a community, something beautiful rose from the ashes to bring light to the dark days. The support for and from the organization has been nothing short of astounding. The legacy of a loved son is truly alive and well. Forever giving to a community this family loves so much, through the EP7 Youth Outreach program.
If you’d like to know more or get involved, the EP7 organization can be found online, or through the founder, Stephanie Pauley.
Reach Bailey Watts (740) 353-3101 Ext 1931
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