Pay it Forward: The Sharing Place

Pay it Forward: The Sharing Place (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Losing a loved one is heartbreaking, but it can be especially difficult for a child to understand.

That's where The Sharing Place steps in. The nonprofit helps children and their parents process their pain and heal.

"We don't talk about grief," said Chris Chytraus, the founder. "Grief is something that's kind of hidden."

Chytraus knows about loss. She started The Sharing Place nearly 25 years ago, after her husband died.

She couldn't find anything in the area to help her two children, ages 4 and 6, grieve.

"There was just a drive in me that my kids needed grief support and there must be other kids that need grief support," she said.

And it's not just that need the help. Their parents need some support, too, so they can also help their children.

"When you're processing grief, the feelings are so big, and for an adult they're huge. But for a child, they're enormous," said Melinda Mack, who lost her husband three years ago.

Two of her four children have been attending groups at The Sharing Place.

The group provides children opportunities to talk about the person they lost, learn they are not alone, and even are given a place to get rid of fear and anger.

"They start to realize that they can laugh and they can play and that it's ok to laugh and play again after they've hurt so much," said Mack.

The Sharing Place is not a place for therapy, but for support from volunteers and from others experiencing loss.

"Grief is normal. I think as we go through grief we feel like 'I'm nuts, I'm crazy, I'm losing it,'" said Chytraus. "But you have to talk about it."

Mountain America Credit Union donated $500 to help with the great work at The Sharing Place.

The Sharing Place is starting support groups for Spanish-speaking children ages 5-12 at the Glendale Community Learning Center starting in October.

For more information, you can contact Blanca Cisneros at 801-466-6730 or through email

The Sharing Place is also holding a fundraiser on October 13th. For more on that, or to help out, visit The Sharing Place's website or Facebook page.