ALTON - The Mothers Unique Grief Support Group will host a dove release in honor of the children they’ve lost.

Everyone in the community is invited. The release is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, at the Alton Amphitheater. Mary Jason, the group’s facilitator, explained that the release aims to bring exposure to what Mothers Unique does in Alton and how they can help grieving parents.

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“My group has always reached out to mothers that have lost children by giving them flowers and a condolence letter and whatever they need,” Jason said. “Maybe [the dove release will] give us a little bit more exposure and let them know what we’re about. We’ve helped a lot of mothers, but to let them know we are sincere and we are reaching out to help them in whatever way we can.”

Jason started the group in 2017. They meet from 4–6 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month at the Alton YWCA, located at 304 E. 3rd Street in Alton. While there are eight dedicated members who attend every meeting, Jason said they often welcome people who just want to sit in to see firsthand what the group has to offer.

In addition to facilitating the support group, Jason and her fellow members also make themselves available to grieving mothers in the community. They call these mothers or visit them at home, just to let them know that the group is available if they need help with anything or want to come by for a meeting when they’re ready.

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Jason said it can be “rough” to work with people who are experiencing that grief, but the Mothers Unique mission is important to her. She is reminded of this every time they speak to a grieving mother.

“They’ve been thankful,” she said. “I haven’t been able to get a lot of them to come and participate and be in our group when we meet, but that’s okay. We’re still there for them and we let them know that.”

The group wants to expand, with plans to eventually host a banquet and invite a speaker who can talk about healing after losing a child. Jason said they have “some big ideas, but it’s some big money.” They’re in the process of applying for grants that will “help us help more people.”

In the meantime, Jason hopes the dove release will let community members know that the group exists and can help mothers who need it. If you’re interested in learning more about the Mothers Unique Grief Support Group, call the Alton YWCA at (618) 465-7774 or reach out to Jason directly at 618-468-1103, or come to the dove release at 4 p.m. on Nov. 7, 2023, at the Alton Amphitheater.

“It’s much needed,” Jason said of the group. “There are other grief support groups, and I’ve been to them myself. But this group that we have, that’s why we say it’s Mothers Unique, because it’s just for mothers that lost children. Not spouses, not siblings. Just mothers that lost children. And that’s why I started the group, because I felt that would help me to do something in honor of my son.”

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