Entries in Families (3)


Jaycee Dugard's New Foundation Helps Families Impacted by Abduction

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Jaycee Dugard wears around her neck the small symbol of a pinecone. The prickly, sticky object was the last piece of freedom she grasped when Phillip and Nancy Garrido kidnapped her.

"Back then [the pinecone] was the last thing I touched...Now, it's a symbol of hope and new beginnings. And that...there is life after something tragic," Dugard told ABC News' Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview.

Part of her new beginning involves the creation of the JAYC Foundation which stands for Just Ask Yourself to Care. Dugard wants to help other families like hers, families impacted by abduction.

The foundation will use animal-assisted therapy, along with other support services to treat families recovering from abduction and the aftermath of traumatic experiences. Dugard will also use the foundation to help facilitate awareness in schools about the important need to care for one another.

Since she and her daughters were freed from the Garridos in 2009, Dugard has spent the last two years healing, learning to speak up for herself and enjoying firsts: like getting her driver's license, taking her daughters to school, simply having family dinners around a table. With the help of family unification therapist Rebecca Bailey and the Transitioning Families team, Dugard and her daughters have worked hard to free themselves from years of manipulation. The therapy includes a unique horse therapy. Just as important as her healing process, is the healing of her family too -- her mother who held hope for 18 years that she'd see Dugard again, her sister who was just a baby when she was abducted.

Portions of the proceeds from Dugard's memoir, A Stolen Life, will go to the JAYC Foundation. The foundation is also selling necklaces with the same pinecone charm that means so much to Dugard. A share of the proceeds from the necklace sales will also go to the foundation. You can purchase a necklace or make a donation to the foundation by going to its website.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


9/11 Families Seek Closure After Osama Bin Laden Death

CHANG W. LEE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For many families who lost loved ones on 9/11, news of Osama bin Laden's death and burial at sea has brought mixed feelings -- relief that the world's most notorious terrorist has been brought to justice, but also a reminder of the pain they felt nearly a decade ago.

"It was a feeling of elation, but for those of us who lost so much on 9/11, it wasn't totally elation. For me there was sadness attached to it because it was a reminder of what I lost," David McCourt, whose wife and daughter were killed in the second plane that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Meanwhile, celebrations erupted across the U.S. immediately following President Obama's announcement that Osama bin Laden was killed Sunday by U.S. troops.

While it may seem jubilation and grief are distinct sentiments, many psychologists and psychiatrists say these mixed emotions are painful indicators that define feelings of long-awaited closure.

"Closure does not necessarily mean no longer feeling grief, or no longer feeling angst or pain over a situation," said Dr. Alan Hilfer, chief psychologist at Maimonides Medical Center in New York. "It means essentially having threads of resolve."

But many find peace of mind by allowing themselves to understand that they may never stop feeling a sense of loss, Hilfer said. And some, regardless of bin Laden's death, may say that they have already reached their own feeling of closure.

"Some just see this as a task that was incomplete and is now complete," said Hilfer.

McCourt's four-year-old daughter, Juliana, and wife Ruth were on their way to Disneyland when their flight was hijacked on 9/11 and flown into the World Trade Center.

The intensity of bereavement wanes over time, said Dr. Howard Belkin, assistant professor of psychiatry at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. But for some, bin Laden's death may bring back some of the sharpest memories of 9/11.

"[Bin Laden] was a figure that was so significant in our psyche, that it can take weeks to months to years to feel full closure," said Belkin. "The mourning period may start over, but will be shorter lived than initially."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Quality Time Over Video Games May Strengthen Family Ties

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PROVO, Utah) -- Parents, and even some researchers, have long blamed video games for such problems as obesity, violence, depression and detachment from family and friends.

But Brigham Young University School of Family Life researchers stand by a positive notion that could surprise some people: video games may help strengthen the bond between parents and their daughters.

While some doctors would say video games and other sources of so-called screen time offer little if any health benefits, this study begs to differ.  The study found that girls who played video games with a parent behaved better, felt more connected to their families and had better mental health than those girls who did not play video games with their parents.

Researchers also found that these game-playing gals had lower levels of internalization of emotions and higher levels of social behavior with their family members than those who did not play video games with parents.  But, there was no evidence of such benefits with boys.

It is important to note that positive bonding time was only associated with age-appropriate video games.  Mario Kart, Mario Brothers, Wii Sports, Rock Band and Guitar Hero topped the list of games that girls most often played, while boys played Call of Duty, Wii Sports and Halo most often.

Researchers found that if the game was rated M for Mature, feelings of family connectedness weakened overall.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, included 287 families with a teen or tween-aged child.  Parents and kids filled out multiple surveys about their gaming habits, family processes and adolescent behavior.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio