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The renowned Southeast nonprofit serving grieviing youths is 'The Dougy Center' on SE 52nd

DAVID F. ASHTON - A sea of bubbles float into the air, in remembrance of The Dougy Center clients departed loved ones, as the climax of Michael Freres Kids Day at Oaks Amusement Park. More than 600 kids and their adult family members who attend grief support groups at The Dougy Center enjoyed a day of rides, food, and fun at the 12th annual "Michael Freres Kids' Day" on June 28 at historic Oaks Amusement Park.

It was a somewhat bittersweet day for the event's founder, Larry Freres – who announced he's moving away from Portland to live closer to his family.

After he received a plaque from Executive Director Brennan Woods, showing the appreciation of The Dougy Center, Freres addressed the group gathered under the trees, just north of the Oaks Park Dance Pavilion.

"I'm passing on all the responsibility for 'Kids' Day', and I am assured that Brennan and all of the people at the Center will continue this wonderful event," Freres said. "It'll always be a day for the kids and for the families – giving them a fun summer day."

Freres mentioned that after his son, Michael, died, The Dougy Center helped his grandchildren and family through the difficult time. He then read a message from his daughter:

"I love you all, and we are with you and heart and spirit today. Thank you for helping so many, and – Larry – thank you for laying the groundwork for such a great event."

"This Kids' Day is in the spirit of what my Michael was all about: having fun with kids, getting people together, and having a wonderful time. Over the last 12 years I know we've achieved that," Freres said.

Finally, he thanked the sponsors who have made the special day possible, including RE/MAX Real Estate, Voodoo Donuts, Pizza Schmizza, and Baskin-Robbins; and gave special thanks to the band which has played at the event for the past nine years, "Bad Habit".

The Kids' Day at Oaks Park ended with a "bubble release", soap bubbles blown by the kids attending, to honor their deceased loved one.

Find out more about The Dougy Center online – www.dougy.org


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