I serve at the Children's Grief Center as a Facilitator and It gives me great satisfaction each time I go, knowing that we make a difference in the lives of grieving children, teens and their parents/guardians. We are trained as group facilitators by the Center to clear and center ourselves, so that we may be fully present when we meet with the group and then we have a post-group meeting which allows us to take care of ourselves. Sometimes our own personal losses can be awakened, so we have that opportunity to acknowledge the impact of that on ourselves. One of the needs of grieving people is to be able to tell the story of the loss and its impact on them and sometimes they need to repeat the story and externalize the emotional pain of the loss. Each evening, the group unfolds, sometimes with humor and lightness and more often with emotional pain and suffering. However it rolls out, it has been a chance for participants to face their loss of their loved one with the support of others who know exactly how they are feeling. Without the group sessions, these folks and the little ones would not have addressed their loss on this day.
I have volunteered with Children's Grief Center for 10 years as a group facilitator. It has been deeply rewarding because my experience there confirms that families and children are able to address their normal grief needs fully when they make a commitment to participate and come regularly. Adults and particularly children and teens in grief feel isolated and separate from their peers. Coming to the Grief Center facilitates contact, play and sharing with peers who understand exactly where a participant is. Though they often come for help for their children, adults also find empathy and social support during such a difficult life transition. Working with CGC makes a real difference in the lives of people in our community.
I meet with the adult family members during orientation. Their emotions are raw at this point in the grief journey and they tear at my heart, reminding me of the early days of my own grief at the loss of my husband. However, I know they are entering an incredible program that will give them (and their families) the support they need at this challenging time. I share their pain and try to give them hope for a "new normal" life that can still be rewarding. The staff and programs offered deserve strong support because they make a profound difference in many lives.
I work as a volunteer with the Children's Grief Center and feel it is an exceptionally valuable organization. The people involved are incredibly committed to serving a community of people in emotional pain and helping them through the grief journey. I know the entire family benefits, although the primary emphasis is on the children who have lost a caregiver. Since there are also adult support groups it helps everyone understand how differently children grieve and ensures they get the support they need. Grief is a journey that can be made much less lonely and painful when you have the Children's Grief Center.
I am a mom of 3 small boys and felt the need to step away from the home and volunteer in a place that was just time for me. My heart for kids led me to CGC and I instantly jumped in and became a support group facilitator. Volunteering for the grief center has been, by far, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. So much so, in fact, that my career goals have changed to encompass grieving children. Watching kids come into orientation feeling scared and overwhelmed... Then watching as they help one another through the grief of losing someone is both beautiful and moving. Nothing compares to the feeling of knowing that I have a small part in such a healing place.
I met Jade Bock, the ED of the Children's Grief Center, approximately 4 1/2 years ago. I was taking a class on bereavement and needed to interview someone in the field. By the end of our meeting, I was hooked. After hearing about the great work CGC was doing, I wanted to be involved. I joined the board shortly thereafter. Since then, I have had the privaledge to work with the extraordinary staff at CGC and have witnessed their incredible commitment to this agency. I have also had an opportunity to talk with families who have been served by CGC; their stories and their bravery is remarkable. I am honored to be a part of such a wonderful organization that is filling a need in our community - giving families a place to grieve their loss with others who are going through the same experience.
Working as a volunteer at the Children's Grief Center of NM continues to be extraordinarily rewarding for many reasons: supporting families through loss and healing, and working with or learning from fantastic staff and volunteers. Many people assume this is very heavy work, and in fact there is much that goes on that is uplifting and very positive. Saddened, disrupted lives find hope and security in this caring community. New Mexico is very fortunate to have such a well-run organization to support children - young adults, and their family members and caregivers.
CRACK! SPIN! SMOTHER! That's how I felt when the police came to my door to tell me my son was dead. The reality didn't sink in until long after the initial shock. I had been a volunteer at the Children's Grief Center for years--listening to the stories of many others with this traumatic event looming in their hearts, but now it was ME. Now the value and worth of the CGC was mine to experience, mine to own. It was my time to talk, cry, scream. Thanks to this organization of beautiful, faithful, devoted souls, I did crawl through the abyss of the greatest sorrow ever known. I will always support these precious souls and be ever grateful that they are there for all of us who face the unimaginable happening. Thanks CGC.
I was dealing with grief in a context other than bereavement in my life when a friend suggested to me that volunteering might be a way to help move through my own pain and loss. So I started researching volunteer opportunities on the Internet and found the CGC back in late 2008. The idea of being around people who were also hurting was very appealing to me. I had just missed the facilitator training, so I began volunteering in the office, coming in on my alternating Fridays off and helping out with everything from solving IT problems to working on mass mailings to updating documentation. I eventually became a bereavement facilitator as well and can only say that central NM is blessed to have to have the CGC. Not only do they help adults and children move through one of the worst experiences they can have, but they also care about their volunteers. Facilitators participate in post-group meetings to help them address any issues that may have been stirred up for them around something a child or adult attendee said during a group. There are also regular appreciation events and the staff is always looking for ways to address frustrations and issues experienced by volunteers. I believe that working with or around the bereaved is not something that everyone is cut out for, but for those who are, it is highly rewarding to see people realize they are not alone, forge bonds with one another, and gain the strength to move through their grief.
When my wife and I first came in contact with the Children's Grief Center of New Mexico, we heard a startling statistic; 85% of prisoners on death row had a parent die before they turned 18. And when we heard the testimony from one of their former patients on how the CGC had helped him turn his life around after the death of a loved one, we immediately became supporters of this organization. We saw first-hand how effective it is in working with young people facing that prospect. With a combination of therapy and peer groups, the CGC helps their patients overcome the shock, deal with the grief, anger, and confusion, and get their own lives back on track.
My experience as a bereavement facilitator has enriched my life in so many ways. Sharing this experience helps me put my personal problems in prospective, allows me to meet wonderful people who are struggling to understand their pain and hopefully I can help make their journey a little bit easier. The other volunteers and staff are absolutely wonderful to be around, their encouragement, support and dedication is limitless.
My daughter Livia and I started attending the Children's Grief Center in March, 2008 following the sudden death of my son, Livia's brother in January, 2008. CGC not only helped my daughter tremendously but myself as well!!! Livi realized she is not alone. Shes not the only third grader who has lost someone very close to her. This had a huge impact on her!! She felt safe, accepted and loved by total strangers!! She never wanted to miss a session and she made some lasting friends there!!! It was a healing place for me as well as I was able to talk about my loss in a safe environment. We attended until April 19th, 2011. Livi decided she was better and no longer needed the grief center. What a great day that was to know that Livi felt ok and was ready to move forward!!! Thank you CGC, Tammy