AP NEWS

Children’s grief support center marks two years in the Valley

March 18, 2019

HARLINGEN — Grieving the death of a parent, sibling or significant loved one can often be a difficult and complex process, especially for someone who doesn’t know how to get through it on their own.

Because of this, the Children’s Bereavement Center of the Rio Grande Valley (CBC-RGV) in Harlingen is on a mission to help grieving Valley children, adolescents and their caregivers stabilize and preserve family relationships, understand the depth of their grief and develop healthy coping skills.

The nonprofit recently hit its two-year mark of providing free grief support services to families in the Valley and has noticed a “rapid growth in the demand.”

As far as being a specific children’s bereavement center, CBC-RGV is the only provider of grief counseling services to children in the Valley.

With its “home-like atmosphere” and focus on healing through expressive arts, such as music, writing and art, CBC-RGV personnel describe the center as being a “unique and comfortable environment.”

The need

In 2017, CBC-RGV served 245 unduplicated individuals and the following year the center served 300.

According to CBC-RGV personnel, if difficult grieving processes are left unresolved, a child’s grief can develop into a multitude of issues, including physical illness, depression, aggression, post-traumatic stress disorder, hyperactivity, anxiety, violence, alcohol and drug abuse and decreased academic performance.

Regional Director Randall Baker calls the center’s counselors “the magicians” because what they do is “so powerful and positive.”

The impact

A father and his daughter sought help from CBC-RGV after the girl’s mother died suddenly from a heart attack.

The young girl was an only child and her bond with her mother was so strong that she said she was in a position where she was considering ending her life.

That was until she received individual and family group counseling with CBC-RGV.

“ So, this is a young lady who went from thinking about ending her life to being in a very happy and healthy place again,” Baker said. “This is just one of the many examples of how impactful counseling is.”

CBC-RGV was created in response to requests from a group of teachers, clergy, school counselors and other health professionals in the Valley who saw a need for children and family grief support services in the area.

In 2014, the group formed a steering committee and approached the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas in San Antonio about establishing a center in the Valley.

MORE INFORMATION

WHAT — Children Bereavement Center Rio Grande Valley

WHERE — 2302 South 77 Sunshine Strip, Harlingen

PHONE — (956) 368-4065

WEBSITE — www.cbc-rgv.org

SERVICES, PARTNERSHIPS AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES —

• Private Therapy Sessions

• Peer Support Groups

• Grief Camps

• Crisis Intervention

• Internships

ahernandez@valleystar.com