ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The Grief Center in northeast Albuquerque is growing faster than organizers say they can keep up with.
The last time KOB 4 visited the facility was when someone broke in during the Fourth of July weekend, stealing thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Fortunately, the community pulled through and organizers were still able to hold their September grand opening.
Program Manager Christina Thies said they have since been able to help hundreds of children and adults, many in the same family, process the emotions and struggles that follow the loss of a loved one.
“This is for kiddos, ages five to about seven,” she said during a walk-through of a group room for small children. “We do art projects, things that they can talk about, maybe the person who died mixed in with other activities.”
The center – which now has group rooms for all ages, an arts and crafts studio, as well as a room to help those who struggle in hospital settings – hopes to also host more hybrid online/in-person groups in the future.
With these changes, Thies said they reach out to more people than ever before, but they could still use some extra helping hands.
“We have such a huge need for more facilitators,” she said. “We currently run about 50 support groups a month, some of those groups have a wait list.”
Thies said the Grief Center has 45 volunteer facilitators but hopes to bring on 20-30 more, so they can host more support groups each month and cut back on their waitlist. Facilitators are unpaid volunteers who only have to work three-hour shifts twice a month.
“You don’t have to be a therapist,” she said. “We have retired therapists, we have teachers, we have people from all walks of life, different ages. You just have to be 21 and have a want to help people.”
Click here for more information on the role of a Bereavement Facilitator, or click here to register for a training session in January 2023.