South Texas center helps children cope with grief of losing loved one at early age

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Mortuary science Instructor José Moreno, also an intern at the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, shows a flower pot used to help children overcome their grief at the center.  Photo by Altug Sami Icilensu

Mortuary science Instructor José Moreno, also an intern at the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, shows a flower pot used to help children overcome their grief at the center. Photo by Altug Sami Icilensu

Mortuary science instructor volunteers at grief center to learn about helping children.

By Sonya Harvey

Losing a loved one can be very hard on a child.

Since 1997, the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas has helped grieving children from Bexar, Comal, Kerr and Kendall counties, who have to deal with the death of a family member at an early age.

With the help of grief therapists, trained volunteers and experienced staff, the center provides a place of healing and hope for children, teens and young adults ages 3-24.

The center is a nonprofit organization and is supported through donations from individuals, corporations and foundations.

José Moreno, a mortuary science instructor, volunteers at the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, 332 W. Craig Place, to learn more about helping children deal with losing a loved one. It also helps him to complete 300 hours of community service to receive a master’s degree in counseling.

At the center, Moreno spends time participating in play therapy with the children, teens and young adults by reading books, acting out scenarios and helping children understand the different stages of grief.

“If you’re old enough to love, you’re old enough to grieve,” Moreno said.

There are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, that a person goes through when they lose someone they love.

Three rooms, the theater, music and craft rooms, help children, teens and young adults deal with the stages of grief.

They do projects together like draw two human bodies and color in different emotions they feel when a loved one passes away.

On one body, they draw emotions they feel before a death occurs, such as the word “love” over the heart, and on the second drawing, they signify the different emotions they feel after the death occurs by drawing words such as “sorrow” and “loneliness.”

They also break clay pots, signifying the loss of someone they care about, and then glue them back together and add drawings and adornments to signify that life can be beautiful and happy again.

Moreno, along with the mortuary science department, is accepting donations for the center.

Donations are tax-deductible, can be given in honor or memory of someone, and the center will notify the family of the honoree if an address is provided.

If you or someone you know is grieving, call the Children’s Bereavement Center at 736-4847.

DONATIONS

• general donations

• honorary gifts – made in the name of someone you wish to honor.

• memorial gifts – made in the name of a loved one you wish to remember.

• office and craft supplies

• fine point multicolor fluorescent permanent markers

• glitter glue pens

• tissue

• mini scrapbooks

• glow in the dark adhesive stars

• journals with key locks

• modeling clay

• colored sand

• glass bottles

• metallic and florescent tempura paints

• square mosaic tiles

• Shrinky Dinks

• fabric printer paper

• balsa wood carving blocks

• costumes

• origami paper

• gallons of white vinegar and boxes of baking soda

• fabric

• gardening supplies

To make a monetary donation to the center, mail a check to: Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, 332 W. Craig Place, San Antonio TX 78212.

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