NEW PROGRAM: Grief Support for Homeless Youth: Gerard’s House is working with Youth Shelters and Family Services to provide weekly grief support groups for youth ages 10-17 staying in the Santa Fe emergency shelter. Groups are also being organized for the young adults associated with Youth Shelter’s Transitional Living Program. Because of generous funding from our partner the Irene
Ritter Foundation, this project will start in March 2017.
Nuestra Jornada Group for Teen Moms: In January, with support from the Brindle Foundation, Nuestra Jornada joined forces with Las Cumbres and Que Cute! to create our first grief support group for teenage moms and moms-to-be, young women who face immense challenges and appreciate the opportunity to be supported in our groups.
Stepping Stones Mobile Unit: Now in its fourth year, the Stepping Stones team travels to homes, the hospital—wherever it’s needed—to provide emotional support for children and teenagers who have a family member with a life-challenging illness. Led by JJ Tellatin and Francine Kern, this service sometimes leads into long-term support.
Adult Grief Support Program: During the school year, Gerard’s House provides 4 weekly grief support groups for parents and caregivers of youth participants. In addition, we offer a weekly year-round group facilitated by Bob Dorsett for any adult grieving the death of a loved one.
Volunteer Facilitator Training: Each year in September, we train facilitators who volunteer with our staff in our grief support groups. In 2016, 21 talented and enthusiastic new volunteers took part in an intensive, 4-day training, comprised of 27 hours of instructional and experiential teachings. Without our caring and dedicated volunteers, Gerard’s House’s programs would not be possible. We currently have 48 active volunteer facilitators and group leaders, who, along with others who volunteer to help us in other ways, will contribute some 5,000 volunteer hours to our work in 2017.
Volunteer Support Group: A new support group is being offered once a week at Gerard’s House for all volunteer facilitators who would like to continue processing their experiences in groups. This group allows space for new and long-time facilitators to feel supported and to continue learning best practices within the Gerard’s House model.
Postvention Team of Northern New Mexico and Crisis Response: The SKY Center, Gerard’s House and other youth-serving community leaders join together to lead a specially-trained community team which responds to deaths affecting youth. Gerard’s House staff and volunteers responded to 11 crises in local schools and youth communities in 2016 dedicating 170 hours to crisis responses, including youth suicides.
The Bridge Academy is a weekly grief support group for students suspended from Santa Fe Public Schools on a long-term basis, and is provided by Gerard’s House as part of an array of wrap-around services by a team of youth service providers designed to help students return to school.
The Semicolon Group is a peer support group for teenagers who are at risk for suicide. The group is provided in collaboration with the SKY Center and with special funding from CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center as part of its Adolescent HUGS initiative. “HUGS” is an acronym for “High Utilizers of Group Services” and is a program being undertaken by CHRISTUS St. Vincent to attempt to reduce aggregate demand on health service providers. It especially addresses youth who have needed emergency and other services because of the lack of preventive services available to them in our community.
Individual Grief Support: Ongoing one-on-one grief support sessions are available at Gerard’s House for children and youth who are in acute grief and need extra support, who are too young to participate in the weekly groups, or who have a family member with a life-threatening illness. In 2015, 18 children and teenagers attended these one-on-one sessions. Adult caregivers also receive short-term one-on-one support when they need extra help getting through a very hard time, or when parenting a grieving child or teenager becomes especially challenging. There were 14 parents or caregivers who participated in these sessions this year.