I do not know how we would manage the enormous need our school has for grief support without the skilled and compassionate facilitators from Gerard's House.Our students look forward to and benefit from the opportunity to share their stories and find a connection with other students in their school. Nuestra Jornada teaches kids there are healthy ways to express grief and caring classmates and adults to help them. We are DEEPLY grateful to Gerard's House for partnering with us. – Rita Hemming, school counselor
Nuestra Jornada represents opportunity for healing through group sharing of grief and loss and through sharing laughter and tears for some of our most vulnerable young students. We are most grateful for the ongoing commitment of Gerard's House for bringing these groups to our school. Without this program many of these students would not receive the level of support they need as they heal from deep losses experienced so early in life. We wish all schools could have this opportunity to support the tender, healing hearts of young people in grief from loss of their loved ones due to death, deportation, and incarceration. We recognize what a difference it has made in ours! – Susan Hayre, school counselor
I liked the group because it helped me share my feelings of how I feel about my dad, and I like how I can listen to other people who feel bad too. Another girl in the same group whose mother died said, Me gusto ir al groupo porque me ayudaron a hablar de mi mama y que tan linda es y como la extraño porque se murio. (I like to go to the group because it helps me talk about my mom and how beautiful she was and how much I miss her because she died).
A teacher at Cesar Chavez Elementary School who had not been pleased about having her student taken out of class for the group stopped and spoke with our Nuestra Jornada Coordinator after her student had attended the group for 8 weeks. She wanted to let our staff know that the group had helped her student. My student is in your group and it has been great for him. He used to be difficult to manage, unruly in class and would not do his work. He has settled down and works well now. The group has really changed him. I have seen the difference, and I have to say I am really glad he is in the group.
Gerard’s House is your Santa Fe center for grieving kids and families. When a child or teenager experiences the death of a parent or other loved one, we are there with free grief support services and we have been since 1997. Gerard’s House is here for everyone in our community who is grieving. Because so many families experience barriers when they need grief support, we energetically focus on reaching the city’s most vulnerable grieving youth—kids who have immigrated from war-torn and impoverished regions, kids coping with homelessness and kids who have attempted suicide. Services include 28 weekly peer grief support groups, a mobile unit, suicide-prevention programs, individual sessions, a summer camp, crisis response services and support for parents/caregivers, all free of charge and bilingual for youth ages 3 – 21 who have experienced life-changing loss, such as the death of a parent or other loved one. We also provide 7 weekly grief support groups for adults in English and Spanish, all free of charge.
When you give to Gerard’s House, or volunteer, you join us in this spirit of justice, love, healing and partnership.
In response to COVID-19, Gerard’s House has completely transformed our services. In March, we switched all grief support groups to a virtual format. But the more seismic shift has been in the amount of casework we provide. Immigrant families in Gerard’s House’s Nuestra Jornada program, especially, have been disproportionally impacted by lay-offs in the service industry and often do not have access to government relief. Throughout 2020, Gerard’s House has reached out to the parent/caregiver of every family in our care to assess their basic needs, provide resources and emotionally support families emotionally through their grief, anxiety, family conflict and other struggles. Whenever possible, we fill out applications and make calls together to address basic needs and connect families with services and emergency funds. By the end of 2020, we will also have distributed more than $100,000 in direct financial assistance to grieving families in need.