Posted at: 07/29/2014 7:00 PM
By: Tessa Mentus, KOB Eyewitness News 4
No one is ever prepared to deal with a loved one's death. Imagine processing that grief when you're only 6 years old or when you're already going through those tough teenage years.
Now a center in Albuquerque that helps young people handle a loss is trying to prevent its own.
Michelle Restaino has been a volunteer facilitator at the Children's Grief Center of New Mexico for the past three years. But that's not what brought her through the doors the first time nearly 10 years ago.
“My older son who was 19 years old passed away and I have another son and he was 14 at the time, and someone told us about the grief center,” said Restaino.
Where nearly 450 others mostly those between 5 and 25 years old have received help in just the past year.
“We know that kids who have experienced the death of a loved one in childhood, are more likely to experience depression, they're more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, more likely to struggle with a lot of things,” said Executive Director Jade Bock.
But now the center that has run on donations and grant money since 2001 is having its own struggle.
“The economy has really started to hit us hard, our donations are down, foundation funding is much harder to receive, there is a lot more competition for a smaller pool of resources,” she said.
Now Bock is applying for any grant she can find and hoping people in the community realize the services the center provides will always be necessary.
“People die, people die when they shouldn't die, and it's incredibly hard to get through on your own,” said Bock.
That fact is why Bock and Restaino are staying positive, living by a motto. From the young son who brought them together all those years ago.
For more information visit: www.childrensgrief.org