1.2 million children will lose a parent to death before age 15
(Dr. Elizabeth Weller, Dir. Ohio State University Hospitals, 1991)
The Gary A. Garcia Foundation is dedicated to providing bereavement group support services to meet the needs of children, teenagers, and their caregivers. We believe that those in grief deserve the opportunity to begin healing in a warm and nurturing environment.
The Foundation will be accessible to all by providing services free of charge. We will collaborate with other agencies and organizations to provide participants with adjunct services. Our goal is that participants will realize that they are not alone and learn how best to move beyond the death of someone close.
Understandably, many people have not given a great deal of thought to dealing with the death of someone close. When faced with the situation, it is common for people to assume time will heal the pain, or that friends and family alone are enough. Typically, though more support is needed and that is where Gary's Circle of Friends comes in.
The Gary A. Garcia Foundation is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization. Gary's Circle of Friends offers a 9-week program. We offer school-based bereavement support groups for the Los Angeles Unified School District. In the summertime, the support groups are held at the GGF site as a free service for children, teens, adults, and families who are dealing with the death of a loved one.
When we lose a loved one, many children and teens are overwhelmed with emotions and have difficulty adjusting to the life changes that follow. They may look "normal" as if the death has not affected them. This can cause them to be overlooked and forgotten as the community surrounds the grieving adults who are more able to express their feelings and needs. This process may leave kids feeling confused, sad, fearful, angry, guilty, misunderstood and alone.
Interaction and peer support groups are arranged based on developmental age. Arts and crafts, games, writing, and music are used to encourage grief expressions and develop coping skills. Our goal is to stimulate healing to help children and teens adjust to life without the person who has died.
When a spouse or significant other dies, the surviving partner must not only learn how to heal themselves, but also to help their children heal as well. The combination can be overwhelming and lead to feeling inadequate, angry, sad, fearful or ill-equipped.
Gary's Circle of Friends provides: