Scottsdale Charros support New Song for children facing tragedy

New Song kids show their hearts, each individually crafted in memory of a loved one. (Photo credit: Susie Steckner)

New Song kids show their hearts, each individually crafted in memory of a loved one. (Photo credit: Susie Steckner)

When faced with the death of a loved one the circle of life can sometimes appear to be a vicious cycle.

Death will come for us all but when it touches so closely the lives of our children oftentimes families need help understanding the grief process and how that process affects the youngest of those going through the experience.

The New Song Center for Grieving Children, a program of Hospice of the Valley, seeks to create an environment for children and their families to understand the intricate ways grief is and will continue to impact them in certain points thought their lives.

The emotions following the loss of a loved one are complex. Children typically cannot process without the help and guidance of the adults around them, according to Lisa Schmitt, New Song Center for Grieving Children executive director.

“If they are grieving that loss, we are here to support them,” she said in a June 9 phone interview of the center’s mission. “The New Song Center is an agency that provides education and support services providing children and families who have lost a loved one.”

The New Song Center for Grieving Children is on the campus of the Episcopal Parish of Saint Barnabas of the Desert at 6716 N. Mockingbird Lane in the Town of Paradise Valley.

“We are truly a family based organization,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be family member who has died. As long as the child is grieving, it doesn’t matter if that was a relative or not, if that was a loving relationship we will be there.”

Last grant cycle, the Scottsdale Charros provided a $2,500 grant to help provide the grief service nearby the Scottsdale community.

“That grant was specifically to meet the needs of one of our five locations. We have a center that serves families in Scottsdale,” Ms. Schmitt said. “That grant was reserved to serve that population.”

For 53 years the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage and honoring local educators is a step in that effort.

Ms. Schmitt says the New Song Center seeks to provide outreach and education in the Scottsdale community.

“Children grieve differently than adults do,” she explained. “The younger a child is the more pronounced you will see this: Children grieve behaviorally. We as adults can articulate for others the feeling of loss. The younger the child the harder it is for them to articulate that.”

While the old adage, “children are resilient” more or less holds true, Ms. Schmitt points out young people who lose parents often relive the feelings of grief through life experiences typically shared with those who are gone.

Life’s common milestones can become experiences to navigate rather than moments to cherish when children lose a parent, Ms. Schmitt says.

“Grief is something that will forever change a child,” she said.

Ms. Schmitt says the finality of death is one hard for children to understand.

“Dead is dead. You are not going to come back. Those concepts of death that we all take for granted are lost on children,” she said. “Each of us grieves in a way that is unique to us. Families stay as long as they need to stay.”

The Scottsdale Charros have a long history of doing right by its community, Ms. Schmitt points out.

“I have been in this community for a very long time and the Scottsdale Charros have a long legacy of doing important work for Scottsdale,” she said. “There are all about making their community a better place. I for one am extraordinarily grateful.”

To learn about volunteer opportunities at Hospice of the Valley New Song Center for Grieving Children go to www.hov.org and click “grief support” or call 480-951-8985.

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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