Children's Grief Center expanding to Saginaw - WNEM TV 5

Children's Grief Center expanding to Saginaw

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

A Mid-Michigan center is helping children who have buried a loved one cope with the loss.

The Children's Grief Center in Midland is hosting an event for families to share their stories. The center tries to show children they are not alone in their grief.

"We go just to help ourselves get through that grief," said Katy Merrill, widow of Sam Merrill.

Sam, longtime anchor for TV5, died last year from a heart attack. Katy said she and her 6-year-old son James found comfort in the Children's Grief Center.

She said James loved the center because he gets to be around other kids who have lost someone close to them.

"It's a great place to feel accepted," Merrill said.

That is why she decided to speak at the organization's second annual luncheon, to share her story with other parents who are going through a similar situation.

Camille Nitschky, executive director at the center, said counselors use art and group therapy to help children cope.

"It's a place where they can connect with each other and they know they are not alone in their grief. And it's probably the only place where they aren't alone and everyone in that circle knows exactly how they fell," Nitschky said.

Vincent Villareal is a regular at the center. His father died three years ago from a brain tumor and he has been going to the grief center ever since.

"Like now we can express our feelings and talk about our loved one," Villareal said.

The grief center also holds some meetings for adults who may need help with coping.

The center only has offices in Midland, but it is planning to add an office in Saginaw at the Mid-Michigan Children's Museum.

The center will be holding sessions at the museum starting Oct. 25.

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