Willmar's grief services to continue under new agency

Posted on February 26, 2015 by Sonoma Valley Sun

WillMar Center

Services offered by the WillMar Family Grief & Healing Center, the Sonoma-based nonprofit slated to cease operations in March, will be undertaken by Social Advocates for Youth.

“We are pleased to announce that under SAY’s leadership WillMar services for grieving children will continue uninterrupted in Sonoma,” said Caitlin Childs, SAY communications manager.

When the impending closure was announced, SAY leaders reached out to WillMar to see how SAY could help preserve WillMar’s services. The mission of the WillMar Center to support grieving families, Childs said, is directly aligned with SAY’s counseling programs. SAY therapists frequently identify grief, trauma and loss as critical factors impacting the wellbeing of youth.

“With this agreement between the organizations, WillMar Center’s vital grief support groups will continue as scheduled, while SAY continues their conversation about how to best sustain these programs for the long-term,” Childs said.

SAY is committed to continuing the grief services offered at WillMar Center, and hopes that with the support of the WillMar community in the Sonoma Valley, she said. “We will preserve and expand this program to continue helping children and families heal.”

Founded in 1971, SAY provides a variety of services including free and low-cost counseling, job training, educational support, emergency, transitional housing and youth employment, family therapy, bilingual family advocacy, and other prevention programs to former foster children and children ages 5-24. SAY operates the Dr. Coffee Teen Shelter, Sonoma County’s only 24/7 teen shelter, and the Mary and Jose Tamayo Village, a transitional housing program for former foster youth and homeless young adults.

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