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Alarming rise in grieving children at the Children’s Bereavement Center

Pandemic has taken parents, grandparents, and caregivers

SAN ANTONIO – Behind the daily COVID-19 figures are many of the youngest victims of the pandemic — grieving children.

The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas reports an alarming rise in the need for the grief counseling and therapy it offers.

“The stories really put a sad face on the statistics,” said Marian Sokol, the center’s executive director. “We’re seeing just huge amounts of sadness, anxiety and children not able to be children.”

Sokol said her counselors are seeing a special level of emotional distress among those children.

“We have so many children who have lost someone they loved,” she said, which include parents, grandparents and other caregivers.

“In many cases, these children have lost their lifeline, a person that cares for them,” Sokol said.

She said they’re burdened with the loss they’ve suffered and are fearful of any further loss.

Yet unlike many struggling nonprofits, Sokol said the CBCST is still able to fulfill its mission because of the generosity of donors.

Among them is Magaly Chocano, a business owner who suffered a different kind of loss, but painful nonetheless.

Last February, her web marketing firm was destroyed in a fire.

“Two weeks before we were shut down from the pandemic,” Chocano said.

In trying to deal with the traumatic experience, Chocano said she asked herself, “What are we supposed to learn from this?”

Chocano decided to launch “In This Together” to help support businesses and nonprofits impacted by the pandemic.

For her efforts, she was recognized by the New York Life Foundation, which is also a supporter of the CBCST

She earned its “Love Takes Action” award that came with a $50,000 gift that she donated to the center.

“I just think that their job is something that very few people do and very few people do very well,” Chocano said. “I think that they were so deserving of it.”

Mario Galdos would agree. He brought his son to the CBCST after his mother died years ago.

“I noticed a significant change in how he was able to express himself,” Galdos said.

His son is now grown and doing well, Galdos said.

He said, “They made a difference, not only in his life, they made a difference in my life as well.”

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