Children’s Bereavement Center constructing permanent facility in Uvalde

‘I’m glad that we are here, because we bring 25 years of unique child grief therapy experience,’ executive director says

UVALDE, Texas – The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas is constructing a permanent facility to help the children of Uvalde.

In the months since the Robb Elementary tragedy, organizations from San Antonio have stepped up to help, including the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas.

“This is our sand tray therapy room. We’ll have a version of this in Uvalde as well,” said Dr. Marian Sokol, executive director of the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas.

The rooms of the bereavement center in San Antonio are as different as the children cared for inside of them.

“In this room, we have the seasons. This, again, ties into our theme of -- there are seasons of life, and nobody knows how long they’re going to be,” Dr. Sokol said.

Within the first 24 hours of the Robb Elementary tragedy, Sokol and her team were in Uvalde.

“We thought if we open a drop-in center for comfort and consults, as we called it, with child therapists, that we’d leave the door open,” Sokol said. “But within the first few weeks, we have four families say to us, ‘We don’t feel safe here unless the door is locked.’”

They’ve adapted and learned what works in Uvalde and what the community needs.

“I guess that saying about ‘it does take a village,’ it certainly is going to take a village coming together for a long time to help Uvalde,” Sokol said.

Sokol said they’re committed to being there for the families, which is why they’re constructing a permanent facility next to St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in downtown Uvalde.

“There are some amazing plans when you give something to an architect, and it’s a big box that they can draw up, and that’s what happened,” Sokol said.

A new rendering shows how the outside will look, and plans are still being finalized on the inside.

Sokol hopes families in all stages of grief will see this as a place to start healing when they’re ready.

“In Uvalde, it may be longer, and it may take longer to start. But grief doesn’t have a timetable, and neither do we.,” Sokol said.

The Uvalde facility is currently under construction. The church used it as a thrift store before they donated the space.

Dr. Sokol says it should be ready by 2023 with six full-time staffers.

Click here for more Uvalde coverage from KSAT

About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.

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