|P.O. BOX 1374|
Sonoma, CA 95476
tel: 707. 935. 1946
It’s hard to imagine how devastating the death of an important person can be in the life of a child or teen. And for the kids of Sonoma Valley, it was clear that they needed opportunities to share their experiences of loss in order to counter the effects of loneliness and isolation that so often accompany powerful feelings of grief.
| Nina Gorbach|
After ten years of serving grieving children and teens, WillMar changed its name and expanded its mission to provide support to the family members of the children and teens enrolled in its programs. Today, WillMar Center is Northern California’s only stand-alone non-profit agency dedicated to supporting grieving families. Using the peer support group model and emphasizing the expressive arts, WillMar helps children and teens ages 3 ½ to 19 and adults, as they progress through the healing process after a catastrophic loss. Annually, WillMar's in-house serves support approximately 225 children, teens, and adults through weekly and bi-weekly support groups.
WillMar’s on-site crisis intervention for local schools, civic and faith groups, and businesses when tragedy strikes has provided emergency grief support for more than 1,100 children within six Sonoma County schools in the wake of several traumatic losses, including deaths due to long-term and sudden illnesses, suicides, accidents, drug overdoses, and murder-suicides. WillMar has provided students, teachers, and parents with psycho-educational materials, supportive guidance, and a place to understand and share their grief as individuals and as a community. During the 2010-11 program year, WillMar Center became an official member of the Sonoma County Office of Education’s School Crisis Intervention Team, providing free, on-call assistance whenever there is a traumatic loss in any of the Sonoma Valley Schools. Also in 2010-11, WillMar Center became an official resource to the California Highway Patrol Chaplaincy Program, on-call crisis support to families experiencing a traumatic death.
Since 2000, all of WillMar's services are provided free of charge for children, teens and families.