Happy Birthday to Wonders & Worries in San Antonio!

The Center had a great month celebrating the ONE Year Anniversary since the our partnership began with Austin-based nonprofit, Wonders & Worriesand the START Center for Cancer Care. Being the first of its kind in the San Antonio area, the program provides much needed support to children and their families who have been given a life-threatening diagnosis. In the first year that we’ve been operating in the San Antonio office, we’ve hired two staff members and have a wait list for services. 

As long as the need continues, you can count on this partnership to be there and we’re proud to be a part of the solution for San Antonio families. 

Call 210-307-4853 for more information on services for you and your family.

Paloma Place is Now OPEN in Floresville!!

For the past several months, the Center’s staff has been called on to assist with the response efforts for the church shooting in Sutherland Springs. Counselors from the Center were called on  immediately to provide guidance and support for teachers and counselors in both La Vernia and Floresville schools and has continued to be on-site in the community since that time. 

From left to right: Marilyn Grubbs, JoAnn Flores, Ashley Jesse (Program Director), Taylor Brown and Sara Mann.

The Children’s Bereavement Center, in partnership with the University of Texas in San Antonio’s Academy for Crisis and Trauma Training, is pleased to announce the opening of Paloma Place, a counseling center in Wilson County. This collaborative partnership is funded in part through a grant from the Victims of Crime Act, Whataburger, a gift from the San Antonio Area Foundation and designated support from caring friends of the Center. Paloma Place is a replication of the program established in San Antonio in 1997 and will utilize innovative programming for children and families developed by the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas.  

Paloma Place is now open to the community and ready to greet you with open arms. Photographed above from left to right: Marilyn Grubbs, JoAnn Flores, Ashley Jesse (Program Director), Taylor Brown and Sara Mann. Stop by Paloma Place at 140 Paloma Drive in Floresville, TX and say hello this wonderful group! 

You can also check out the website at www.PalomaPlace.org.

Silver & Black Gives Back!

Silver & Black Give Back (SBGB) has awarded over $240,000 in facility grants to seven local nonprofits, whose programs serve the youth of San Antonio and support SBGB’s mission to empower youth through service and sports. Grant recipients include Boys & Girls Club of San Antonio – Eastside Branch, SA Youth, Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, SASTEMIC, YMCA of Coastal Bend, Young Women’s Christian Association, and Good Samaritan Community Services. 

Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas received a $35,535 facility grant from Silver & Black Give Back to build an outdoor therapeutic playground for its new Paloma Place Center, providing professional support to schools and families impacted by the loss of loved ones and neighbors. The Children’s Bereavement Center strives to help school staff of Floresville and La Vernia ISD in the aftermath of the Southerland Springs tragedy by bringing comfort, assistance and guidance with support extending to children and families. 

About Operation Renovation

Silver & Black Give Back’s Operation Renovation was implemented in 2014 to invest in the infrastructure of facilities that provide our students with safe places to play and learn the valuable life lessons gained through teamwork and competition. The funding is available to youth-serving nonprofit organizations.

About Silver & Black Give Back

Silver & Black Give Back is a 501(c)(3) public charity that invests in the community in partnership with the entire Spurs Sports & Entertainment family of teams. Since 1988 coaches and staff have focused on fostering young talent and enriching the community by encouraging local youth to become responsible adults and give back through programs like the Spurs Youth Basketball League, Team Up Challenge and Operation Renovation. Together, our community has the power to empower and create lasting change throughout San Antonio. More information on Silver & Black Give Back can be found at SBGB.org.


2018 NAGC Symposium was a SUCCESS!

The Center was thrilled that the National Alliance of Grieving Children (NAGC) decided to host the 22nd Annual Symposium on Children’s Grief in San Antonio, Texas. As the local host for the event, the Children’s Bereavement Center opened it’s home to over 400 attendees to take a tour and get a first hand look at our facility. 

Special Appearance by Pet Partners

The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas is proud to be a member of the National Alliance of Grieving Children and is honored to advocate for children in San Antonio and South Texas. 

The NAGC is a nationwide network comprised of professionals, institutions, and volunteers who promote best practices, educational programming and critical resources to facilitate the mental, emotional and physical health of grieving children and their families. Through the collective voice of our members and partners they educate, advocate and raise awareness about childhood bereavement. 

A special thank you to Jenifer Yi, Financial Services Professional at
New York Life San Antonio Office, for the event’s sponsorship.

4 Star Rating – Third Year in a Row!!

The Center is excited to announce that the non-profit evaluator, Charity Navigator, has awarded the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas our third consecutive four-star rating!!

This is the highest possible rating and indicates that the Center adheres to the non-profit sector’s best practices and executes its mission in a financially efficient way. Attaining a 4-star rating verifies that the Center exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in our area of work. Only 22% of the charities that Charity Navigator evaluates have received at least 3 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas outperforms most other charities in America. This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator sets the Center apart from others and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness.

We couldn’t have received this top rating without you. Thank you for trusting us with your donations, your volunteer time and your good will. Your trust and support mean so much to the staff and the children and families we serve.

You can find our rating on Charity Navigator HERE and visit our website for more information about us.

Thank you for being a part of our mission to foster healing for grieving children, youth and their families in our community!!


I am the Superhero of My Life Story

Heroes and stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things are a huge part of children’s lives and have been the theme of this month’s activity during groups. At the Center we’ve been talking about what it means to be brave/courageous and what it means to be resilient.  This activity offers the opportunity to think about and talk about our innate strengths as super powers which help us make it through difficult times. 

We asked the children what does it mean to be a hero? And what does it mean to be brave? These questions gave them the opportunity to acknowledge and name some of their own strengths and recognize the strengths that their deceased loved one may have taught them. With all of these things in mind, we invited the children to design a Super Hero Cape for themselves. And our Pet Therapy Dogs joined in on the fun too.

Everyday the Center comes in contact with heroes in disguise… volunteers, donors, potluck partners, pet therapy dogs… everyone who makes this program possible is a hero in the eyes of the Center and the children that we serve. Thank you for all you do!

New Center coming to Floresville!!

The Center is pleased to announce the opening of Paloma Place, a children’s bereavement center in Wilson County. In partnership with the University of Texas-San Antonio’s Academy for Crisis and Trauma Training, the Center will provide grief services for residents of Sutherland Springs and the surrounding communities in the aftermath of the November 2017 tragedy. The Center’s staff has been providing support for the community since the tragic loss of lives occurred. This collaborative partnership is funded in part through a grant from The Victims of Crime Act, Whataburger, a gift from the San Antonio Area Foundation and designated support from caring friends of the Center.

Future home of Paloma Place in Floresville, Texas.

Paloma Place is a replication of the program established in San Antonio in 1997, with an additional center operating in the Rio Grande Valley to serve the residents of the border region of Texas. Each center utilizes innovative programming for children and families developed by Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas to provide healing and recovery for individuals who have experienced the death of a loved one.

Commenting on the new center in Wilson County, Executive Director Marian Sokol said, “We are all saddened by this tragedy that occurred only a few miles from our Center in San Antonio. We feel fortunate to have the expertise, resources, and earned confidence from leadership throughout Texas to respond to the needs of those who have been impacted by this tragic event.”

As more information on this program becomes available, it will be posted on our website at www.cbcst.org or please call the Center at (210) 736-4847.

Camp Hermann Sons Registration is NOW OPEN!!

Hermann Sons Life Camp and the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas are partnering to offer children and teens a Grief Support Camp. Hermann Sons Life offers life insurance and annuities for its members and hosts camp sessions throughout the summer. Hermann Sons Life and Children’s Bereavement Center have joined together to provide this Grief Support Session to offer children and teens the opportunity to process their grief in a fun and inviting camp environment.

Camp Hermann Sons

Hermann Sons Life Camp is ideal for any child:

  • Ages 6-17 years
  • Have experienced the death of a parent, brother or sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, close friend or other special person.
  • The Hermann Sons Life Camp is held during the summer. (July)

For more information on Camp Hermann Sons click HERE.


Please contact the Center for more information on the camp process at [email protected] or (210)736-4847, ext. 238.

Read an article on the great work being done at Camp Hermann Sons HERE.





Welcome New Staff!!

Joe Avera, Ph.D. LPC-Intern, NCC

The Center is once again proud of the role it plays in training counseling interns from local universities, and thrilled when one of these students returns to the Center as a new employee. We’d like to extend a warm welcome to Joe Avera, Ph.D. LPC-Intern, NCC (supervised by Roberta Varela-Hein LPC-S) and Kathy Fitzsimmons, LPC.

Joe Avera did a portion of his doctoral internship with the Center a few years ago. He is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor and recent Ph.D. who graduated from UTSA. Joe has been working with Jewish Family Services and will complete his LPC licensure in a few months. He is joining us to offer support to the faculty and children in Floresville Independent School District, where most of the children from the recent Sutherland Springs tragedy went to school. It is the Center’s expectation that we will soon open an additional Center for healing in Floresville, in partnership with the Department of Counseling, UTSA. Joe is uniquely equipped to coordinate this program that we hope will be staffed by UTSA doctoral students and CBC staff. Welcome Joe!

Kathy Fitzsimmons, LPC

Kathy Fitzsimmons will be a familiar face to some, she is an licensed professional counselor who finished her internship at the Center a few years ago. She has counseled children in partnership with a local pediatrician and sees clients in both church and private practice settings. Kathy has also supported the Sunday support groups last spring. Kathy does hold a part-time position but will be facilitating support groups, as well as offering additional support to clients and the intake process. Welcome Kathy!

We are thrilled to have you both part of our team!!

Hope is a Powerful Thing

In the aftermath of local and national tragedies, many students turn to teachers, school counselors, and support staff to address the grief they face. Last week on Friday, the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas hosted the organization’s annual Grief Education Institute Symposium, “Supporting Our Students Through Crisis and Loss.”

The program featured Dr. David J. Schonfeld, the Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement (NCSCB) at the University of Southern California, who has provided consultation and training in the aftermath of a number of school crisis events and cities within the United States and abroad, including school and community shootings in Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; and Townville, South Carolina. Dr. Thelma Duffey, and Dr. Shane Haberstroh who also presented, represent the University of Texas at San Antonio’s College of Education and Human Development department and have been working to provide services and consultation to the Sandy Hook Elementary School and Newtown community for the past five years.

Along with these wonderful presenters, the Children’s Bereavement Center was proud to present the 2018 Hope Award to both the Molak Family and Senator José Menéndez for their achievements to support and pass David’s Law (SB 179). Every year the Center pays tribute to individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving outcomes for children, in addition to impacting policy, and serving as change agents to improve systems of care. David’s Law mandates all public schools create anti-bullying policies, which include protection from abuse after school hours as well as systems that allow students to anonymously report instances of bullying.

Left to Right: Rose Sherman-Williams; Marian Sokol, Executive Director; Jacqui Peace, CBC Chairman; Senator Jose Menendez; Maureen and Matt Molak

The Children’s Bereavement Center is honored to recognize the Molak Family, as well as Senator José Menéndez. for bringing HOPE to every child in Texas who faces bullying and acts that demean the dignity that he or she deserves.