It’s true -- sometimes the news can be downright depressing, especially about victims of crime and illness.
But there is a unique organization aimed at helping families, especially children, to deal with their grief and hopefully break the cycle of violence.
David Joswick, the executive director of New Hope for Kids in Maitland, joins us to go In Depth.
Jackie Brockington: OK, so tell us a little more about your organization. What areas do you serve and what kind of resources do you provide?
David Joswick: We serve the Central Florida area, primarily Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties. We provide grief support in a unique way. And that is through supporting families and the children -- our main focus are the children 3 to 18 years of age. But we use volunteers from the community. We train them, they go through two days of training, they come every other week to the center. As do the families. We do play activities, art activities, game activities, typical things kids do at all ages. And we allow the children to really become therapists for each other. And at the same time, we're supporting the adults in the program. So we're moving entire families through this grief process for at least a year's period. Because there are days unique to families. There are anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, etc.
JB: I'm seeing that every year there are 4,000 children in the tri-county area -- Orange, Osceola & Seminole -- experience the traumatic loss of a loved one. And they say sometimes these are happening right in front of the children.
DJ: It, it runs a full gamut. Accidents, homicides, we see all types of unfortunate death situations. We work with every type of family dynamic you can think of. From very wealthy families, death doesn't discriminate.
JB: How did the organization get started?
DJ: One of the motivating factors that got me going -- I worked in the prison system, automating prisoners. I have a software company. And I found so many inmates, in correctional facilities across the country that we covered, came after a death situation and just got on the wrong path. That troubled me. And, um, I lost a 16-year-old son and I can identify with death and the pain it caused. So those combining factors lead me to do what I'm doing today.
JB: You are planning an expansion this year. Tell us a little more about that.
DJ: Well, we've need an expansion for the past seven to eight years. A little over a year ago we purchased up in Maitland. And we're in the process of converting that into our new grief center. We hope to have that done this fall. We have a capital campaign. We still have a million dollars to raise and in the interim, what we're going to do is phase the construction as the money comes in and we can go through the various phases. But we're going to be operational probably in October.
If people would like to help, you can visit their website or call (407) 599-0909.