"It is so important for this grief work to become part of our community."
For many of Baltimore's children the loss of a loved one to street violence, domestic abuse or illness means facing life with a storm of grief and no safe harbor to shelter them. Roberta's House is a grief and loss center established for children and their families in tribute to the late Julia Roberta March of Baltimore's March Funeral Homes, Inc. The March Family and Annette R. March-Grier, RN, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. William March and a bereavement facilitator, recognized a greater need to extend the support services to meet the needs of a broader community. University of Maryland Medical Center's Shock Trauma Center staff are partnering with Roberta's House to provide staff support, training, and much needed resources to this community asset. Plans are underway for ongoing projects and include a summer grief support camp for children and teens as well as Homicide Survivors Family Conference in the fall of 2010.
Baltimore ranks as the second highest city for homicides in the country. With a population of over 637,000, the city lacks the necessary resources to address the resulting emotional damage of unresolved grief.
Roberta's House offers a comprehensive bereavement support program for healing the "hearts and minds" of children and their families emotionally, physically and spiritually. The program is governed by a board of directors and counseled by an advisory board, which provides linkages to a network of health providers and volunteers. Through peer and non-clinical support, education, empowerment, and community awareness, Roberta's House offers free programs and services to low-income, school-age children and teens together with their families. The service is particularly focused on those who have experienced the death of a loved one; those who have family or friends that have been victims of homicide; those living in high crime areas of Baltimore as well as those under the supervision of juvenile correctional services. Counseling programs are designed to restore children and their families to a place of wholeness and provide support as they experience grieving the death of a family member, friend or significant person.