What was once known as the Sage Centre is now called the Children’s Grief Centre, as the rebrand officially launched in Calgary on Tuesday.
Hospice Calgary, which has been around for close to 30 years, is still going to operate this iteration of the support centre.
“The difference is that the name Hospice Calgary has kept people away,” said Nadine Gariépy-Fisk, director of the Children’s Grief Centre.
She explained that people used be told to call Hospice Calgary, which would be incongruent with their experience.
“When you’ve had a suicide in your family or a motor vehicle accident, you don’t think of calling a hospice,” Gariépy-Fisk said. “So calling it the Children’s Grief Centre, it actually says what we do. This is going to make it accessible for many families who are needing these services. It’s hard when you’re grieving. It’s hard to know where to be and where you’re going to find that support.”
The name is about making it obvious what the centre does: supporting kids and teens as they grieve the loss of anyone close to them.
The centre offers individual and family counselling, group programs, peer-to-peer connection, and phone and online support. The centre hopes to add text and chat support to better connect with kids and renovate its facility to help more families.
Last year, more than 2,000 children, teens and adults received support through individual and family counselling and group programs, according to the centre.
‘You’re not alone’
Michael Finkle said he developed some “self-destructive habits” after his dad died of prostate cancer in May 2018.
He has been coming to the centre once a week since the beginning of April.
Finkle said he felt alone in dealing with his loss until he found this program.
“I honestly thought, ‘There’s no one else who knows what I’m going through.’ Came here. There’s hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of kids all over Calgary that are going through the exact same thing I am. I had no idea,” he said.