West Virginia Family Grief Center awarded grant from former Delegate Fleischauer

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Former Monongalia County Delegate Barbara Fleischauer has presented a local economic development grant in the amount of $5,544 to the West Virginia Family Grief Center in Morgantown.

The center provides peer support for children, teens, and adults dealing with the loss of a child, sibling, or spouse.

Barbara Fleischauer

Fleischauer said grief recovery is a very individualized experience that can be difficult to treat conventionally. The peer support model eliminates potential barriers and fosters a more open relationship.

“You can go into a grocery store and see someone’s favorite food, and you burst into tears in the middle of the grocery store, and you feel stupid about that,” Fleischauer said. ” But if you have a peer group, they will get it, they’ve been there.”

Local churches volunteer to provide meals during periodic meetings. The meetings provide a change of pace and an outlet for grief victims to make new associations.

“That’s important too, just to have an evening where the single mom doesn’t have to make the meal and can be with her children or other families,” Fleischauer said.

Meetings increase during the traditional school year as students are faced with daily challenges. Giving younger people more opportunities to talk about how they feel regularly allows healing to continue.

“They try to do it weekly during the school year,” Fleischauer said. “It’s hard for some of those kids to think they’re the only ones in middle school that have had this happen, and they feel so badly.”

The center has no paid staff this year and estimates expenses to be around $10,000 for food and insurance. Fleischauer said they have an immediate need for peer facilitators and board members for the organization.

“This is just a thing people in our community could do that really gives back as much as you give,” Fleischauer said.

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