Founder over 24 years ago by Sister Una Connelly, Valley Family Center is dedicated to providing counseling and educational services to facilitate personal growth, strengthen the family unit and protect human dignity for all persons in need. As the current Executive Director, Sister Carmel Somers provides the leadership and vision for the continued success of the organization.
Valley Family Center client Rita has suffered through one of life’s experiences we all hope to never have to endure. The tragic and senseless loss of a child. In February of 2008 a drunk driver struck and killed her oldest child, a daughter named Emily. Emily was a excellent student with aspirations of helping her family once she received her degree. She would not survive to fulfill her dream. The grief was overwhelming, casting a shadow of depression so dark, finding a way out seemed impossible. But there would be light again.
A close friend encouraged her to visit Valley Family Center, hoping that she could find some comfort from counseling there. “It has been a blessing coming to Valley Family Center and getting the help I needed. It has been hard to talk about my experience, about what happened to my daughter, but it has been helpful for the healing process.” said Rita “I used to be very depressed, unable to enjoy my family, especially my two boys. Now, after counseling, I’m able to enjoy their company.”
Receiving grief counseling has not only helped her as an individual, but as a family as well. Rita’s 11 and 14 year-old boys have also received counseling here at the Center. She is very appreciative for the assistance in understanding that her two boys need her now more than ever. Recently, Rita surprised them with a trip to Citywalk, a place her family used to often enjoy together, but had not visited since her daughter’s death. Until now, Rita had been unable to go to places that her daughter loved so much. But now, she can return to family favorites like Citywalk. “I felt my daughter’s presence there that day. I’m so thankful for the Center’s help to understand that my family needs me, and that I can be there for them.”
As a result of her therapy, Rita has become strong enough to talk to others about what happened to her daughter. “I want to tell the world of the dangers of alcohol and driving. I want to tell others that it’s not OK to drink and drive.” Valley Family Center has been a great resource for their family. Rita added that, “My experience at Valley Family Center has been very positive. I have learned so much. I’ve realized that I need to use my strengths in positive ways. I’m developing computer skills and creating posters that send the message to stop drunk drivers. Working through this horrible experience has helped me to realize that I need to utilize my strengths, and focus on my other two children.” While there is nothing that will bring Rita’s daughter back to her, there is comfort in the healing she has found here at Valley Family Center.