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Music Under the Stars event benefits ABQ grief centers

Guests attend a past benefit for the Grief Resource Center. (Courtesy of The Grief Resource Center)

Grief can happen to anyone.

That is why the Grief Resource Center and the Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico are here to help.

The organizations do not charge for their services and rely on donations from individuals, corporations, grants and events.

One of the events is the annual Music Under the Stars to benefit Albuquerque grief centers on Friday, Sept. 6, at The Banque Lofts Rooftop. Proceeds from the event will benefit both grief centers.

The centers have done separate events in previous years.

In addition to live music, the event will feature art, food and more. Participants include the Daily Grind, Chello Grill, Savor, Castle Coffee, Pizza 9, Sugar Rush Gourmet Cotton Candy, Dialogue Brewing, Sheehan Winery and Safe House Distilling Co. Munirah Music and Burque Sol will donate their time and provide live entertainment throughout the night.

It will be held in conjunction with the ABQ Art Walk, which is held the first Friday of each month. And New Mexico United players will be on hand for a meet-and-greet.

Corporate sponsors, including Parnall Law, will help cover expenses. The Banque Lofts has donated its rooftop space for the event, and Rustic Vintage Rentals is donating its time and decor to create a lounge area, according to Arlene Espinoza-Armijo, director of development at the Grief Resource Center. A raffle for prizes will be held as an additional fundraising effort for the grief organizations.

“It should be a lovely night,” said Shari O’Loughlin, executive director of Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico. “We’ve really enjoyed it the past few (events). It’s just a terrific way for people to learn about our organizations but come out and celebrate New Mexico and have fun at the same time. We do some pretty serious work, but we can still have an enjoyable evening outside as people learn about our services and what we do.”

Anyone can reach out to either of the grief organizations for help. Each also receives referrals from hospitals, counselors, teachers, principals and families. The Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico serves ages 5 to young adults and assists their caregivers.

“The whole family can get support after trauma and loss,” O’Loughlin said. “We see some pretty terrific results. Just a bit of background, especially children that are bereaved, they’re very high-risk for things like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, unhealthy coping techniques, risky behavior and so on.”

The Grief Resource Center helps adults ages 18 and older. It has licensed clinical therapists who provide free counseling to help people experiencing grief due to life-changing events such as loss of a loved one, loss of a pet, financial loss, job loss, divorce or a health crisis.

“The word ‘grief,’ it’s tricky because we grew up in a culture that assumes that grief is only attached to death and dying, but grief is very much a part of all of our lives,” Espinoza-Armijo said. “It manifests and shows up in different ways, depending on where we are in life and what’s happening in our circle and in our environment.”

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