March 22, 2016
Pembroke Pines Resident Cathy Balenovic to Lead Effort
Pembroke Pines, FL - Cathy Balenovic remembers that tragic day in August of 2012 as if it were yesterday.
“Our lives were indelibly changed when we suddenly lost our son, Luka,” said Balenovic. “He was only 25-years-old with his entire life ahead of him.”
What was incredibly impactful to Balenovic during that time period was how Luka’s death affected her youngest son, Tomi.
“He was just starting his freshman year and it really was a tough time,” she said. “Although there was a social worker on staff at his high school, there wasn’t a bereavement support group for students who have experienced traumatic loss.”
Fast forward four years later and Balenovic, in association with TrustBridge Health’s Sea Star Children’s Program, will soon be offering a six-week high school bereavement support group at West Broward Hall in Pembroke Pines (927 NW 178th Avenue).
The group starts on Tuesday, April 5, at 7 p.m. and participants must call 561-227-5175 by Friday, April 1, to reserve a space. Light refreshments will be provided at each session.
“Many students have been impacted by the loss of a parent, sibling or significant loved one,” said Balenovic. “As teens process grief and loss differently, a support network for students with this shared experience can be invaluable.
“I’ve been working on this effort for some time with the compassionate assistance of TrustBridge Health. Implementing this program will clearly give my family peace of mind knowing that teens will now have a resource like this available.”
Christina Dekkar, Counseling Resource Leader for TrustBridge Health, said that teens tend to turn to their peers for support when going through a difficult time.
“Grieving the loss of a loved one can be especially challenging because adolescents are still maturing mentally and emotionally,” said Dekkar. “This group creates a safe space for them to talk about their loved ones and process their feelings.”