The Christi Center is an Austin organization that began 25 years ago. The story of the Christi Center is also a story of bereaved parents and the loss of a child. According to the website www.fortheloveofchristi.org they share the following:
“When 20-year old Christi Lanahan was tragically killed by a drunk driver in 1985, life was permanently altered in an instant for her mom and stepdad, Susan and Don Cox. In a state of shock and consumed with grief, they found few community resources to support grieving families. Drowning in grief and facing great personal and marital challenges, the Coxes (along with Christi’s brother, Sean) decided to reach out to others instead of retreating.
On the two-year anniversary of Christi’s death, they founded nonprofit “For the Love of Christi”, with a mission to provide free, ongoing grief support to Central Texans who have experienced a loss of a loved one, regardless of circumstances. Recently re-branded as The Christi Center, the organization provides peer-based support groups information/referral, outreach and education on grief issues, and limited individual counseling.
At the heart of the organization is the Center’s peer-based grief support group model, which “normalizes” the grief experience by connecting the bereaved with others who have experienced losses of a similar nature, showing them that a “new normal” is possible after loss. The Center serves children, teens, and adults, and is constantly conducting outreach to better meet the needs of grieving people.
In 1993, we began partnering with Austin Independent School District (AISD) schools to serve children on site-at schools. In 2010, we opened a satellite office in Williamson County at the Georgetown Community Resource Center. We offer groups for children (ages 5-12), teens (13-18), loss of a child, loss of a spouse, adult general loss, men’s/women’s groups, loss to suicide, and loss to violent crime.
We have a 25-year legacy of providing love, hope, comfort and support to people of all ages in a warm and welcoming environment. Many who come here say that we saved their lives, and stay with us for years as volunteers and donors, becoming part of our Christi Center “family”. Although we come together out of sadness, the Center breeds friendship and hope for a new life after loss. We’re always here for you.”
One of the activities that The Christi Center does to remember loved ones is the Memorial Tree Grove Dedication. The Christi Center has planted a total of 954 memorial trees at Lady Bird Lake in Austin from 1991-2000 and Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock from 2001-present. The tree groves are a living memorial to loved ones, and many families gather there to reflect, picnic, and enjoy the restorative powers of nature. The next tree grove planting is scheduled for October 19, 2013 at Old Settler’s Park.
I am excited to announce that as a memorial to Elizabeth, Fischer, Benjamin and Hayes, I am having a tree planted in their honor. I wanted to do something in Round Rock for the time that Lizz lived with me and the two years that she spent at Stony Point High School. The Round Rock forestry department will plant the trees at Old Settler’s Park and will maintain them in perpetuity. They will place a plaque with their names: “ELIZABETH A., FISCHER P., BENJAMIN S., & HAYES W. DOWDY”. Once I know the location of where their tree is planted I will let you know in case you are in the area. There will be a dedication ceremony on October 19th, and I am looking forward to sitting under their tree on special days (i.e. birthdays) or a wonderful Texas sunrise/sunset and will watch for butterflies, lizards or perhaps a rainbow sometime? I will be sure and update the blog post with pictures of their tree after the 19th!
Until next time!