SHELTON, Conn. — When Allison Wysota’s husband, Adam, died suddenly of a heart attack in 2012, the Weston resident looked around for help for her three grieving teenagers.
“Everything is isolated ‘therapy,’” Wysota said of the kinds of programs she found. “They really just needed to be with their peers — people who were going through the same things — and know they weren’t alone.”
On Thursday, Wysota officially opened Adam’s House, a new grief education center housed in a bright and spacious Coram Avenue Victorian that she hopes will address the same need for other families.
The site will offer a number of programs, most notably its eight-week Helping Hearts Heal program, a free series of weekly meetings for children struggling with the loss of a parent, grandparent, sibling or friend. The closed, theme-based programming will focus on peer support and grief education with the goal of building resiliency and self-esteem and validating emotions with peers.
Mayor Mark Lauretti and Bill Purcell of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce were on hand to applaud Wysota’s efforts on behalf of children experiencing grief.
Lauretti said he was happy Wysota chose to open the center in Shelton, though he expects it will attract families from around the region.
“There are people that are in need everywhere,” he said. “This just fills a void and a niche.”
Purcell said he thought it was fitting to open the new center just days before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“We all feel a special sadness this week,” he said.
Adam’s House has been a labor of love for Wysota and an extended family of friends. Before his death, Adam Wysota held prestigious positions at Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., Barclays Capital, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley, and the Wall Street community provided much initial fundraising, she said.
The center also won a $5,000 GE Star Award and a $2,000 CT Love/Connoisseur grant, which covered the purchase of sand/water tables and miniature figurines for younger children.
Matthew’s Children’s Foundation provided $1,000 to create the “confessional,” a private space where children can record messages to loved ones who have passed or share thoughts with surviving family members.
Adam’s House has partnered with 10 area therapists to help support families as they begin the center’s programming. The center is also home to a monthly widows group Wysota started two years ago, and that group is expanding to welcome widowers, she said.
A longtime Jets fan and Little League coach, Adam Wysota “would probably rather have his name on a football stadium,” Wysota told those gathered for the grand opening. But she said she hopes Adam’s House will be a helpful source of strength for those who come through its doors.
“This is a place for hope,” she said. “You have another path and let’s find out how to get you on it.”
Learn more about Adam’s House at www.adamshousect.org.
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