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HesperiaStar.com
  • Children's grief center finds new home

    Sunset Hills Children's Foundation to carry on operations
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  • APPLE VALLEY — Sunset Hills Children’s Foundation Founder Chet Hitt said Saturday that his nonprofit organization would carry on the efforts of a local grief program that recently announced it would close its doors due to financial difficulties.
    Hitt, and Foundation Executive Director Jennifer Hernandez, said the organization received short notice regarding the closure of the Mourning Star Center located in Victorville, but hope to keep the program alive by carrying it over under the Foundation’s umbrella of programs.
    “If we can’t acquire the actual charity then we’re going to take over the program,” Hitt said Saturday. “The ultimate goal is that we don’t want this program to disappear. It’s helped a lot of children and teens.”
    Hitt said he believes many in the community do not know about the impact of the program and how it has touched the lives of several teens.
    “There was a young man that went through the program who had found his father who committed suicide,” Hitt said. “He struggled with it. But not only did he go to Mourning Star, he then reapplied and volunteered for them.”
    Hitt said the foundation would maintain services in the High Desert only and has a goal to have the program “up and running” by December.
    According to Hitt, the Sunset Hills Foundation was started several years ago as a charity to raise money for children who lost their parents. Today, Hernandez said they cater to children and teens who have had any sort of loss of a close relative or friend. The Sunset Hills Foundation gives away one of the largest local scholarships of $20,000 to a college-bound teen whose parent or close relative has died.
    Hitt said they hope to raise funds through the community by creating memberships for those who can donate $100 a year or $8.33 a month.
    “Our goal is to eventually have 1,000 to 1,500 members sustain the program annually,” Hitt said. “We’re going to ask people to donate, and a little bit goes a long way.”
    Brooke Self may be reached at 760-951-6232 or BSelf@VVDailyPress.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at @BrookeSelf or @DPEduNews.
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