17-year-old Albuquerque girl unveils ‘Blowing Off Steam Room’

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Hundreds have donated their time, money and equipment to the Grief Center over the past year. Now they’re not just surviving — they’re thriving.

That’s partly because a young girl picked up the phone and asked if there was anything she could do to help.

17-year-old Fallon Setter first heard about The Grief Center after it was burgled last summer.

“I saw the message that was broken into, so I got in touch,” Setter said. “That first call was like being told the extent of the damage and what they had lost and just letting them know I’m ready to help with anything they need from me.”

What the grief center needed was a safe place for people of all ages to really flourish.

“This is the Blowing Off Steam Room, and it’s designed to let your anger out through your grief, but in a safe way,” Setter said.

Setter, with the help of her parents’ friends, family and work colleagues, raised more than $4,000 to make this possible.

“We had about 20 to 30 people who helped with donations,” Setter said. “The money was used to finance the upholstered walls and floors.”

“Children often disguise anger as pain and don’t know how to express that pain. And so it’s possible to come into this room and, you know, kick something, punch something, stamp your feet, you know, bang on the wall, however you want to do it. It’s really important and safe,” said Suzie Blake, the Grief Center’s director of development.

It can also be used as a relaxation room.

“It’s a nice place to cuddle with one of our stuffed animals and maybe just sit quietly. We have many books in our free grief resource library,” Blake said.

Blake says she’s been overwhelmed by the support they’ve received from the community since they broke in – from donations of money and equipment to volunteers who have enabled them to expand their programs.

“As of September, we have ministered to nearly 700 people and we are really fortunate to be able to offer this service to our community,” Blake said.

Setter chose this as her Gold Award project for the Girl Scouts. All donors who contributed to the Blowing Off Steam Room will be able to see it for the first time at the Grief Center on Monday evening at 6pm.

Bereavement officials say they have been using it since February and have already seen tremendous progress in the service.

For related stories: Brianna Wilson

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