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Dolores and Philip’s Story: The Memory of Melissa

“We celebrate our daughter’s life rather than mourn her loss, and know that as long as she is in our hearts, she is with us always.” - Dolores and Philip found comfort at the Family Justice Center after their daughter’s tragic death.

*Dolores and *Philip were looking forward to their daughter *Melissa’s high school graduation. They had spent so much time visiting colleges and were so relieved that she had just been accepted to her first choice.

But one day, their hopes and dreams for Melissa’s future were taken away – shot down in a single moment. While walking home from school, 17-year-old Melissa was killed by a stray bullet.

Dolores and Philip were devastated and in need of help. The police overseeing Melissa’s murder investigation told them about the resources Safe Horizon offers to families of homicide victims.

Support for the Parents and All Family Members of Homicide Victims

Dolores and Philip worked with Vilma Torres, now the Director of Safe Horizon’s staff at the Bronx Family Justice Center. Family Justice Centers (FJCs) address victims’ needs by bringing together social and legal service agencies, police, district attorneys, and other key personnel together under one roof.

For decades she has worked with people like Dolores and Philip and helped them every step of the way towards healing.

We help thousands of people like Dolores and Philip by providing:

  • Counseling
  • Assistance with funeral costs
  • Access to support groups

The couple recently told us about the help they received:

We were distraught parents who lost the precious treasure that was our daughter’s life…With constant and untiring work, with love and care, Vilma kept in touch with us through birthdays, Mother’s Day and the holidays to remind us what a beautiful gift it was to have our daughter. Through Vilma, we celebrate our daughter’s life rather than mourn her loss, and know that as long as she is in our hearts, she is with us always.

Grief over the loss of a loved one doesn’t have an endpoint. That’s why our resources for families of homicide victims don’t have a time limit. Melissa was murdered in 1987, and Vilma is still in touch with Dolores and Philip today.

* Client names and identifying information have been changed to protect their privacy. Images used are representations of Safe Horizon’s clients.

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