Recent KOB 4 highlight Caristo’s investigative work for the family of Kaitlyn Arquette, an Albuquerque teenager murdered in 1989.
But over the years– Caristo has extended its support to thousands of other families through its nonprofit– Resource center for victims of violent death.
Joan Shirley nominated Caristo for this week’s Pay It 4ward.
“There are a lot of people who are embarrassed by themselves. They don’t know what to do next. They need support on a daily basis and that is what the Resource Center for Violent Death does. People can call, talk to Pat at any time. She’s been a great advocate trying to find support and resources for her family,” Shirley said.
Caristo has helped family members understand their legal rights as a victim. And she connected them with grief counseling. Perhaps most importantly – she connected them with others who are going through similar pain and trauma.
Cariston has brought together mothers who have lost all of their sons to gun violence.
Josette Otero, Kyle Martinez’s mother, said: “At the worst time of my life, Pat was there and made me feel that I was not alone. “I also feel like Pat helped me through this and a lot of my depression. She gave me the stepping stones to live for my son instead of living for his death.”
“She never had enough money to cover everything. It’s not enough to have full-time employees all the time. There wasn’t enough money for all that and I wanted to honor her for that good work,” Shirley said.
While $400 is a significant reduction, Shirley knows Caristo will put it to good use, especially when more people need help than in any previous year.
“Yes, and the more difficult part now is that we get them within days or weeks of the murder and those needs are different from those of the families that are a little further away, they have burials and some people sad. Now families don’t know where to go,” Caristo said.
But all the help Caristo and her nonprofit have given has come at a financial cost, and while the need is growing, the cash flow, especially during the pandemic – is slowing down.
“We are limited in what we can give them, as opposed to having to. We’re trying to find a way to say– what can we do to meet these expanding needs? ‘ Caristo said.
Caristo is someone you pray that your life experiences don’t need her help.
But for the hundreds of families who have benefited from her generosity – their prayers are a thank you that she has been in their lives.
https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-community/pay-it-4ward-violent-crimes-victims-advocate-honored-for-helping-grieving-families/6348440/?cat=500 Pay It 4ward: Violence for Violent Crime Victims honored for helping grieving families