July 18, 2014 at 4:41 PM
Imagine, a grief support center located in Westfield and serving all of Union County and beyond, provides free year-round peer grief support programs for children and teens age 3-18 who are coping with loss due to the death of a parent or sibling. The program also supports parents and guardians in concurrent support groups and young adults 18-30. Free peer support groups are also available for children who have a parent or guardian living with illness through the Imagine Tender Living Care program.
Support groups are facilitated by trained adult volunteers who attend a 32-hour training and quarterly continuing education programs. Volunteers come from all walks of life and need no special background other than a willingness to listen, a heart inclined to serve, and the ability to be with children and adults in pain without trying to fix, solve or give advice. No prior experience is necessary. Volunteers must be 21 years or older. Volunteers serve as companions and loving listeners for those who are grieving.
The next Imagine Volunteer Facilitator class will be Aug. 1-4, 2014 from 9 AM – 5 pM each day. Facilitator training prepares individuals from the community to facilitate Imagine peer support groups for children and teens age 3-18 who are coping with loss due to death, or who are coping with a terminal or chronic illness themselves or within their family. Imagine volunteers also facilitate parent and adult support groups.
"We needed to train more volunteers so we can start our fourth Night of Support starting this fall," said Mandi Zucker, Imagine Program Director. "Our programs are growing so quickly because of the great need in this community -- more than 700 children annually will lose a parent to death in Union County. More than 170 children and adults from 41 New Jersey towns are currently participating every two weeks at Imagine. It is essential we fill our August training so that we will not need to place families on a waiting list.
Mary Robinson, is the Founder and Executive Director of Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss in Westfield, NJ and the Founder and former Executive Director of Good Grief located in Morristown, NJ. Working and volunteering in the field of grief support since 1997, Ms. Robinson’s commitment is to ensure grieving children’s resiliency, emotional health and well-being. Mary has a BA in English and an MA in Applied Psychoanalysis, and holds a Certificate in Thanatology and is a certified Disaster Response Crisis Counselor. She is a member of the Association of Death Education and Counseling and the National Alliance for Grieving Children
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