Approximately 130,000 New Jersey children are bereaved by age 18. That number more than doubles by age 25 with approximately 330,000 New Jersey youths bereaved. In recognition of Children’s Grief Awareness Month, Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss, invites caring adults throughout New Jersey to commit to being an advocate for children in grief.
At Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss in Mountainside and Newark, the staff holds space for bereaved children, young adults, and their families to express their grief and mourn.
“The death of a parent or other important person in a child’s life is one of the most commonly reported and disruptive Adverse Childhood Experiences,” Imagine’s Founder and Executive Director Mary Robinson said. “It’s also one of the experiences we can do something about.”
Robinson, who was named a 2019 CNN Hero, went on to say, “The consistent presence of an empathetic adult who knows how to support a child in grief is the one of the biggest factors in ensuring that bereaved children grow up emotionally healthy and able to lead meaningful lives.”
Imagine is actively ensuring that children in grief have this presence not only through its free peer support programs but by providing grief education to individuals, schools, and other organizations. Throughout November, they invite the public to learn more about this important public health issue by taking a virtual tour of Imagine and by attending a webinar on Children’s Grief Awareness Day itself, November 19.
“We’re working to ensure that no child grieves alone, and the only way that will be possible is through grief education for the adults in the lives of those children,” Imagine Clinical Training Director, Connie Palmer, LCSW, said.
Four school districts in New Jersey recently signed on to become grief-informed districts through Imagine, ensuring that 38,000 young people throughout the state have access to at least one adult who knows how to support them through loss.
For additional resources, including lesson plans on childhood grief, visit imaginenj.org/cgad.
Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss is a New Jersey-based grief support center for children, young adults and families dealing with the death of a parent, sibling or child. In addition to its peer grief support programs, Imagine provides training through education and outreach programs across the state to a variety of organizations including schools, houses of worship and corporations. Its goal is to create communities where grief and loss are transformed into resilience, empathy and compassion; and where no child grieves alone.