SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Union Catholic students recently participated in the Imagine #Here4U Grief Education Program, which featured very thought-provoking presentations from Connie Palmer. 

UC has partnered with Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss in Mountainside, on this grief education program in order to normalize grief and educate students about how to provide positive support for those who are grieving.

Palmer, the Clinical Training Director at Imagine, delivered her presentations to all the freshmen and juniors at UC over the course of several days. During the presentations, students were given several “Power Tools” to be used when coping with loss, challenge, or change.  

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Palmer offered great suggestions of how to share your feelings and stressed that it’s okay to reach out for support and open up about challenges you are facing, especially during the pandemic. She also showed several videos from current and former UC students who courageously shared their personal stories of grief and resilience and offered great advice to their peers.

Riley Roder, Union Catholic’s Junior Class President, said the presentations were very impactful.   

“We were able to learn how to deal with stress, anxiety, and loss, all through the advice of our fellow classmates, which was a unique experience,’’ said Roder. “Through the advice of our peers, we learned how to not only recognize our feelings, but how to cope with grief. Alumni who graduated years ago offered their emails for us to reach out to them, in case we ever wanted to talk, which I think truly shows the special bond between Union Catholic students. When everything changes in a matter of months, it is comforting to have a program as great as Imagine, knowing help is right within the doors of Union Catholic.’’

Jennifer Dixon, the Director of School Counseling at Union Catholic, praised Palmer and Imagine for their continued support and said the presentation was very relevant. 

“We are so thankful we were able to offer this important presentation for the eighth consecutive year,’’ said Dixon. “Coping with grief and loss is a topic of immediate relevance during the pandemic. Connie artfully weaves together the stories our peer mentors share of their experiences of loss with strategies for how students can care for themselves and their peers during difficult times. This presentation brings together our school community, highlighting  the resilience and compassion of our students, faculty, staff and alumni.’’