Imagine peer grief groups are the main source of support for grieving families in Union county and beyond. Support groups are facilitated by trained adult volunteers who attend a 4-day 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. Seven new volunteers were recently trained to become facilitators.

"As our programs continue to grow, so does our need for additional, highly trained facilitators," said Mandi Zucker, Imagine Program Director. "Our programs are growing because of the great need in this community — over 700 children annually will lose a parent to death in Union County alone. Over 260 children and adults from over 55 NJ towns are currently participating every two weeks at Imagine. The volunteers that run these support groups are the heart of the program and we could not offer these groups without them." 

Volunteer facilitators learn how to create a safe space and facilitate difficult conversations. Through the training, they will learn skills that will serve them not only at Imagine but in their lives as well.

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Imagine is a free year-round peer grief support center located in Mountainside, NJ and serving all of Union County and beyond. Imagine serves children, young adults and parents/guardians who have had a parent, sibling or child die.  Support groups for caregivers of a person living with a life-altering physical illness are also available.

Recent attendees of a recent training session included: Marilyn Toriello, Westfield; Jeff Harris, Westfield:  Sean Foley, Scotch Plains; Debbie Worms, Westfield; Leslie Barmakian, Westfield;  Lisa Schwartz, Westfield and Alexandra Tinfow, Mountainside.

Anyone interested in learning more about the next training scheduled for July 19-22, 2018 9 a.m. - 5 Pp.m. daily, or about Imagine, may contact Mandi Zucker, MSW, CT at Mandi@imaginenj.org or visit our website at www.imaginenj.org