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.

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Volunteers serve as companions and active listeners for those who are grieving. The next Imagine Volunteer Facilitator class will be December 5 -8, 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 in January," 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 180 children and adults from 48 New Jersey towns are currently participating every two weeks at Imagine. It is essential we fill our December training so that we will not need to place families on a waiting list.

For more information, contact Imagine Program Director at 908-264-3100  or mandi@imaginenj.org or visit imaginenj.org.