Over 60 guests and volunteers turned out Thursday evening Feb. 11, despite the cold, for the Public Kickoff of Imagine's Campaign for Sustainability and New Space, a $3.5 Million 3 year campaign. The event was held at 1154 Rt. 22 West in Mountainside, one of the possible locations for Imagine's future space of its own.
In attendance were Marilyn and Lou Stiglitz, who have made a three year pledge of support to name the Imagine Opening Circle Room in memory of their daughter Susan Lang. Susan died of leukemia at age 14.
"I feel it is a wonderful place for young people to express themselves. It gives them a place to belong and to heal after losing a loved one in their family," said Mrs. Stiglitz about her pledge of support. "In my own case in losing my daughter, it would have been wonderful to have a safe haven for my son to have friends with whom he could relate some of his feelings of loss.”
Imagine currently serves over 200 children and adults in peer support groups for children coping with loss at its current location at First United Methodist Church in Westfield.
"We are so grateful to the Stiglitz family for their extraordinary gift and pledge of support. It comes at critical time in our organization's growth. As it became apparent we would outgrow our space within the coming year, Imagine's Board of Trustees launched the silent phase of our Campaign for Sustainability and a Space of Our Own" said Mary Robinson, Imagine Founder and Executive Director. "In order to to serve more families and keep up with the need for grief support we knew we would need to find a new location.”
“First United Methodist Church has been our home for three and a half years and we have been incredibly fortunate to have been able to launch our program there, right in the heart of Westfield," said Stuart Arnold, Imagine Board Chair. “Imagine was launched in 2011 with an initial grant from Dr. Gerry Glasser through the The Glasser Foundation, whose vision it was to make grief support available and accessible to the children and families in his beloved town of Westfield and all surrounding communities.
The Foundatinon has continued to provide extraordinarily generous annual support to Imagine, which has been instrumental in our ability to grow and thrive. As we now launch the public phase of our campaign and get ready to move to a new space dedicated solely to serving grieving children and families every day of the week, we invite everyone's participation and encourage you to contact Imagine to find out how you can help."
Imagine is a free year-round peer grief support center located in Westfield, New Jersey and serving all of Union County and beyond. Imagine serves children age 3-18 who have had a parent or sibling die, with concurrent support groups for their parents or guardians.
Support for children and teens living with a parent or sibling with a life-altering physical illness is also available through the Imagine "Tender Living Care" program. Free year-round support groups are also available for adults 18 and up who have had a friend, sibling, parent or other important person in their life die, or who have a parent, sibling or friend living with an illness.