On Saturday, Sept. 9, Imagine held its’ sixth youth facilitator training. Eighteen amazing young people, ages 14 to 18, attended the full day training which sensitizes teen participants to the issue of childhood grief, and prepares the youth to assist with the facilitation of peer-support groups for children who are coping with the death of a parent or a sibling.

Through the development of listening and facilitating skills, these teens are now prepared to be loving listeners, group facilitators and advocates for grieving children in their community.  "We are so grateful for the participation of these youth. The teens bring wisdom, youthful energy and a wonderful presence and skill set to our volunteer program and grief support groups, facilitating groups right along with the adult volunteer facilitators," said Connie Palmer, Imagine Clinical Training Director.  "We've been working with teen facilitators since 2012 and they have added a profound and powerful aspect to our programs."

Pictured above are: Giulia Gocci-Mountainside, Julia Zucosky-Scotch Plains,  Kelly Greiner-Chatham, Dani Jayinski-Scotch Plains, Sara Miller-Westfield,  Amanda Carrico-Mountainside, Jessica Friebely-Scotch Plains, Colette Franciscus-Scotch Plains,  Brett Simons-Short Hills, Justin Zucker-Westfield, Abby Riordon-Westfield, Sara Joseph-Kenilworth, Kai Chiang-Mountainside, Will Sherry-Westfield, Tunji  Oaadewole-North Plainfield, Jeremy Dranikoff-Short Hills, Ben Krauss-Scotch Plains and Kimberly Cruz-Union.  Imagine is so grateful for our dedicated youth and adult volunteers who provide the opportunity for grieving children and their parents to get the support they need.

Imagine provides free year-round peer support groups for children age 3-18 who have had a parent or sibling die, with concurrent groups for parents and guardians.  Free support groups are also available for young adults 18 and up who have had a friend, sibling or parent die.  Imagine also provides in-home support and support groups for children and teens who have a family member living with a life-altering physical illness. For more information about Imagine, come for a tour offered three times a month.  Tour dates can be found by visiting their website at www.imaginenj.org or contact info@imaginenj.org or 908-264-3100.