WESTFIELD, NJ—Westfield’s Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss, recognized November 15 as Children’s Grief Awareness Day with two special events.

This morning, in Mindowaskin Park, Imagine held a groundbreaking for a healing garden that leaders hope will be complete by next November. Founder and Executive Director Mary Robinson, Senator Tom Kean, Councilman David Haas, Councilwoman Jo Ann Neylan, Town Administrator Jim Gildea, volunteers and members of Imagine’s board were there to kick off the project.

Robinson told the group of how Debby Burslem of the Friends of Mindowaskin Park first came to her with the idea to transform a section of land in the park into a healing garden for children and adults. The idea received the approval of the Westfield Town Council and the Department of Recreation in October and a task force is being formed of horticultural therapists, master gardeners, members of the Friends of Mindowaskin Park and other members of the community, as well as Imagine staff and volunteers.

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Robinson thanked the town of Westfield for its support of the center. “The town has been really extraordinarily generous and open to us,” she said.

This evening, at First United Methodist Church of Westfield, Imagine hosted “i Remember—An Evening of Hospitality, Healing and Hope,” a community-wide evening of remembrance for children and adults of all ages.

The purpose of the event was to come together as a community to remember the people who have died and to celebrate the resilience and healing of those who grieve. There were refreshments and fun activities for children of all ages.

Imagine is a free year-round grief support center for children and adults who are coping with the death or illness of a family member or friend. "Our mission is to support people coping with loss and to foster resiliency," said Robinson, "We also work to raise awareness about grief and loss as a way to normalize grief in our communities and help children and adults feel less alone when they are grieving.”

Event sponsors for i Remember included: Ahrre's Coffee Roastery; Summit Medical Group's Behavioral Health and Cognitive Therapy Center; Distinctive Dentistry by David M. Weinman, DMD; Christine Cosenza of State Farm Insurance; and Tiffany Natural Pharmacy.