Westfield’s Imagine Center Adds Support for Families Coping with Illness and More this Fall
Thursday, August 22, 2013 • 5:59pm
WESTFIELD, NJ — Beginning this fall, Imagine, a Center for Coping with Loss, in partnership with Overlook Hospital and the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center, will offer Tender Living Care (TLC), a new weekly peer support group program for children and families who have a family member with a terminal, chronic or life-altering illness. Support groups are available for children ages three to18, for the adult or child with the illness and for the caregiver(s) in the family.
“From the moment of diagnosis, the Tender Living Care program is able to help children, teens and adults cope with the changes and losses that come along with serious illness,” said Mary Robinson, executive director of Imagine.
Up until now, Imagine has only held support groups for children whose parent or sibling died. Thanks to the generous support of the Northfield Bank Foundation and The Overlook Foundation this program is able to expand. The JFK Medical Center Haven Hospice Program in Edison is also a partner with Imagine in this initiative, providing consulting, training for volunteers and education for participants.
“Grief starts at the moment of diagnosis—it doesn’t wait until someone has died. Many families who attend Imagine for bereavement support come to us after the death of someone who has been ill for a long time. TLC is there to support and give assistance to children and caregivers and to help caregivers find sensitive ways of communicating with and guiding children during difficult times. Children will grow in their resiliency and parents and caregivers will learn how to help their children cope,” said Robinson.
Peer support groups will meet at the same time so the whole family can attend together. At Imagine, group members find a safe place where common issues and feelings can be explored. New members are welcome to join at any time. Groups are free of charge and available for as long as needed.
Imagine is located upstairs in the First United Methodist Church at 1 East Broad Street in Westfield. For more information, contact Imagine Program Director Mandi Zucker at 908-264-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Imagine at www.imaginenj.org
Also coming up this fall at Imagine:
- Bereavement support groups for children and adults coping with loss due to death start on September 9 and run on Monday and Tuesday evenings. For more information or to register for an orientation contact Mandi Zucker at email@example.com or 908-264-3100.
- The next Imagine volunteer facilitator training will take place Sept. 20 through Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Mandi Zucker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-264-3100.
- On Nov. 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Imagine and the JCC of Central New Jersey will host “How to Help Children Cope with Loss Due to Death – A Community Workshop.” Dr. Donna Schuurman, executive director of the Dougy Center in Portland, Ore., will present. This workshop is free and open to the public.
- On Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, Imagine will host “Fostering Resilience in the Aftermath of Trauma and Loss,” an educational conference for professionals and lay personnel, with Dr. Donna Schuurman. CEUs provided. To register, contact Imagine or visit imaginenj.org.
- On Children’s Grief Awareness Day, Nov. 21, Imagine will host “iRemember, an Evening of Healing and Hope,” a community-wide event to remember the people in our lives who have died and to celebrate the resilience and healing of those who grieve. There will be a community art project and the sharing of music, memories and readings, followed by desserts and other refreshments.