Imagine Newark, a new grief support center in Newark, NJ that provides free year-round grief support programs, is seeking volunteers. While there are a variety of volunteer opportunities available, the most pressing need is for adults willing to be trained as group facilitators. These facilitators will run peer support groups for children and teens aged 3-18, and young adults aged 18-30, who are coping with loss due to the death of a parent, brother, sister, or other important person in their lives. Imagine’s grief support program also provides separate groups for the parents and guardians of the children served.
Volunteer group facilitators will lead support groups designed to provide comfort and tools to children and young adults who are navigating their way through the grieving process. Volunteers will be required to attend a 24-hour training session spread out over four days in March – Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday daytime, and Monday evening. Additional volunteer training sessions will run throughout the year. Imagine’s 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.
“As a community-based model Imagine depends on volunteers who serve as companions and loving listeners for those who are grieving,” explains Jacelyn Matthews, Imagine Newark’s Program Director. “Volunteers are the heart and soul of Imagine. They make it possible for us to offer free grief support services to children and their families and to help us ensure that one day no child in Newark will grieve alone.”
Childhood bereavement is a serious public mental and physical health issue. The death of a parent or other important person in a child’s life is one of the most commonly reported and disruptive Adverse Childhood Experiences. There are currently over 109,000 NJ youth aged 0-18 who are bereaved due to the death of a parent. Imagine Newark’s mission is to support these children and teens and ensure their ability to grow up emotionally healthy and lead meaningful and productive lives.
Anyone wishing to volunteer, or simply learn more about Imagine Newark, should contact Program Director Jacelyn Matthews at (908) 264-3100, Ext. 108, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization, uses a peer support group model to provide grief support for children and young adults. Trained adult volunteers and professionals provide children and teens with the comfort and tools needed to aid their ability to process grief and grow up emotionally healthy. Imagine has two locations in New Jersey — in Mountainside and Newark. Please click here to learn more.