via Town Topics
“WHERE HOPE LIVES:” Good Grief, a childhood bereavement organization, has recently purchased this Mapleton Road building as its Princeton headquarters. The nonprofit, in expansion mode with a $2 million capital campaign underway, provides free programs to hundreds of grieving children and families.
Looking to ensure a permanent presence in Princeton, Good Grief, which provides free programs to hundreds of children after the death of a family member, has purchased a home for its expanding operations at 5 Mapleton Road.
Good Grief, which branched out to Princeton from Morristown in 2012 and has seen a growth of 29 percent in demand for its programs in the past year, recently partnered with HiTops to provide support to local students after the suicide of a Princeton teen. The nonprofit organization moved to Mapleton Road in 2015, after outgrowing its rented space at PrincetonAlumniCorps and Trinity Church, and has launched a $2 million capital campaign to fully fund the newly acquired building that they had been renting. Their campaign has reached 50 percent of its goal.
“The purchase of this building demonstrates that we are a permanent fixture for this community, but we also need the community’s support,” said Good Grief CEO Joe Primo. “We’ll be here when children face the hardest days of their lives.”
He added, “In addition to our nationally respected programs for grieving families, we are providing education and advocating for children so that their social ecologies are better equipped to care for them and so that children learn to become resilient during times of adversity.”
The Mapleton Road headquarters, purchased for $1.65 million, has 10,000 square feet of interactive space, including a volcano room where kids can express their anger and hurt, a theater and hospital room, an arts and crafts room, a teen center, and group rooms for children and parents.
Between its Morristown and Princeton centers, Good Grief supports about 550 participants each month, and reaches thousands of children each year with its education and advocacy efforts. Mercer and Middlesex counties have the second and third highest populations of grieving children in the state.
Princeton physician and Good Grief Board member Rob Meirowitz stated, ”Children are the foundation of our future, and they lose a piece of themselves after a parent dies, so we must do all we can to keep them healthy by giving them Good Grief.” Mr. Meirowitz lost his wife while his children were teenagers, and he worked closely with Good Grief to facilitate its opening in Princeton in 2012.
One of the first Princeton participants in Good Grief, now 16 years old, described her experience: “Life is one of the toughest teachers because it gives you the test first and the lesson afterwards. I think losing a loved one is one of the hardest tests to learn from and one we are never really prepared for regardless of our age. There are no words to explain the roller coaster of feelings that emerge during this test because the grieving process is a very personal one and differs for each of us. Good Grief encourages us to dig deep inside ourselves to find the answers to our individual challenges.”
She continued, “In Good Grief I found support that my friends in school can’t offer because they live a completely different reality. Good Grief provides the space to remember those we have lost and share our stories and memories in a natural way, without being judged or pitied. Good Grief is not a sad place. Here we feel safe to be who we really are and express what we really feel. At Good Grief we feel normal.”
Mr. Primo emphasized the importance of the Good Grief mission and the significance of the organization’s new home. “The power of the human connection is very much alive in our home,” he said. For us, this is not just a beautiful building alongside Lake Carnegie, it is the birthplace of a new reality and a new life for children reimagining an unimaginable future. Within the walls of this big yellow house, love is expressed and hope is found in the community that is formed here. Children are taught resilience and healthy coping, families rebuild themselves, and joy and happiness return. This is where hope lives.”