Good Grief Launches Free Program for Grieving Children and Families in Jersey City

Malena Attar Press

Good Grief has partnered with RWJBarnabas Health to launch a free grief support program in Jersey City. Good Grief’s mission is to provide unlimited and free support to children, teens, young adults, and families after the death of a mother, father, sister, or brother through peer support programs, education, and advocacy. While Good Grief’s two centers in Morristown and Princeton, New Jersey serve over 550 participants monthly, the demand for grief support throughout New Jersey is staggering. Statistics show that 1 out of 7 children will experience the death of a parent or sibling before the age of 20, which would equate to 280,000 children in New Jersey alone. Furthermore, the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement states that 90% of all children will face grief through the death of an immediate family member, grandparent, friend, or other close relationship.

Without proper support, childhood bereavement is a universal threat to all demographics. “Grief can be extremely isolating, especially for children. Good Grief creates a safe place for grieving families to remember, share experiences, and know they are not alone,” said Good Grief CEO, Joe Primo. With effects similar to neglect, abuse, and abandonment, the loss of a significant person leaves children vulnerable and susceptible to long-term risk factors. “We work to make the stress of childhood bereavement more tolerable,” continues Mr. Primo. “It’s preventative work through the power of human connection, education, and advocacy.”

Good Grief families know that with grief, comes the prospect of hope. Even though every individual and each context faces its own set of risk factors, they all share an opportunity for building resilience. Good Grief’s programs decrease risk factors and promote effective intervention, working towards a more supportive, grief-informed, and compassionate community.

Good Grief’s Jersey City program, In Community, was created in response to the growing need for grief support services in urban communities. The easily accessible program provides support in the communities where grieving children and families live.

In Community meets once a week for 9 weeks, and is designed for children 6-18-years-old who have experienced the loss of someone significant in their lives. Each night begins with dinner and fellowship.  Afterwards, the children go into age-specific peer support groups, while the guardians receive support and learn resilient parenting for bereaved children.

In Community fosters stronger parent/guardian relationships, promotes responsiveness from adults, and equips children with coping strategies so that they can experience joy and hope in the face of devastating loss.

When asked about his experience in the program, a Father participant reflected “”I am so thankful to have this program available for me and my two young daughters. We have been looking for something to help us through our grief, but we could never find anything that really helped. It was frustrating and draining. When I saw that In Community was available to my family, I was filled with hope. To see my daughters express themselves, and even smile, with kids that understand them is a gift. We have looked forward to coming every week.”

To learn more about the program, volunteer opportunities, or potential partnerships, please contact Whitney Allen: whitney@good-grief.org

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Good Grief is respected as a national leader in delivering grief services to children and their families.  It is the leading provider of these services in New Jersey serving over 1,000 children since its founding in 2004.  Good Grief is a registered 501(c) (3) tax-exempt non-profit organization whose mission is to provide unlimited free support to children, teens and families after the death of a parent or sibling.  Servicing more than 150 communities, we operate programs in Morristown and Princeton. For more information about Good Grief, please visit our web site www.good-grief.org.