About Our Programs

At Good Grief, we 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. Our programs address the needs of the whole child: breaking down isolation and stigmas, equipping families with coping strategies and communication skills, and promoting good mental and physical health. Good Grief works to raise awareness and advocate for grieving children and families to ensure that no child ever has to grieve alone.

Our vision is to provide free, unlimited, and accessible support and advocacy to children and teens throughout New Jersey, while making New Jersey the first state to fully support and advocate for all of its children and families who are grieving.

 

Nights of Support

Our programming takes place on our Nights of Support (NOS), which utilize a community-based peer support model. At Good Grief, we equip our participants with the necessary coping skills required to face grief from the start, giving them tools for the remainder of their lives. Our groups support grieving children and adults by reducing isolation, tapping into resiliency, creating a safe environment to process one’s life story, and develop a sense of hopefulness for the future.

Good Grief’s nationally recognized programs provide year-round, peer support that are free-of-charge to children ages 3-17, their parents, young adults ages 18-30, and adults who have experienced the death of a child. Good Grief also provides bilingual support in our La Noche de Los Amigos program for Spanish-speaking grieving families. Our participants may remain in the program for as long as they need support, which on average is three years.

Our NOS groups meet on weekday evenings from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at both our Morristown and Princeton centers. The night begins with a pizza dinner for the families, followed by opening circle where each family member is offered the opportunity to share their name and who died. Afterwards, the children and adults meet in their respective groups where they participate in an age appropriate activity designed to facilitate discussion, learning, and exploration while encouraging developmentally appropriate play. Our centers have a theater room, music room, hospital room, arts and crafts room, volcano room, and other modalities used for expression and play. The adult groups engage in conversation about a variety of relevant topics ranging from their grief, coping strategies, parenting, dating, and ongoing survival skills.

About Peer Support

Research shows that the majority of children who have experienced the death of an important person in their life greatly benefit from peer support. Good Grief is not a clinical organization and does not offer one-on-one counseling or therapy. The Good Grief model is peer support, which consists of bringing grieving people together to form a compassionate and caring community who support and grow alongside one another.

We facilitate peer support by creating a space for “kids to be kids” through a variety of methods including play, music, art, drama, and reflective sharing. Because grief is a beneficial reaction to death, we do not believe that there is a problem to be “fixed,” but rather a new reality to learn to live with. Our hope is that participants feel safe to share their story and to find support from others who are grieving. Our groups are formed based on age and the child’s developmental growth. Every group is different and has its own unique identity, but generally our younger groups spend more time expressing themselves through activities and play, whereas our older groups engage in more conversations. We value all modes of grieving and initiate peer support through various expressions of grief.

How To Enroll in Our Peer Support Programs

For information about our programs please contact our Family Coordinators:
Morristown: Terry Blagdon at 908-522-1999 x8012 or terry@good-grief.org.
Princeton: Patty Ryan at 609-498-6674 x8006 or patty@good-grief.org.

Enrichment Programs

Good Grief provides enrichment programs that are in line with our core philosophies and program goals to our participants and alumni. These programs provide unique, experience-based opportunities that are both beneficial to their continued development and growth. Examples include “Chill & Chat” events for our adults to spend time together, an annual “Day of Remembrance” to celebrate the lives of our loved ones that have died, summer “Family Fun Days,” equine therapy, game nights, family bowling, ice skating, and many more. These events are led by Good Grief staff, the Family Advisory Board, or in partnership with community organizations.

Enrichment Programs

Good Grief provides enrichment programs that are in line with our core philosophies and program goals to our participants and alumni. These programs provide unique, experience-based opportunities that are both beneficial to their continued development and growth. Examples include “Chill & Chat” events for our adults to spend time together, an annual “Day of Remembrance” to celebrate the lives of our loved ones that have died, summer “Family Fun Days,” equine therapy, game nights, family bowling, ice skating, and many more. These events are led by Good Grief staff, the Family Advisory Board, or in partnership with community organizations.

Good Grief’s Family Advisory Board

The Family Advisory Board (FAB) is comprised of current and alumni parent participants who are a conduit for the voices of Good Grief families by assisting the staff with the ongoing evaluation and development of our programs, events, and community outreach efforts. The FAB also works to create opportunities for participants at Good Grief to connect outside of their regular Nights of Support, to help facilitate the formation of meaningful relationships and foster a stronger sense of community.