Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, COPE’s top priority has remained the health and safety of our employees and the responsibility we have to our clients and communities, especially our most vulnerable members. The arrival of the highly contagious Delta Variant this summer has further complicated our efforts to balance safety and efficacy of our programs. We appreciate the eagerness to resume “normal” operations while honoring the discomfort with in person settings still felt by many. We hesitate to create and enforce policies mandating mask-wearing or confirming vaccination status, distracting groups from their naturally warm, inclusive, and supportive spaces. We also recognize the restrictions and limitations still present in many of our host locations in the community.
For these reasons, COPE will keep all support groups and workshops virtual until at least March 2022.
We will have some select events return in person, primarily those that are outdoors and allow for social distancing.
Though we lament a time where we have been able to be together supporting each other in one room, our work over the past year and a half has supported the research studies that indicate that telemental health is equivalent to face-to-face care in many settings and can serve as an acceptable alternative when necessary. Throughout the pandemic, we continue to receive new referrals and maintain strong membership in our groups and workshops. Additionally, we see the positive opportunities available in telehealth, as we are able to serve a broader range of clients and eliminate some barriers to accessing support services.
Our goal is and will continue to be to work toward a return to in-person services for our groups, workshops, and events while considering the possibility of retaining some virtual options to continue to meet the needs of our clients and community. Especially during a time of so much need for grief and bereavement services, we appreciate your continued commitment to our organization and the support of the services we are dedicated to providing.
Adam Rabinovitch, Executive Director
Claire Sharkey, Clinical Director
Daytime Bereavement Group
by Janet Zimmerman, LCSW-R
On the first Tuesday and third Wednesday of each month, a wonderful group of parents meets at the COPE house to find and offer support to each other in dealing with the loss of their children. As with all support groups at COPE, no one wants to be a member of such a group. But, once a grieving parent takes the first brave step of entering the room, they immediately feel welcomed and at home. Everyone understands. Everyone needs support. And everyone counts on this group to help sustain them.
I know this because I am the social worker who facilitates the daytime support group. I am truly amazed at the kindness, caring, and love that each member offers to their fellow grieving mothers and fathers. I have been facilitating bereavement groups for many years for many organizations and I can say with certainty that this particular group is very special. When a new parent walks hesitantly into the room, they are greeted and listened to with warmth and empathy. There is no judgment. Each and every parent is treated with respect. If someone has something that they want to share, or needs to ask for help on how to deal with certain situations, that’s what they do. And there is always a response. There isn’t always a perfect answer, but there is always respectful listening and support. And if someone isn’t up to talking, that’s okay too. Sometimes just being there is all one can do. And it helps.
We talk about all kinds of things, including how to deal with friends or relatives who say “stupid” things, like “you’re doing better, right?”, or “well, it’s good that you have other children.” Or what it feels like when you have to fill out forms asking how many children you have. Or how sometimes you just don’t want to get out of bed, or you have very scary thoughts. You are not alone. Everyone in the daytime group “gets it.” There’s nothing you can’t talk about. The only rules are that everyone gets a chance to speak if they wish, and everyone needs to be respectful of everyone else. And no one shares other peoples’ stories without permission. Confidentiality is expected.
If you’ve been thinking about joining a group and are available during the day, please consider the daytime group at the COPE house at Eisenhower Park. We meet the first Tuesday and the third Wednesday of the month from 1:00-2:30 pm. As with all support groups, you need to speak with me first so I can do an intake and answer any questions you may have.
If you’ve been thinking of giving us a try, please do so. You will be embraced with warmth and acceptance, and I promise you, it will help.
From a Parent in Janet’s Group:
Janet Zimmerman has been such an effective facilitator and leader. What makes her special? She understands each one of our situations and uses her techniques and tools to touch upon and help improve each and every one of us. Her advice is valuable. And her professionalism is what helps make our group so special. We truly care about each other. We depend upon each other. Thank You Janet and COPE as I wouldn’t be where I am today without you and our group. We put one foot in front of the other each day to survive . What you have taught us has been so greatly appreciated. You are the Best Janet Zimmerman.