COPE Foundation—the Long Island-Based Grief Organization—Pioneers a More Comprehensive Approach To Supporting Children’s Bereavement

At its fourth annual children’s bereavement camp, Camp Erin NYC, the COPE Foundation pioneered a more comprehensive approach to supporting children’s bereavement by offering a concurrent parent camp to the caretakers of the children attending Camp Erin NYC, allowing for their own simultaneous healing. Camp Erin NYC is the only Camp Erin across the country to offer this unique program.

MELVILLE, NY (PRWEB) OCTOBER 26, 2015
COPE Foundation (Connecting Our Paths Eternally), the Long Island-based grief and healing organization dedicated to helping families living with the loss of a child, pioneered a more comprehensive approach to supporting children’s bereavement this past August at its fourth annual Camp Erin® NYC.

While providing Camp Erin NYC, a free weekend bereavement camp for children aged 6-17 who have lost a loved one, the COPE Foundation also offered their grieving parents a simultaneous weekend retreat. According to Lilly Julien, COPE’s Founder and President, “Our intention was to help the children by helping their parents so they could both have a transformational and healing experience. We may be the first bereavement organization in the nation to offer both a children’s camp and concurrent parent retreat.”

The objective of the parent retreat was primarily to benefit the children. “It’s as basic as the safety instructions you get on an airplane,” explains Jerry Weinstock, co-leader of the retreat. “You have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you can help anyone else. Before there was a parent retreat, only the children benefited from this healing weekend. Now the children and their parents can both have this experience.”

On the last weekend of August, bereaved families from as far away as Maryland, drove to Camp Wayne for Girls, a beautiful summer camp on a private lake in the Poconos, where COPE has offered Camp Erin NYC since 2012. After dropping their children off, 22 parents who had signed up for the Parent Retreat—representing 60% of the children attending Camp Erin—were taken to the opposite side of the lake, Camp Wayne for Boys.

The Parent Retreat weekend provided lodging, meals and programming that included various grief workshops, as well as healing modalities such as Reiki, art therapy and exercise training. Though the grieving parents were encouraged to participate in the full schedule, it was not mandatory. If they preferred, they could sit by the lake or take a walk in the woods.
The Parent Retreat was led by Ms. Julien and Mr. Weinstock, who have both experienced profound loss in their own lives, and are authors of the award-winning book series, Grief Quest: A Workbook & Journal to Heal the Grieving Heart. For the past several years, Ms. Julien and Mr. Weinstock have presented workshops at bereavement conferences throughout the country.

The Parent Retreat was designed to mirror some of the children’s activities on the other side of the lake. During Friday evening’s “memory board,” parents (like their children) shared memories of their loved one, placing a picture on the memory board that became a visible reminder for the entire weekend. During the Saturday evening lakeside “candle-lighting,” parents could see the lights of their children’s candles floating in the distance as they lit their own memorial candles and launched them on the moonlit water.

There were gut-wrenching moments when the parents could hear their children sobbing, but they were soon followed by the soothing sounds of laughter and singing from the distant campfire.

There were also poignant contrasts: during a late afternoon workshop entitled “You and Your Children’s Grief” that was held in the woods on the edge of the lake, the parents’ heartfelt sharing was punctuated every few minutes by the roar of the speed boat and the squeals of joy from the children who were tubing.

The theme of the weekend was tools for healing, and those tools came not only from the varied programming, but also from the socializing and bonding that took place during meals and “free time.” Many of the parents said they had “made lifelong friends.”

During the closing ceremony of the children’s camp, with all the parents in attendance, the Camp Director, Ann Fuchs, was so moved that she got choked up. In front of over a hundred people—campers, parents and volunteer staff—a 7-year old camper who had lost a loved one called out encouragingly, “It’s okay to cry!”

The children’s camp, Camp Erin NYC, was already a success. In 2014, it was awarded the prestigious Roger E. Joseph Prize, whose past recipients included the family that sheltered Anne Frank, the civil rights activist Rosa Parks, and the photo-journalist Daniel Pearl to name a few. Camp Erin NYC serves approximately 50-60 children every summer (2015 was its fourth summer), and is one of 43 Camp Erin’s across the country.

The Parent Retreat, however, was an experiment. “From the feedback we’ve received,” said Ms. Julien, “the Parent Retreat has been a huge success.” Mr. Weinstock added, “As parents were leaving, one told me, ‘This has been the best weekend since my husband’s death!’ People have called it ‘life changing’.”

Imagining what the long drive home would be like for both the children and their parents, Mr. Weinstock speculated, “The parents who didn’t attend the retreat will engage in an interrogation—What did you do? What was it like? Etc.—trying to understand the obvious transformation they see in their children. But those who attended the Parent Retreat and experienced for themselves a healing weekend, will instead of an interrogation have a very interesting conversation. Having learned the invaluable lesson of self-care and self-healing, they’ll be in a healthier place to help their children.”

To view a press release about this parent camp, please click here.

Downloadable Press Release

TMF – One Last Hug – Partner Press Release

Contact: Ann Fuchs, Director
COPE-Camp Erin® NYC,
afuchs@copefoundation.com
914-939-5338

CHILDREN’S BEREAVEMENT CAMP, WITH LOCAL AFFLIATE IN NY, FEATURED IN UPCOMING HBO DOCUMENTARY

ONE LAST HUG: THREE DAYS AT GRIEF CAMP debuts April 14th on HBO offering an intimate look at national Camp Erin® program

New York, NY – A unique program that helps children cope with the loss of someone close to them will be featured in a moving documentary set to premiere exclusively on HBO on April 14th at 8PM (ET/PT).

ONE LAST HUG: THREE DAYS AT GRIEF CAMP features The Moyer Foundation’s Camp Erin® program, the nation’s largest network of childhood bereavement camps, including a location in New York, NY, offered in partnership with The COPE Foundation and The Moyer Foundation. Camp Erin is FREE for all families.

“As a society, we tend to overlook how children are affected by grief,” said Amy Gross, Ph.D., Clinical Director of COPE-Camp Erin New York City. “There’s tremendous need out there for the kind of support Camp Erin provides, and we encourage people to watch this powerful, inspiring film. It truly captures the effect that sharing, friendship and emotional support can have on children dealing with extraordinary loss.”

One in seven children in the United States will experience the death of a loved one before age 20, but few are prepared to deal with the grief that follows. At Camp Erin, children learn that they are not alone in their grief. The fun, familiar environment of camp is combined with planned activities that give children a chance to honor their loved ones, express their feelings and make lasting friendships with their peers facing a similar life circumstance. Led by grief professionals and trained volunteers, Camp Erin helps children learn to cope and to heal.

COPE-Camp Erin New York City has served more than 75 tri-state area children since opening in 2012. Hosted annually at Camp Wayne in Preston Park, PA, the 2014 camp weekend will be held on Friday, August 22 – Sunday, August 24. For more information about COPE-Camp Erin NYC, including how to attend or volunteer, please visit www.copefoundation.org/camperin or contact Ann Fuchs, Camp Director at (914) 939-5338 or afuchs@copefoundation.com.

Camp Erin was created and is supported by The Moyer Foundation founded by World Series Champion pitcher and Philadelphia Phillies baseball analyst, Jamie Moyer and his wife Karen. With 43 locations nationwide, including camps in every Major League Baseball city, Camp Erin serves over 2,500 children annually.

Other HBO playdates: April 17 (8:30 a.m.), 19 (4:00 p.m.), 23 (2:45 p.m.), 27 (9:15 a.m.) and 29 (5:45 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: April 16 (8:00 p.m.)

About COPE

COPE, a not-for-profit foundation, 501(c)(3), is dedicated to helping parents and families living with the loss of a child. Since 1999, COPE has served the needs of approximately 680 families on Long Island by providing emotional, therapeutic, and spiritual programs. These include parent and sibling support groups, individual support, alternative healing workshops, and a variety of special programs for clergy and mental health professionals. In addition to assisting local families, COPE’s grief hotline (COPEline) and website have enabled the non-profit to provide grieving individuals outside of Long Island with immediate support, resources, and referrals. For more information on The COPE Foundation and its programs, please visit www.copefoundation.org.

About COPE-Camp Erin NYC

Offered in more than 43 communities nationwide, Camp Erin® is a free weekend bereavement camp for children and teens ages 6-17 that combines traditional, fun camp activities with grief education and emotional support, facilitated by grief professionals and trained volunteers. COPE partners with the Moyer Foundation as the New York City affiliate for COPE-Camp Erin NYC, held annually at Camp Wayne in Preston Park, PA, to help children from the tri-state area who are grieving the death of a parent, sibling or someone close to them.

About The Moyer Foundation

The Moyer Foundation is a public, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to provide comfort, hope and healing to children affected by loss and family addiction. Founded in 2000 by World Series champion pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife Karen, The Foundation created and supports two signature programs. Camp Erin® is the nation’s largest network of free bereavement camps for grieving children and teens ages 6 – 17. Camp Mariposa® is a free, first-of-its-kind program for children ages 9-12 impacted by a family member’s addiction. For more information on The Moyer Foundation and its programs, please visit www.moyerfoundation.org.

About the HBO Documentary ONE LAST HUG: THREE DAYS AT GRIEF CAMP

When children arrive at Camp Erin Los Angeles, the camp location featured in the film, counselors and volunteers greet them with open arms. “We’re so proud of you campers,” says Lauren Schneider, clinical director of OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center, at an opening ceremony with parents and campers. “It takes a lot of courage to come to grief camp.” One by one, the campers introduce themselves and share the names of lost loved ones, pinning photos of them to the camp’s memory board. Although there are tears, the campers support each other with applause. By the end, the wall is filled with an array of pictures, of mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, a testament to the magnitude of their loss.

Besides the sadness that children feel when they lose a loved one, there is also a sense of loneliness. “For how many of you guys is this the first time you’ve sat in a group of people your

age and told someone?” asks counselor Chrissie, after a group of seven- and eight-year-old girls share their loss. Every girl raises her hand.

At Camp Erin, although the campgrounds, cabins and activities resemble any other camp, every aspect of the experience is geared towards sharing, support and healing. One group ventures out on a scavenger hunt, in search of colorfully painted rocks, bearing a different “feelings” word. “Angry. We can pretty much all describe that,” says camper Samantha when the first stone is found. While other girls readily discuss the anger they feel over their loss, one camper, Audrey, has a hard time engaging. In an outside interview, her mother Catherine reveals that Audrey’s father died of suicide. “I’m sure they feel isolated…I know other children say, ‘My dad died of cancer,’ whereas my children just leave out the how,” she says.

Another counselor encourages a group of older children to think of a happy memory with the person who died. Erin, who attends the camp with her brothers, recalls her terminally ill father making it to her soccer game, which she won. Looking back on the exercise, she says that “remembering the happy thoughts that I shared felt good. Very good.”

Camper Nicole’s mother was the victim of a violent crime. At home, her father hopes for the best, but has concerns for the future. “I’m trying to be mom and dad for her, but she needs somebody to teach her things that I cannot teach,” he says.

While other campers play in the pool, Audrey finally opens up to camp director Lauren and other children. “I guess I was angry because I had no idea that it was going to happen,” she says, as a friend gives her a hug of support.

On the last night of camp, director Lauren welcomes everyone to the Luminary Ceremony, which takes place by the pool, asking, “How many of you got to say goodbye to your person before they died? Put your hands up.” Only a few raise hands. Each child holds a lantern decorated with drawings and messages for the loved one who died, which once lit, illuminates the dark night as it floats over the water in a final farewell.

On the last day, parents and other family members return for the closing ceremony. In a Camp Erin tradition, the campers join hands in a big circle and pass “the squeeze of friendship and support.” When the campers and counselors perform songs and chants for their enthusiastic audience, the feeling of camaraderie and the new friendships are apparent. All the children wear matching orange camp t-shirts signed and embellished by their friends. As they head back home, the children are connected by more than an experience of great loss. They share memories of Camp Erin, the feeling of being supported, and hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Director Irene Taylor Brodsky’s previous HBO credits include the Peabody Award winning documentary “Hear and Now,” “Saving Pelican 895” and “The Final Inch,” which received an Oscar® nomination for Best Documentary Short. Producer Greg DeHart is a two-time Emmy®-nominated director whose films include, “S-21: Inside Pol Pot’s Secret Prison.” Producer/editor Paul Freedman is an Emmy-nominated and Peabody award winning filmmaker whose credits include, “Rwanda—Do Scars Ever Fade?”

ONE LAST HUG: THREE DAYS AT GRIEF CAMP is produced in Association with The Moyer Foundation, OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center, and New York Life Foundation; directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky; produced by, Greg DeHart and Paul Freedman; editor, Paul Freedman; director of photography, Peter Richardson. For HBO: supervising producer, Sara Bernstein; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

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COPE-Camp Erin NYC Receives HUC-JIR’s Highest Honor: Roger E. Joseph Prize

Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), will award the 2014 Roger E. Joseph Prize to COPE-Camp Erin NYC at HUC-JIR/New York Ordination at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York on Sunday, May 11, 2014.  The Prize will be accepted by Lilly Julien, President and Founder of The COPE Foundation.

Rabbi Panken stated, “Over the past thirty-six years, the Roger E. Joseph Prize has been presented to exceptional individuals or organizations, and institutions whose work fulfills the highest ethical values of our tradition. The Joseph Prize recipients have been recognized for eradicating racial prejudice and religious discrimination; commemorating the Holocaust; demonstrating exceptional the altruism as righteous rescuers; promoting peace in the Middle East; combatting genocide; supporting the victims of trauma; ending hunger; and advancing the cause of human rights and social responsibility.  It is our privilege to present the 2014 Joseph Prize to COPE-Camp Erin NYC and Lilly Julien, its President and Founder.  This remarkable organization is a lifeline to children and families struggling with the tragic loss of loved ones – a cause that is so close to the hearts of the Joseph Family.”

In 1992, Lilly Julien, mourning the untimely loss of her 20 year-old daughter, Michelle, helped gather a group of parents living with the loss of a child to come together for solace and support. They began meeting informally in the safety of each other’s homes, finding comfort and support by being together and freely expressing their grief with people who could understand. Through this sense of community, they were able to heal and impact each other’s lives while remaining eternally connected to their children. They began reaching out to other parents living with the loss of their children, and their group grew into a larger network. Their experiences together resulted in the creation in 1999 of COPE (Connecting Our Paths Eternally), a non-profit foundation dedicated to providing emotional support to individuals and families who are struggling to live with the loss of a child or sibling.  COPE has grown into an organization serving the needs of approximately 680 families in the tri-state area, providing emotional, spiritual and therapeutic programs including parent and sibling support groups, alternative healing workshops, a grief hotline, and resources and referrals.

In 2011, COPE partnered with The Moyer Foundation and expanded its mission with the inauguration of COPE-Camp Erin® NYC, a free weekend bereavement camp for children ages 6-17 who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or someone close to them.  The mission of COPE-Camp Erin NYC is to empower children in distress and give children the tools and skills  to express their emotions, share their grief, learn positive coping skills, and overcome life’s greatest challenges.  COPE-Camp Erin NYC is a relaxed, safe, and supportive setting that combines recreational camp activities with grief education and emotional support, facilitated by grief professionals and trained volunteers. Through interactions with other children and adults, campers learn that they are not alone in their grief. The COPE Foundation provides families with long term support following the camp weekend.

About the Joseph Prize and Previous Recipients

The Roger E. Joseph Prize was established 36 years ago by a generous gift from Burton M. Joseph, z”l, and his sister, Mrs. Betty Greenberg, in memory of their brother, a lawyer, World War II hero, and polio victim.  Although almost completely paralyzed, he resumed his law practice and advanced causes of social justice, inspired by his own exceptional personal courage and passionate devotion to principle and justice.

The first Joseph Prize was awarded in 1978, to Victor Kugler, who risked his and his loved ones’ lives to shelter Anne Frank and her family. Over the past thirty-five years, the Joseph Prize recipients have included:

  • The people of Le Chambon, a Huguenot village in France which rescued thousands of Jewish children during the Holocaust;
  • Helen Suzman, a leader of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa;
  • The Center for Legal and Social Studies, the most prominent human rights group in Argentina;
  • Rosa Parks, the “mother” of the American civil rights movement;
  • Vu Than Thuy and the Boat People SOS Committee, responsible for the rescue of thousands of Vietnamese refugees stranded in the South China Sea;
  • The First Congregational Church of Billings, Montana, and the Montana Association of Churches for their moral and spiritual conviction in combating prejudice and anti-Semitic hate crimes.
  • The Center for Victims of Torture and the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture;
  • Morris S. Dees, and the Southern Poverty Law Center;
  • The Humanitarian Law Center and Natasa Kandic for their courageous research and dissemination of the documentation of genocide in Kosovo;
  • Daniel Pearl, posthumously, and the Daniel Pearl Foundation, to honor the memory and mission of this inspiring and courageous journalist, of blessed memory, whose integrity was grounded in a commitment to justice and a love for humanity;
  • Jan Egeland, under Secretary General of Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations, for rescue efforts in Darfurand around the globe;
  • Morris S. Dees, and the Southern Poverty Law Center;
  • The Humanitarian Law Center and Natasa Kandic for their courageous research and dissemination of the documentation of genocide in Kosovo;
  • Chaplain Mychal Judge, of blessed memory, and the City of New York Fire Department, for their heroic efforts to rescue and provide comfort on September 11th, 2001;
  • Daniel Pearl, posthumously, and the Daniel Pearl Foundation, to honor the memory and mission of this inspiring and courageous journalist, of blessed memory, whose integrity was grounded in a commitment to justice and a love for humanity;
  • Jan Egeland, under Secretary General of Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations, for rescue efforts in Darfur and around the globe; and
  • Father Patrick Desbois for devoting his life to confronting anti-Semitism, furthering Catholic-Jewish understanding, and preserving Holocaust memory.

Click here to view the National Graduation and Ordination press release.

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation’s first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR’s scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement’s congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR’s campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu

COPE Golf Outing 2015 Pre-Event Press Release

COPE TO HOLD 9TH ANNUAL GOLF OUTING TO SUPPORT BEREAVEMENT PROGRAMS INCLUDING CHILDREN’S BEREAVEMENT CAMP, CAMP ERIN® NYC

LONG ISLAND, NY, March 31, 2015 – COPE Foundation, Inc. (Connecting Our Paths Eternally), a grief support organization for parents and families living with the loss of a child, will hold its ninth annual golf outing on May 18, 2015 at the Muttontown Club in East Norwich, New York. Over 200 golfers and supporters are expected to attend COPE’s biggest event of the year, which raises 75% of the organization’s annual budget. The event brings together individuals, families and organizations to pay tribute to loved ones and honor supporters, and has raised more than $1 million from generous corporate and individual sponsors over the past eight years. For more information about the 2015 COPE Golf Outing, visit www.copefoundation.org.

This year’s COPE event will honor Rich “Big Daddy” Salgado, CEO and Founder of Coastal Advisors, LLC which specializes in insurance needs for professional athletes and entertainers. Rich also supports numerous charities both within his hometown area in New York City and nationwide supporting his clients’ philanthropic efforts. Kristen Del Vecchio Glosserman will receive the COPE Sibling Recognition Award for her generosity to the community in her support of various organizations – serving on boards, planning fundraising events and sharing her expertise as a certified life coach, in addition to co-owning several restaurants with her husband Marc. Kristen lost her younger brother Michael when she was 13 years old, and COPE helped her deal with her loss.

 

Funds raised from the event will enable COPE to develop and expand its programming and outreach and fund COPE’s support groups, workshops and events, since the organization does not ask families to pay for most of COPE’s services. Additionally, proceeds from the event will go towards supporting Camp Erin® NYC (August 28-30, 2015).

“I am proud that COPE has grown over the past 16 years from a small group of parents meeting for support in each others’ homes to an organization that helps so many people, about 20% more families every year,” remarks Lillian Julien, COPE’s President and Co-founder. “We are proud to honor not only an incredibly generous philanthropist such a Rich Salgado who does so much for the local community, but also a sibling who, thanks to support from COPE, was able to convert her grief into a deeper appreciation of life.”

Among COPE’s supporters and previous event participants are New York Knicks producer Spencer Julien, whose family started COPE, and many former players and announcers from Madison Square Garden, including former New York Knicks superstar and Hall-of-Famer Walt “Clyde” Frazier; Al Trautwig, host of MSG’s Knicks and Rangers telecasts; Dave Maloney, Former NY Ranger and MSG Analyst; Jill Martin, Today Show correspondent and Knicks reporter; and Butch Goring, four-time Stanley Cup Champion with the NY Islanders and current analyst for MSG Networks.

Sponsors of this year’s golf outing include BC Enterprises (Bill Cooperman) in memory of David Berg, Lillian Julien in memory of Michelle and Robert Julien, Judy and Richard Berg in memory of David Joshua Berg, Kristen and Marc Glosserman in memory of Michael Del Vecchio, The Slovin and Schweitzer Families, Patti and Dave Greenberg in memory of Sharon Gallucci, Moneywatch Advisors, Plainview Oral & Maxillofacial Associates, P.C., the Mordfin Group, and Madison Square Garden, among others.

About the COPE Foundation
COPE, a not-for-profit foundation, 501(c)(3), is dedicated to helping parents and families living with the loss of a child. Since 1999, COPE has served the needs of approximately 700 families on Long Island by providing emotional, therapeutic, and spiritual programs. These include parent and sibling support groups, individual support, alternative healing workshops, and a variety of special programs for clergy, funeral homes, schools and mental health professionals. In addition to assisting local families, COPE’s grief hotline (COPEline) and website have enabled the non-profit to provide grieving individuals outside of Long Island with immediate support, resources, and referrals.

About Camp Erin® NYC
Offered in more than 40 communities nationwide, Camp Erin® is a free weekend bereavement camp for children and teens ages 6-17 that combines traditional, fun camp activities with grief education and emotional support, facilitated by grief professionals and trained volunteers. COPE partners with the Moyer Foundation as the New York City affiliate for Camp Erin NYC, held annually at Camp Wayne in Preston Park, PA, to help children from the tri-state area who are grieving the death of a parent, sibling or someone close to them.

 

Contact:

Karen Flyer
Executive Director, COPE
Phone: (516) 484-4993
Email: karen@copefoundation.com

Cindy Mardenfeld
COPE Golf Outing Director
Phone: (347) 460-6176
Email: cindy@mardenfeld.com

Ann Fuchs
Director, Camp Erin NYC
Phone: (914) 939-5338
Email: afuchs@copefoundation.com

COPE Move to Eisenhower Park Press Release

COPE Foundation
P.O. Box 1251, Melville, NY  11747
Phone: 516-484-4993
fax: 516-484-4885
COPEline: 516-364-COPE

FOR RELEASE: 6/1/14
Contact: Karen E. Flyer
Telephone: (516) 484-4993
Fax: (516) 484-4885Email: karen@copefoundation.com

COPE FOUNDATION OPENS HEALING CENTER AT EISENHOWER PARK TO SUPPORT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST A CHILD

LONG ISLAND, NY, June 1, 2014 – COPE Foundation (Connecting Our Paths Eternally) opened a healing center in Eisenhower Park, in East Meadow, New York, on May 1, 2014 in order to better serve the needs of local Long Island families living with the loss of a child.  COPE now occupies the Lannin Carriage House, at Field 6A, adjacent to the Park’s administrative offices and the Rose Garden.  The approximately 1,000 square-foot Tudor cottage will be the home of many of COPE’s parent and sibling bereavement support groups, as well as the foundation’s alternative healing workshops.

Up until now, COPE had been sharing county space with the National Association of Mother’s Centers and the Women’s Fund of Long Island at the Elias Hicks Home in Jericho, NY.  The foundation also utilizes donated space across Long Island in Jericho, Syosset, Dix Hills, Merrick and Ronkonkama to hold its support groups and meetings, and will continue to do so in order to serve families across Long Island.  (Parent and sibling support groups are also held in Manhattan).  The new COPE House is centrally located on the Island and avails the COPE Foundation of park facilities for future COPE events. The Lannin Carriage House has a downstairs meeting space where COPE will be able to accommodate even more families than its previous location. In a cozy upstairs loft, COPE will be able to offer many of its alternative healing workshops such as art and music therapy, yoga, Tai Chi, Reiki, meditation and drumming for COPE families as well as others in the community who have lost a child.

“This has literally been a long-term dream of mine,” says COPE President and Founder Lilly Julien.  “Shortly after my daughter Michelle’s sudden passing in 1992, I had a dream in which Michelle appeared before me and said, ‘I’m OK, Mommy.  You’re the ones who aren’t OK.’ And I awoke with a vision of a healing center—a warm, safe, tranquil and nurturing place where parents and siblings could come together for emotional and spiritual support.  Now, 22 years later, we finally have our home.”

“The county has been so generous to us,” says COPE Executive Director Karen Flyer.  “As soon as this space became available, they called us immediately, and then worked tirelessly to make the space a warm and tranquil home for us as soon as we were ready to move in.  Clearly, the county, under the leadership of Ed Mangano, is serious about supporting families in need and recognizes that there are so many more families out there in our local communities who need our help.”

It has long been said that the most difficult situation for a family to deal with is the death of a child. Although causes are varied – birth defect, sickness, accident, suicide, drugs and/or alcohol overdose, abuse, malnutrition, neglect, murder – the result is the same. It is estimated that 20% of all parents in the United States have lost a child. Tragic deaths of young people on Long Island continue to make headlines. Just this past month, five teenagers in Farmingdale, New York were killed in a tragic automobile crash, an event that, unfortunately, has become all too familiar. The NYS Department of Health, which depicts mortality rates by counties and age levels, estimates that, on average, three young lives (birth – 44 years of age) are lost on Long Island every day, severely affecting these families and all of their friends, neighbors and co-workers Since parents and siblings never get over this kind of loss, the cumulative effect is astounding. These frequent occurrences lead to a startling conclusion—with the volume of child deaths and the subsequent impact on loved ones, bereavement counseling, support services and therapeutic programs, such as those provided by COPE in a caring and nonjudgmental environment, are becoming increasingly more critical.

COPE, a not-for-profit foundation, 501(c)(3), is dedicated to helping parents and families living with the loss of a child. Since 1999, COPE has served the needs of approximately 700 families on Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties) by providing emotional, therapeutic and spiritual programs (at no cost to participants). These include parent and sibling support group meetings, individual one-on-one support, alternative healing therapy workshops, and a variety of special programs for local school districts, clergy and mental health professionals. COPE also operates COPE-Camp Erin® New York City, a free weekend bereavement camp for children ages 6-17 dealing with a major loss.  In addition to assisting local families, COPE’s grief hotline (COPELine) and website have enabled us to also provide grieving individuals outside of Long Island with immediate support and resources and referrals.

COPE was recently awarded the Roger E. Joseph prize by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. The prize was presented to Lilly Julien and COPE—as an inspiring example of an institution governed by conscience and compassion—And to COPE-Camp Erin® NYC for the lifeline the camp provides to children who have experienced a tragic loss. Previous recipients include Victor Kugler (who sheltered Anne Frank and her family), Rosa Parks and Daniel Pearl, in memoriam.  COPE-Camp Erin® NYC will be hosting an open house for the community to learn more about COPE-Camp Erin® NYC at the Lannin Carriage House on Thursday, June 5th from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.  COPE also recently received a grant from the Long Island Community Foundation to host a monthly series of healing workshops for bereaved parents, “Healing from the Inside Out,” which will take place at the new COPE House at Eisenhower Park.

Anyone interested in donating to COPE or learning more about the organization can do so online at www.copefoundation.org.  For more information on COPE, please contact Karen Flyer, Executive Director, at 516-484-4993 or karen@copefoundation.com.