Jen Schwartz graduated Long Island University at CW Post in 2007 with a Master’s Degree in School and Mental Health Counseling and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Psychology from Lehigh University. During her graduate school internship, Jen co-facilitated a bereavement support group for middle school students who had expressed a need for a space to talk about their losses and the impact it had on them.
In 2008, Jen started working as an educational advocate for the Long Island Advocacy Center, assisting students with disabilities who were involved in the juvenile justice system, to obtain the appropriate educational services to be successful in school. In 2012, Jen co-wrote a youth-centered curriculum and co-facilitated groups for teens with behavioral and/or emotional difficulties. LEAP (Learning, Exploring, Advocating, and Persevering) focused on helping teens to become more self-aware and to develop helpful communication skills so they could become self-advocates. In 2014, Jen started a second job as the Youth Engagement Director for the North Shore Jewish Center where she creates and implements programs for the synagogue’s youth groups. In 2015, Jen started jGAY! (Jewish Gay and Allied Youth), the first support group on Long Island for Jewish LGBTQ+ youth and families.
When Jen’s older brother passed suddenly in July 2016, she attended her first COPE sibling support group. She remembers feeling more connected to a group of strangers than to anyone else in her life at that time. She continues to attend the Long Island sibling group monthly, not because of her individual ‘need’ to attend, but because she knows there will always be someone new starting the group and if people stopped attending once they felt they didn’t ‘need’ it, then who would be there for the next person to show up? Jen currently serves on COPE’s Family Advisory and Program Committees and became a COPE Ambassador in December 2020.
The next level of healing is helping. To learn more about the COPE Ambassador program, serving on a committee, board membership and other volunteer opportunities to get involved with COPE, contact us at email@example.com.