COPE October Newsletter


Words from COPE President and Founder Lilly Julien

The 14th Annual COPE Walk was an inspiring day of renewed energy and connection.  It was one of those perfect, blue sky, bittersweet days, surrounded by approximately 400 loving, supportive friends and family.

There was comfort in walking with others to remember our loved ones. Connected through family and friends, we were supported emotionally. Finding spiritual support is more challenging. Many of us look for signs in order to feel that connection with those we love who have passed.

A sign is just what I found when looking at the photographs taken at the Walk.  You can imagine my surprise to see in the photos, what appear to be orbs* in the sky!

When you look at the pictures (#37-40), view them on the computer and blow them up. In the sky you will see circles of love and rainbows of shooting light. I believe these are signs of our loved ones and their powerful energy! Their beautiful spirits surround us as they find ways to let us know that they’re okay. There is strength in their signs. And in their messages there is hope.

Hope exists in all that we cannot see, just as we cannot see what lies beyond the horizon and across the sky. In the physical, we are limited by our vision. In soul, we are limitless. There is no time, space, or separation. Our souls are bound in eternal life.

We can choose our path and the words that give us comfort. We can choose to live a soulful life where love is infinite and life is eternal. As we transition into another season and holidays, I wish you the spiritual connection to find peace.


*”Orbs are curious translucent circles (usually white) that appear unexpectedly in your photos. Some people believe they are proof of guardian angels captured on camera. When these “spirit orbs” appear in a photo it is a sign that angels are hovering nearby and the location is particularly blessed with goodness, positive energy and protection.”

To share your thoughts about this posting, please click here to visit our website and enter your comment under the LEAVE A REPLY section


COPE Healing Tip of the Month

From COPE Clinical Director Amy Olshever, PhD, LCSW

“You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.”

― Jodi Picoult

The quest for perfection is an endless journey many of us have been on for as long as we can remember. We somehow think our mistakes or shortcomings are failures or make us “less than” rather than viewing them as lessons to be learned unique to us as individuals. Being a perfectionist originates from a message we receive from society that we interpret as meaning we were only valuable if we are perfect – pretty or handsome, intelligent, sociable, and successful. Whatever we don’t achieve when we think we “should” will be perceived as “failure.” And then we fear failure; fearing that we will not be “good enough.”

Perfection is really just a way of asserting control over areas of life where we feel we have the power to do so. Often, we equate love with perfection causing us to chase impossibly high standards to feel valued and accepted. It is a diversion to fill an empty void that really originates in the spirit with outside experiences. Perfection becomes tied to self-worth, and a shameful belief of inner inadequacy fuels the perfectionist tendencies.

There are benefits to being imperfect.

  1. Less Stress – Ditching the “shoulds” and the all-or-nothing thinking will allow you to find more peace and enjoy your daily accomplishments and successes while you learn from your mistakes and less than perfect outcomes.
  1. Improved Relationships – When you can accept your limitations and imperfections, you give others the permission to be imperfect, as well. As your expectations and impossible standards for yourself lessen, so do those you held for the people in your life. Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world, so when we begin to value ourselves regardless of what we do or achieve in any area, we then begin to value others for who they are and not what they do.
  1. Increased Energy – When all of your energy is no longer concentrated on worrying about what you SHOULD be doing and how you SHOULD be doing it, you free yourself up to focus on what really matters.
  1. Healthier Self-Image – Accepting and appreciating our imperfections creates room for self-nurturing, compassion, and love. You can begin to appreciate the qualities, characteristics, and experiences that are unique to you without the need to be perfect.


Please Support our Organization

Please help COPE continue to provide support by making a donation. Any donation can be made in tribute to a particular child or loved one. To donate on line, please click here to visit our donation page, or you can send in a check to COPE at P.O. Box 1251, Melville, NY 11747. COPE thanks you for your support.


October COPE Calendar of Events (see details below)

October Support Groups:

6         Thursday: North Shore Parent Support Group for Established Parents – Syosset (Syosset Public Library, 7:00pm)

10       Monday: South Shore Parent Support Group – Merrick (Merrick Jewish Center, 7pm)

11       Tuesday: DAYTIME Parent Support Group – East Meadow (COPE House, 1pm)

13       Thursday: Teen Grief Support Group – East Meadow (COPE House, 7:00pm)

17       Monday Night Parent Support Group for Parents New to COPE – East Meadow (COPE House, 7:00pm)

17       Monday: Long Island Adult Sibling Group – East Meadow (COPE House 2nd floor, 7:00pm)

19       Wednesday: Creative Writing Workshop – East Meadow (COPE House, 6:30pm)

19       Wednesday: Western Suffolk County Parent Support Group – Dix Hills (Chai Center, 7:00pm)

21       Friday: Central Suffolk County Parent Support Group – Ronkonkoma (United Methodist Church, 7:00pm)

24       Monday: Parent Support Group Meeting – East Meadow (COPE House, 7:30pm)

27       Thursday: North Shore Parent Support Group for Parents New to COPE – Jericho (Jericho Public Library, 7:00pm)



Crazy Upside Down Life

In memory of my beloved son, Jay Jimenez

– E. J. Barbera

Sun’s out at night, moths fly from flame

What went left now goes right

Nothing will ever be the same.


Two plus two no longer four, stars visible by day

Can’t make sense of things no more

Not since he went away.


Clouds are blue, sky is white, the shore holds back the sea

What was high, now is low

He was the world to me.


The princess doesn’t kiss the toad, the dragon slays the prince

The rubber never meets the road

And nothing’s been right since.


The silent scream is much too loud, rain falls up to the sky

Three is company, two’s a crowd

Why did he have to die.


The speed of light more slow than sound

Water freezes in the heat

Never again on solid ground

While his grave lies at my feet.


A “new normal” so they say,

“The lips of fools bring strife” (Prov. 18:6)

No, can never be normal without him here,

I reply, a new crazy upside down life.



COPE Book Corner

The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brené Brown, PhD

Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we’d no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, What if I can’t keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn’t everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, PhD, a leading expert on shame, authenticity and belonging, shares what she’s learned from a decade of research on the power of Wholehearted Living–a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.

In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough, and to go to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.


If you have a book to recommend which you think will help our families along their path of healing, please email Stacey at

COPE and Centering Corporation

COPE has partnered with the Centering Corporation to provide you with easy access to grief resources through our website. Centering Corporation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education and resources for the bereaved. With resources on adult grief, death of a child, infant loss, children’s grief, as well as a host of grief-related products, Centering Corporation’s goal is, “We give you support. We give you information. We give you hope.”

You can easily access Centering Corporations vast array of resource from the home page of COPE’s website, the left or top tool bar where is says, “Grief Resource Center”.

When checking out on the Centering Corporation’s website, COPE hopes that you will enter the coupon code “COPE” where it asks for “Input Coupon or Promotional Code”. Doing so will enable 10% of your purchases to be directed back to COPE to help fund the grief support programs we offer parents, siblings and families living with the loss of a child. COPE thanks you for your support.

COPE has published its very own Kindle book on how bereaved parents can COPE with their loss! The Kindle book, “COPING WITH THE LOSS OF A CHILD: Strategies for Living with Loss & How Friends Can Help” is available on Amazon.


Birthdays & Passings

In the month of October, we remember the following loved ones who were taken from us before their time: 

1    Gary Lichtenstein (2003, passing), son of Dora & Mario Lichtenstein, brother of Eric & Adam Lichtenstein

Morris Lindenbaum (2005, passing), son of Sylvia Lindenbaum

Cara Danika Tobias (2009, birthday), daughter of Nancy & Eric Tobias

Sanford (Sandy) Drexler (2013, passing), son of Shelly Drexler

Cody Taddonio (1996, birthday), son of Susan Taddonio

2   Michael Santoli (2013, passing), son of Maria Santoli

3   Timmy Carr (2002, passing), son of Jackie Carr

Philip Eliot (1964, birthday), son of Gloria & Paul Eliot

Theresa Durso (1988, birthday), daughter of Carolyn Durso

Anthony Biuso (1982, birthday), son of Barbara Biuso, brother of Nicole Biuso

Leeor Perl (2000, birthday), daughter of Aliza Perl

Tamar Swerdlik (1988, birthday), daughter of Hadassah Swerdlik

4   Zachary Kudisch (1988, birthday), son of Howard & Diane Lipman, son of Alan & Carla Kudisch

Shane Verity (2012, passing), son of Pat Verity

5   Rebecca Quantinetz (1981, birthday), sister of Lara Quantinetz

Denny Walsh (1966, birthday), son of Katherine Walsh

Kenny Beers (2011, passing), brother of Amy Resnik

6   Dhaivat Sharma (2011, passing), son of Sabina Sabina

Allison Liao (2013, passing), daughter of His-Pi Liao

John Benes (1977, birthday), husband of Michelle Benes

Sean Cody (2015, passing), son of Kathleen Cody

7   Hedy Jacobowitz (1964, birthday), daughter of Betty Jacobowitz

Jeffrey Spiegel (2006, passing), son of Elaine Winston

Omahni Jayden Omogbemi (2010, passing), son of Christmas Morgan

Thomas Reynolds (2011, passing), son of Lisa Reynolds

John (Johnny) Kessner (1989, birthday), brother of Robert Kessner

Audrey Garcia (1977, birthday), daughter of Barbara McGowan

8   Michael Schwartz (2009, passing), son of Lotte Schwartz

Dane Ewald (2011, passing), son of Jeffrey Ewald

Sammy Cohen Eckstein (2013, passing), son of Amy & Gary Eckstein

9   Michael Mattera (1996, passing), son of Sal Mattera

Samantha Schwartz (1980, birthday), daughter of Sheila Schwartz

Kimberly Mlynarczyk (2009, passing), daughter of Susan La Maina

Jay Levitt (2012, passing), son of Barbara Levitt

Bryan Gorycki (2015, passing), son of Carol Parmelee

10 Jeffrey Zukerman (1963, birthday), son of Claire & Wally Leinheardt, brother of Steven Zukerman & Amy Zukerman Julien

Eileen Sullivan (1959, birthday), daughter of Eileen Gilday, sister of Kathleen Harten

Nathan (Nate) Nater (2011, passing), son of Vera Webber

Brian Kaminsky (2014, passing), son of Shelley & Stu Kaminsky

Justin Raja (2014, passing), brother of Dana Raja

11 Sean Russo (1970, birthday), son of Genia Salitra-Belkin, brother of Shannon Russo Pollack

Kierin Garvey (2011, passing), son of William & Theresa Garvey, brother of Shannon Garvey

Andrew Hertzka (1990, birthday), son of Susan & Robert Hertzka

Christina Louise Salazar (2012, passing), sister of Andrew Rayis

12 Andrew Mineo (1987, birthday), son of Jo & Vinnie Mineo

13 Adam Sanders (2014, passing), son of Laurie Sanders, brother of Brian Sanders

Shannon Fearon (2015, passing), sister of Catherine Krupp & Christine Himpler

14 David Berez (1985, birthday), son of Gabriella Vaknin

Julian Pietras (2010, passing), son of Eva & Derek Pietras

Shauni Ashley Frank (1991, birthday), daughter of Christine Sparkman

Jordan Medoff (1989, birthday), son of Jeanette Graf & Bennett Medoff

Ryan Groh (2014, passing), son of Lisa Groh

Alisha Moore (1989, birthday), daughter of Janette Moore

15 Preston Walsh (2010, passing), son of Genevieve Walsh

Vicki Marczak (2011, passing), daughter of Judith & Ed Marczak

Linda Stasio (2011, passing), daughter of Linda Stasio

Holly Cullen (birthday), sister of Amy Cullen

Ryan Hannigan (2014, passing), son of Anita & John Hannigan

Jacob Roth (2009, birthday), son of Amanda & Mark Roth

16 Carey Jay Nachtigall (2008, passing), son of Gloria Nachtigall

Robert Polacco (birthday), son of Loretta Polacco

17 Anthony Krayewski (2008, passing), son of Danielle & Steven Krayewski

Lisa Bornstein (1969, birthday), sister of Gary Bornstein

18 Amanda Wells (1978, birthday), daughter of Linda Wells

Jonathan Sarli (1981, birthday), son of Karen Sarli, brother of Kristin Sarli

Marianne Posalie (2011, passing), daughter of Ann Posalie

Joey Boncic (1997, birthday), brother of Katarina Boncic

Giovanni Cipriano (2013, passing), son of Georgina & John Cipriano

20 Jackie Goldstein (1977, birthday), daughter of Diane Goldstein

Josh DeBare (1983, birthday), son of Linda DeBare

Jimmy McKasty (2009, passing), son of Irene McKasty, brother of Doreen McKasty

Mike Yedid (2010, passing), son of Elyse & Robert Yedid, brother of Alan & David Yedid

Joseph Bobick (2011, passing), son of Lorraine Bobick

Jesse Greene (1981, birthday), son of Rose Mary Martino & William Greene, son of brother of Sydney Greene

21 Michael Mattera (1979, birthday), son of Sal Mattera

Hemant Mehta (2006, passing), father of Priyanka Mehta

22 Brian Harley Assa (1991, birthday), son of Jerry & Sandy Assa, brother of Vanessa Assa

Stacey Mickus (1982, birthday), daughter of Debbie & Bill Carberry, sister of Samantha Nanni

Kristin M. Lucia (1987, birthday), daughter of Isis Lucia Hart

23 Cindy Behrmann Veeder (1971, birthday), daughter of Sheila Berhmann

Justin Carroll (1991, birthday), son of Jean Carroll

24 Noah Sher (1978, birthday), son of Denise Sher

Fritz Edward B. Ayunting (1992, birthday), son of Julieth Ayunting

Billy Garceau (1990, birthday), son of Debbie & Larry Garceau, brother of Christina Garceau

25 Jared Kalensky (2012, passing), brother of Jana Diamond

Alan Millman (1952, birthday), son of Stecia Millman

Jimmy Piedmont (1987, birthday), son of Linda Piedmont

Lawrence (“Jr.) Insinga (1992, birthday), son of Michelle Insinga

26 Naomi Popper (1980, birthday), daughter of Alex & Ronnie Popper

Christine DeSantis (1966, birthday), daughter of Irene DeSantis

Edward McGrane (1965, birthday), son of Ann McGrane

27 Christopher A. Basmas (2011, passing), brother of Cynthia Russo

Jeff Reczkowski (2013, passing), brother of Rita O’Neill

Michael Salerno (1989, birthday), son of Patricia Salerno

Sarah Fuentes (2014, passing), daughter of Lucy Fuentes

Victoria Lamorta-Baumann (1966, birthday), daughter of Jean Germano

28 Michael Wolkis (1993, birthday), son of Amy & Jerry Wolkis

Andrew James Cherpak, III (1981, birthday), son of Lee Ann Cherpak, brother of Christine Cherpak

Anthony Valente (1978, birthday), son of Lynda Valente

Michael Castellano (2012, passing), son of Nanette Loweree

David Lawrence (2013, passing), son of Mary Desmond

29 Michael (Mikey) Ricatto (1981, birthday), son of Laura Failla

Michael Lassig (1992, birthday), son of Lisa Lassig, brother of Chelsea Lassig

30 Zachary Kudisch (2008, passing), son of Howard & Diane Lipman

Kristin M. Lucia (2013, passing), daughter of Isis Lucia Hart

Michael Bigay (1976, birthday), brother of Jeffrey Bigay

Justin Disharoon (1987, birthday), son of Heather Bilton

31 Katalin Leigh Cousar (passing), daughter of Al Cousar

Louie Manzella (1986, birthday), son of Nancy Manzella

Wayne Walther (2013, passing), son of Jennifer & Jesse Walther

Adam Wolf (2013, passing), son of Naomi Wolf


COPE Parent Column

October 2016

This was a letter written to our first grandchild Kelsey, who was named after her Uncle Kenneth

I thought now was the appropriate time to tell you a little something about the person for whom your Mom & Dad have chosen to name you after. He was born April 29, 1964, three years before your Dad, & although we had another name in mind for him, your Great Grandmother Adele (my Mom) suggested the name Kenneth. And so Kenneth Michael Lacks was born.  It’s hard to put ones thoughts & memories into a letter, but I will try to do him justice. It was not long after he was able to walk & talk, it was obvious to all that Kenneth was a very special child, very curious, quick to learn, but also very, very gentle & loving. As he grew into a young adult he developed a great zest for life & a wonderful sense of humor. He was a very talented piano player, artist, & an excellent swimmer. He also had a love for the arts & sciences. As soon as he was old enough he began to travel the world, non-stop, displaying that zest for life. If it was high enough for him to climb, he would climb it. If it was a long enough distance to run, he’d run it. If there was a challenge to be met, he embraced it with gusto. When I asked him why, he said he loved to challenge himself just to see if he could do it. Kenneth was successful at everything he aspired to do & and I was always in awe of him. It was no surprise when he announced to me, not only did he want to become a dentist, but wanted nothing less than to get into Columbia Dental School & vie for one of only four seats available. The rest is history, he not only became Dr. Kenneth Michael Lacks, but he did it at school of his choice & with honors! He was & will always be a very special person in our lives, & so it is with great pride & love that you be given this special gift of being named after your Uncle Kenneth.


Grandma & Grandpa

Gail & Chuck Lacks



From COPE Parent Paula Bruckner:

Adam Daniel Bruckner, left this earth on Sept. 6, 2006, leaving behind a trail of broken hearts. My poor boy succumbed to addiction and led a few tortured years before his demise as a result.

I feel that it is my job to raise awareness about the disease of addiction and to remove the stigma. Adam was a very handsome, young man, witty, loving and forever mourned.

It is surreal to me to think that he is gone now ten years; that seems like a blink of an eye and eternity all the same. My heart goes out to all my Sisters & Brothers in grief.

I ask you all to say a prayer for my boy when you read this.

Thank you.


From COPE Parent Martina Sternberg:

As I look in his eyes, I see you.

Grief! The most painful empty uncontrollable feeling that just comes up on you like a tornado. All is quiet and still and BAM you are on your knees. I feel like I had it all until Jan 24, 2013. Joshua was/is my baby. I used to say I had an angel child and a devil child and Josh was my angel child. Now, he really is. He was just so good. He never had a mean thing to say about anyone and when my daughter and I would, he would correct us. He didn’t care where I bought his clothes, Goodwill, WalMart or Macy’s. My daughter, on the other hand, would NOT wear anything from WalMart (heaven forbid).

Josh was such an easy baby. I will never forget that day on Sep 5, 1990 when I got to look into his eyes and I just fell in love with him immediately. My little baby boy. What an amazing day – September 5. Every year we celebrated and I would remember seeing his eyes for the first time. Josh was so athletic and healthy. He played sports, took karate, won trophies and never bragged (my daughter on the other hand…bragger!).

When he was 18, on his birthday, my husband, daughter, Josh and I had a bonfire and he said before he dies, he just wants to fall in love. He met a guy while he was in karate and they became good friends. His friend had a wife and 3 sons. His friend, Nick, was a loner (kind of like Josh) and one night he hung himself at his mom’s house. Josh’s sole mission in life after that was to help his friend’s wife and kids. Josh brought the dog, Goliath, to our house to adopt and he ran anytime the wife/widow needed anything. You know how this goes. She was older and he was just a teen-ager. She got pregnant. I will never forget the day he “tried” to tell me he was having a baby. We were at lunch (we used to have “mommy and me time” even when he was an adult). He was so nervous and I kept asking what was wrong. After we left, he sent me a text and said she was pregnant. I said “whew” I thought you were going to tell me she was pregnant or something. I mean, what can you do at that point but love him and support him. Josh moved in with her and was just an amazing dad to the 3 young boys.

I will never forget the look on Josh’s face when Gabriel was born, Josh had on that blue outfit with a mask on, looking down at Gabriel and it was then, I believe that he fell in love. The one thing he wanted to do before he died.

The relationship was rocky. Josh did everything for those boys. So amazing. Finally, he decided he needed to get a vocation so he can raise the boys. He moved into to my house with Gabriel in early January to go to college. He would go to take care of the boys on the week-ends. It was so good having him back home and having this amazing little grandson. Gabriel looked just like Josh. The mom wasn’t much of a mom and didn’t really connect with Gabriel. He stayed with us most of the time.

That dreadful day when you hear the sheriff on the other end of the phone. I regret to inform you…..

Josh died in a car accident. Alone. On the side of the road. Blunt force trauma to the head. I would never see those beautiful eyes again. Touch him. Hug him. Smell his “grown up” cologne on him. Watch him be so loving to his son and the sons of his friend.

The girl left Gabriel with us, we have since adopted him and left the other boys with their dad’s mom.

The worst day for me every year is Josh’s birthday. That day was one of the three happiest days of my life (when my two kids and grandson were born).

Every year we “celebrate” for Gabriel. We have cake, we sing happy birthday, we go to the “memorial garden” (Gabriel’s word for the cemetery).

Now when I look into Gabriel’s eyes, every day, I see my son. Josh left me his most precious gift in Gabriel and as you know it isn’t enough. I want them both. After we “celebrate” daddy’s birthday and Gabriel goes to sleep that is my time to cry and cry and cry. And I do. I don’t know if it will ever stop but I do know I miss my son while I raise and love his son.

To share your thoughts about this posting, please click here to visit our website and enter your comment under the LEAVE A REPLY section.

Please share with us your writings about your child. Email Stacey at for more information.


COPE Sibling Column

October 2016

Please share with us your writings about your sibling. Email Stacey at for more information.



Dear COPE Families,

For those of you who may not know, Karen Flyer tendered her resignation after dedicating 8 years to COPE and our families. Karen has been a light to our organization and has given hope and encouragement to countless parents, siblings, and families. She has been emotionally invested in all of our lives and will be greatly missed.

Karen raised COPE from a fledgling organization and leaves COPE in a strong position, as we look to our new Executive Director, Joy Oppedisano, to take COPE to the next level.

Joy is an ideal choice for COPE. Her background is well aligned with COPE’s mission. She has worked for over 11 years for the New York Organ Donor Network, working with grieving individuals and their families. Strategic and event planning, as well as development, grant writing, and leadership have been critical in her roles, not only within the Organ Donor Network, and as Executive Director of the Lions Eye Bank, North Shore Hospital-Northwell Health, but also currently as the President of Long Island TRIO (Transplant Recipient International Organization). LI TRIO is comprised of volunteers who take loving care of the Rose Garden located across from the COPE Labyrinth in Eisenhower Park. (A bit of synchronicity!)



If anyone has any news to share with the group or a poem or inspirational story (to potentially be included in a future newsletter if you wish), please email Stacey at


Camp Erin® NYC – COPE Foundation

For the Latest News About COPE Camp Erin New York City!

August, 2016

Hi from Camp Erin NYC,

Summer 2016 was nothing short of magical. There were 51 brave children willing to share their stories and open their hearts to healing. Supporting them every step of the way were 64 compassionate, engaged and dedicated volunteers.

Thanks to the generosity of various establishments in local communities who donated white plastic buckets and a patient art staff, campers created beautiful drums they played in their drum circle and took home to use as a tool to express themselves through their grief journey.

Campers came together as strangers and worked together as a team to navigate our low ropes course.

With keen eyes, expert supervision and instruction, our swim staff guided swimmers and non-swimmers alike across the lake, into life jackets on to tubes, down slides and on trampolines! Screams of joy were heard everywhere.

The real magic came when our grief chiefs (our professional clinicians) once again provided a safe environment in which children could share their stories, express their grief, sadness, anger or frustration knowing they would be heard, not judged, and those around them would understand. That’s the magic of the weekend. Our campers learn they are not alone and learn it is ok to grieve and remember their loved ones.  They even learn it’s OK to  have fun.

Our luminary ceremony, placing a candle out on the lake in honor of a loved one, is a powerful moment for our campers. For some, it is an opportunity to say a good bye or to release the pent up emotions that have been bottled up inside. For others, to see a light in an otherwise dark journey is comforting.

This weekend would not be possible without the generosity and support of our Camp Erin family, the COPE Foundation, friends and our local community. It has been an amazing team effort and we are forever grateful. Looking forward to the next five years!

I would like to share a letter from a parent who beautifully expressed all that we hoped for when we set out to create Camp Erin NYC five years ago:

I’m not sure how to thank you all for the amazing weekend that you created. I feel so grateful that Louie and I were able to be part of it.

Louie had the most incredible time at Camp Erin. She cannot stop talking about it: waking up to Justin Timberlake, pulling tape off of a tall boy’s head during some ice breaker game that you played, the fun girls in her bunk (and how one lost a tooth!), the tubing on the lake, the ropes course, bucket brigade, and on and on. She fell asleep 10 minutes into our car ride home – exhausted from a jam-packed weekend of activity. She is begging me to return, wishes it had been longer, and named the Gund bear that she was gifted there “Erin.”

More, I thank you for giving her the opportunity to make meaningful connections  — with other children who have experienced loss, counselors who gave her a great time, and the grief chiefs who helped facilitate healthier healing for her. Even if we do not stay connected with the other families or your staff, I know that collectively and individually everyone made a lasting impression. She keeps pulling out her t-shirt to re-read the signatures on the back.

Louie seems more in touch with the memory of her dad and her feelings about the loss of him that she did before this camp. She is already talking to me more openly and understands better that this loss is a shared experience for our family. I’m so grateful for all the healing tools that you gave her.

All this in 48 hours. I am in awe.

There are similarly strong sentiments from me on the impact of the parent retreat. I’m still processing and digesting the weekend, but I know I feel different and more hopeful about my path of healing and how I can help guide that process. (Lilly, I will fill out your survey and return it soon.)

Best wishes, and thank you – again.

Emily C

For more information on Camp Erin, please email COPE-Camp Erin New York City Camp Director Ann Fuchs at or



Monday Night Parent Support – Merrick

Merrick Jewish Center

Monday, October 10th at 7:00 p.m. SHARP

Join COPE and social worker Judy Hasnas for our South Shore Parent Support Group meeting on Monday, October 10th from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. SHARP at the Merrick Jewish Center (in the LIBRARY unless otherwise noted) which is located at 225 Fox Boulevard Merrick, NY. This group meets one Monday evening of the month at this time. Judy Hasnas, LCSW, BCD, has a private practice in Bellmore, New York, and facilitated bereavement groups for parents of fire fighters who were killed on 9/11 as part of the Counseling Service Unit, FDNY.  She also worked as an independent contractor at the Steinway Child and Family Service of Howard Beach and was a social work coordinator at Bellevue Hospital Center.


For more information, please email Stacey at




Monday Night Parent Support Group for Parents New to COPE – East Meadow

COPE House at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow (Field 6A)

Monday, October 17th at 7:00 p.m. SHARP

The Monday night COPE North Shore group for parents NEW TO COPE will meet this month on Monday, October 17th from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. This group will be facilitated by Marilyn Kohn, LCSW, and will be held at the COPE House in Eisenhower Park, East Meadow NY at Field 6A. For directions, please visit our website at or email


For more information, please email Stacey at




Tuesday DAYTIME Parent Support Group – East Meadow

COPE House at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow (Field 6A)

Tuesday, October 11th at 1:00 p.m. SHARP

The NEW DAYTIME Parent Support Group which normally meets the first Tuesday of the month at the COPE House at Eisenhower Park (Field 6A) in East Meadow will meet next on Tuesday, October 11th from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. The group is facilitated by licensed social worker Janet Zimmerman. Janet is currently in private practice as a psychotherapist. She previously ran bereavement groups for the Mid-Island JCC and has been a social worker for almost 40 years. For more information or to express your interest, please contact Amy Olshever, COPE Clinical Director, at 516-418-6606.



Wednesday Night Western Suffolk County Parent Support Group – Dix Hills

The Chai Center in Dix Hills

Wednesday, October 19th at 7:00 p.m. SHARP

Please join COPE and social worker Denise Fields for our Parent Support Group in Suffolk County, at the Chai Center in Dix Hills (501 Vanderbilt Parkway). This group meets next on Wednesday, October 19th from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Denise has a private psychotherapy practice in Dix Hills, specializing in bereavement.  She previously was a consultant to the Huntington School district, and ran bereavement groups for the Family Service League in Huntington.  The group normally meets the second Wednesday evening of every month from 7:00-8:30 p.m.


For more information, please email Stacey at




Monday Night Parent Support Group – East Meadow

COPE House at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow (Field 6A)

Monday, October 24th at 7:30 p.m. SHARP

The Monday night COPE North Shore group will meet this month on Monday, October 24th from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. This group will be facilitated by Marilyn Kohn, LCSW, and will be held at the COPE House in Eisenhower Park, East Meadow NY at Field 6A. For directions, please visit our website at or email This group is for parents who have been part of COPE. New to COPE parents should plan on attending the other Monday night meeting on October 17th.

For more information, please email Stacey at




Thursday Night North Shore Parent Support Group for Established Parents – Syosset

Syosset Library

Thursday, October 6th at 7:00 p.m. SHARP

Join COPE for our Two-Year Plus North Shore Parent Support Group meeting on Thursday, October 6th at 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. SHARP at the Syosset Public Library (225 So. Oyster Bay Road).

COPE will once again be joined by Marilyn Kohn, LCSW, a licensed social worker with a private practice specializing in bereavement counseling and individual and family therapy. This is a group intended for parents whose loss occurred over two years ago. Newly bereaved parents should feel free to attend one of COPE’s other support groups.


The second group, at the Jericho Public Library in Jericho (1 Merry Lane) is now for parents new to COPE.

For more information, please email Stacey at




Thursday Night North Shore Parent Support Group for Parents New to COPE – Jericho

Jericho Library

Thursday, October 27th at 7:00 p.m. SHARP

Parents NEW TO COPE, please join us for our North Shore Parent Support Group meeting on Thursday, October 27th from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. SHARP at the Jericho Public Library (1 Merry Lane in Jericho).

This group, which meets monthly, is facilitated by Marilyn Kohn, LCSW, a licensed social worker with a private practice specializing in bereavement counseling and individual and family therapy. This is for parents NEW TO COPE, as Marilyn’s other Thursday and Monday groups are filled at this time.

For more information, please email Stacey at





Friday Night Central Suffolk County Parent Support Group – Ronkonkoma

United Methodist Church in Ronkonkoma

Friday, October 21st at 7:00 p.m. SHARP

Please join COPE and social worker Lisa Vitucci for our Central Suffolk County Parent Support Group at the United Methodist Church in Ronkonkoma (792 Hawkins Avenue Lake Grove, NY 11755, 631-588-5856). This group will meet next on Friday, October 21st at 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Lisa has more than ten years’ experience as a bereavement social worker for a hospice agency and is currently the Director of Social Work at ProHEALTH Care Support. Lisa can be reached with any questions at 516-808-5821.


For more information or to express interest in this group, please email Stacey at




Long Island Adult Sibling Group – East Meadow

COPE House at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow (Field 6A)

Monday, October 17th at 7:00 p.m.

Please join COPE for our adult sibling group on Long Island on Monday, October 17th from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the COPE House in East Meadow. For directions, please visit our website at or email The group will be facilitated by licensed social worker Amy Kirschenblatt. Amy is a social worker at Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center. Previously, she worked in a prenatal care program at NSHS/LIJ.


For more information, please email Stacey at




Teen Grief Support Group (13-17) – East Meadow

COPE House in East Meadow

Thursday, October 13th at 7:00 p.m. SHARP

Teens that have lost a sibling, parent, or significant loved one…. If you are interested in attending the COPE Teen Grief Support Group the second Thursday evening of every month at 7:00 p.m. at the COPE House in East Meadow, please express your interest to Clinical Director Amy Olshever at 516-418-6606. The next meeting of the group will be October 13th at 7:00 p.m.


The group is facilitated by licensed social worker Jennifer Plunkett. Jennifer is currently a psychotherapist with a private practice in Huntington where she specializes in treating adolescents, and an adjunct instructor at Suffolk Community College where she teaches courses in Child & Adolescent Psychology. Jennifer previously served as a bereavement specialist at Good Shepherd Hospice. There will also be a weekly social media component involved between the meetings. There is no cost to participate in this program.




NYC Parent Support Group

1177 Avenue of the Americas @46th Street


The New York City parent group, facilitated by social worker Bridgette Boucher, which met on the second Tuesday of every month at 1177 Avenue of the Americas at 46th Street floor C-2, Suite 0020 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. is CURRENTLY ON HIATUS awaiting additional interest. If you know of anyone interested in this group, please contact COPE Clinical Director Amy Olshever at


Bridgette is currently a family therapist working with the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and has a private practice in New York City. She was previously a therapist for the Ackerman Institute for the Family, treating families dealing with grief, substance abuse, domestic violence, trauma and relationship problems. For more information, please contact Bridgette at



NYC Young Adult Sibling Support Group –

Express Interest Now

Location TBD in Manhattan – Looking for Space

The COPE young adult sibling support group in Manhattan is going to be starting up again soon! If you are an adult sibling interested in attending, please email Karen Flyer at The group will likely meet on the 1st or 3rd Wednesday evening of the month, with exact date and time determined by facilitator and space availability.


We are looking for office space to hold our group. If you work in an office in Manhattan that would have space we could borrow one night per month, please let Karen know. The space does need to be large – the group tends to have 6-10 people. A licensed social worker employed by COPE would be running the group.




Young Children’s Grief Support Group (Ages ~7-12)

COPE House in East Meadow


The Children’s Grief Support Group for kids ages 7-12 living with the loss of a loved one is on hiatus due to lack of enrollment. If you are interested in your child joining an 8-week spring group, please contact COPE Clinical Director Amy Olshever at 516-418-6606 or



Monthly Meditation

COPE House at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow (Field 6A)


The Monthly Meditation Group takes the place of the Spirituality Circle. Monthly Meditations will meet at the COPE House in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.   Since space is limited please RSVP.


COPE hopes that all parents interested in meditation as an integral part of the healing process will attend these monthly get-togethers. Some months will include guest speakers and healers. If you have any questions, please contact Lilly Julien at




Integrative Healing Workshop Series




NEW Creative Writing Workshop

COPE House in Eisenhower Park

Wednesday, October 19th, 6:30pm

Please join COPE and Patty Rossi, published writer, to experience the power of the pen as a source of solace and comfort in the grieving process. These evenings will be devoted to writing and healing. Be part of this artistic venture. Come explore writing as a tool to console and soothe.

The Creative Writing Workshop will now be offered monthly, on the third Wednesday of the month.



COPE Individual Peer Support/Mentor

Sign up for Peer support or to be a Peer Mentor!

For those bereaved parents and siblings not ready for a support group, or who wish to augment their support group experience with individual support, COPE offers “peer mentor support”  If you are in need of a peer mentor (a parent or sibling who shares your particular loss), OR if you wish to act as a peer mentor to a newly bereaved parent or sibling, please contact Stacey at  Peer support is truly at the heart of COPE!


COPE Donations

We thank the following people for making donations to COPE during the months of (late) August and September:

General Donations

  • Linda Prussein, in memory of David Weinstein
  • Candice & Jeff Stark, in memory of Norma Eisman, beloved mother and grandmother
  • Jesssica, Lance, Mallory, and Marissa Leibhaber, in memory of Norma Eisman
  • Elaine & Paul Suchow, in memory of Norma Eisman
  • Casey Squires, in memory of Summer Genevieve Dodd
  • Shirley & Michael Heitler, in memory of David Berg


If you no longer wish to receive these newsletters, please email Stacey at



COPE Foundation

P.O. Box 1251

Melville, NY 11747

Tel: (516) 484-4993, Fax: 516-484-4885