September 26, 2016

VNA & Hospice welcomes new program for teens, families facing grief, death

September 26, 2016

For immediate release: June 15, 2015

NORTHAMPTON, Mass — “My name is Matthew and I am here to remember my brother.”  This is a familiar sentence spoken at the opening circle by dozens of children and teens at The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children and Teens.

Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice welcomed The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children and Teens to its community-based, bereavement support programs earlier this spring. The Garden provides support to children, teens, and families learning to live with the loss of a loved one.

Northampton resident Geraldine Unger and her two children sought help from The Garden in 2009 following the suicide of their husband and father Mark Unger. “Death is a hard concept for young children,” said Unger. “At The Garden, my children and I could talk about our loss openly. They knew they were not alone and were able to see that death is a part of life.”

About the Garden

The Garden provides groups and grief education to children, teens, and families whose lives have been impacted by the death of a loved one. Activities and discussion groups help young people identify and share their feelings and begin the healing process.

Parents and guardians meet separately to discuss their concerns as the family navigates the grief journey. There is no charge to the families. Funding is provided by donations from individuals and businesses that support the mission and the work of The Garden, and through events and activities designed to raise awareness about the program’s offerings. The Garden has served more than 400 families since it was founded by Barbara Weiner-Dubeck in 1998. Previously, The Garden was a program of the YMCA.

Shelly Bathe Lenn, program coordinator since 2004, continues in this capacity and is an employee of Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice. She earned a master’s of education and a certificate of advanced graduate study in school counseling from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

How to Access Services

All programs and services of The Garden are free. However, participating families are encouraged to make a monthly contribution in an amount they can afford. To access services offered by The Garden, call 413-582-5312.

Additional Bereavement Support Programs

In addition to services offered by The Garden, Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice offers adult bereavement programs for people who are grieving the death of someone close to them. Participants are welcome regardless of where they received hospice services. Call 413-584-1060 for more information.

About Cooley Dickinson Health Care

Cooley Dickinson Hospital is an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital and member of Partners HealthCare. Truven Health Analytics has named Cooley Dickinson one of its 100 Top Hospitals® for providing the highest level of value to its community based on a national balanced scorecard. Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice is a 2014 HomeCare Elite™ agency. Cooley Dickinson’s staff and physicians comprise a network of emergency, surgical, clinical, rehabilitative, and hospice and home care expertise that admits 6,000 patients, treats 40,000 emergency patients per year, delivers 800 babies, makes 49,000 home care and 10,000 hospice visits. Cooley Dickinson’s vision is to make the mid-Pioneer Valley the nation’s model healthy community. Learn more at www.cooley-dickinson.org.