September 1, 2017
Grants Totaling $7,500 Aid The Alcove’s Services Expansion
Northfield, NJ- Helping a child cope with and grieve the death of a family member is a difficult and delicate process. The Alcove Center for Grieving Children and Families, located in Northfield, New Jersey, provides a safe place where children and their families can receive comfort and support through a healing process. Thanks in part to $7,500 in grants from the Investors Foundation and Roma Bank Community Foundation, the Alcove will be able to expand its services from Atlantic and Cape May Counties into Gloucester County.
The Alcove applied for the grants from the Investors Foundation and Roma Bank Community Foundation, which support non-profit organizations that enrich the diverse communities served by Investors Bank. Roma Bank became part of Investors Bank in December 2013.
Mindy Shemtov, LCSW, Founder and Executive Director of the Alcove, noted that when a loved one passes away, particularly a parent, often the surviving adult is overwhelmed with their own grief. “This makes it really difficult for them to provide the right support needed to assist their child or children in dealing with the death and their grief,” explained Shemtov. “We have seen many children left to face their loss, pain, and sometimes fear, alone. At the Alcove, we teach coping skills to deal with these overwhelming emotions.”
The Alcove offers peer support groups for children aged 3 to 18. The groups are age-specific and are for ages 3 to 6, 7 to 10, 11 to 14, and 15 to 18. There also are adult groups available for those 19 and over, and for surviving parents, grandparents, or guardians. Shemtov said the children’s activities are designed to help them discuss death through play, art, storytelling, music, and discussion. The groups, which are held every other week, run for one hour and are facilitated by volunteers who have completed 30 hours of intensive training. Shemtov said that families can attend for as long as they need.
“Generous donations such as those from the Investors Foundation and Roma Bank Community Foundation enable us to offer the bereavement groups free of charge,” explained Shemtov. “We plan to use these grants to help expand our school outreach program into Gloucester County.”
According to Shemtov, the Alcove’s outreach program provides group support sessions in schools in high-risk areas where children have difficulties attending group sessions in the Northfield facility. In this program, which offers opportunities for grief support and education, each group meets for six to eight weeks with a MSW social worker. Shemtov said the activities are fun, age-appropriate, and “give children and teens a safe environment in which to explore the many thoughts and feelings associated with grief.”
“We know there are children that we are not reaching,” shared Shemtov, “and the ability to expand this program into Gloucester County will enable us to provide more, and better, opportunities for more of those dealing with grief.”
Investors Bank Assistant Vice President and Williamstown Branch Manager Shannon F. Morgan-Leonen presented the grants to Shemtov. “We are proud to assist the Alcove in expanding its services into Gloucester County,” said Morgan-Leonen. “This is an amazing and very necessary service the organization provides. As a parent, we want to assist and help our children, but we can’t always do so – we can’t be there, we don’t have the knowledge or skills – it is comforting to know that the Alcove has the ability to help our children through such difficult times.”