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New York Life Foundation Grants $500,000 to St. John’s University

NEW YORK, December 6, 2013 — St. John’s University’s Child HELP Partnership today announced a two-year, $500,000 grant from the New York Life Foundation to increase the quality of childhood bereavement services and serve a greater number of bereaved children in New York City. This is the third grant provided to St. John’s University’s Child HELP Partnership from the New York Life Foundation, which funded a bereavement services needs assessment in New York City in 2011.

The 2011 assessment revealed a lack of childhood bereavement services, as well as a stigma associated with death and grief counseling. Based on these findings, the grant announced today will support outreach and increased programming, as well as training and evaluation, to be provided by The Family Center (Brooklyn); the Center for Court Innovation, Child and Adolescent Witness Support Program (Bronx); A Caring Hand, The Billy Esposito Foundation (Manhattan); and St. John’s University’s Child HELP Partnership (Queens).

“This is an innovative, groundbreaking initiative that will help the field tremendously,” said Dr. Elissa Brown, founder and executive director of St. John’s Child HELP Partnership and research director of the grant. “It is our hope that this project will help build the sector and, more importantly, improve programs for grieving children and their families.”

“The grant provides a unique opportunity to better understand when and what services are most helpful for grieving children to improve their long-term outcome. With ten children newly bereaved by the death of a parent or sibling every day in New York City, there is a tremendous need to increase awareness of both the value and availability of services,” said Dr. Robin Goodman, who serves as clinical director of the grant.

“The providers have already made impressive progress and will help serve hundreds of children who are currently not receiving any support to cope with their loss,” said Marlyn Torres, corporate vice president, New York Life Foundation.

In September, grief group leaders were hired and trained at each of the four consortium sites. Support groups began in October. The initial bereavement groups are currently serving approximately 50–70 children and caregivers and will grow as the capacity for additional groups grows each year.

About St. John’s University/Child HELP Partnership

Founded in 1870, St. John’s is a Catholic and Vincentian university that prepares students for ethical leadership in today’s global society. The University has three residential New York City campuses—in Queens, Staten Island, and Manhattan – in addition to a campus in Rome, Italy; an academic center in Oakdale, NY; and study abroad locations in Paris, France, and Seville, Spain. Students come from 47 states and 116 countries. The University offers more than 100 associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in the arts, business, education, law, pharmacy, and the natural and applied sciences. Students also benefit from academic service-learning activities, extensive global studies opportunities, and 17 BIG EAST, Division I men’s and women’s athletic teams.

The Child HELP Partnership at St. John’s University was founded in 2001 with the mission of protecting children from interpersonal violence and its emotional impact. The program uses best practices in mental health and education and is dedicated to healing children after trauma by providing evidence-based therapies free-of-charge, empowering the multicultural communities by adapting these services for them, enhancing learning of professionals across the country by training them in these evidence-informed approaches, and preventing abuse and injury by offering evidence-informed prevention programs. To learn more, please visit www.stjohns.edu/childhelppartnership.

About The New York Life Foundation

Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided more than $168 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. Through its focus on “Nurturing the Children,” the Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees, agents, and retirees of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program. To learn more, please visit www.newyorklifefoundation.org.

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