Mary Robinson Named 2019 Top 10 CNN Hero
Madison resident Mary Robinson, Executive Director of Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss, was awarded $10,000 and honored during the 13th annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, which aired live from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City on December 8, 2019.
Robinson was introduced by Anderson Cooper, who said “My dad, Wyatt Cooper, died when I was ten. For a long time I found it difficult to speak about him, to even say his name. Too often we go through grief alone, but Mary Robinson is trying to change that, especially for kids. Imagine is a place where the language of loss is spoken and understood. It’s a place where children and their parents can speak their loved one’s names, where they don’t have to pretend that everything is ok. They can learn coping skills, and they can see that they are not alone in their pain, none of us has to be alone.”
Childhood bereavement is a serious public health issue. The death of a parent or other important person in a child’s life has been noted to be one of the most commonly reported and disruptive Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs.) There are currently over 114,000 NJ youth age 0-18 who are bereaved due to the death of a parent. This doesn’t include the death of a sibling which Imagine also supports along with children and caregivers living with a family member with any life-altering illness.
Currently, over 425 children and adults meet every two weeks at Imagine in their free, year-round grief support groups in Mountainside and Newark. The impact on children’s lives of participating in Imagine grief support programs is immense. At Imagine children and adults make life-long friends, develop healthy coping skills and grow more resilient. By working to eradicate the potential negative effects of unresolved grief and creating communities well equipped to cope with loss, it is Imagine’s expectation that grieving children everywhere will grow up to be emotionally healthy and able to lead meaningful and productive lives.
If you’d like to support this work, please donate on CNNHeroes.com. With the $10,000 award, Subaru’s matching gift of $50,000, and your donation, Robinson will use the funds to expand its services in their Mountainside and Newark locations.
In addition, as part of the award package, Robinson and a member of her board will also participate in a customized version of the Annenberg Alchemy program, which offers leadership development that will help strengthen Imagine for long-term success. Alchemy is offered through the Annenberg Foundation, a leading supporter of nonprofits worldwide.
“Our hope is that through this recognition more children and teens will get support, know their loss matters, and feel less alone in their grief,” said Robinson. “The spotlight shown on our mission by CNN and the training from the Annenberg Foundation will be invaluable in helping us achieve our goal that some day no child will grieve alone. I believe this is now possible to achieve in my lifetime.”
Since 2006, CNN has profiled more than 300 heroes and has received upward of 85,000 nominations from more than 100 countries.
Imagine offers free year-round grief support groups for children age 3-18 who have had a parent or brother or sister die, and for families caring for a family member living with a life-altering physical illness. Concurrent groups are available for parents and guardians, and young adults 18-30. Support groups meet on weekday nights for an hour and a half. Dinner is provided prior to the group meeting. To schedule an orientation for yourself or your family or for more information please contact Imagine at 908-264-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.