Going On After Loss

Armen Hareyan's picture
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On Sunday, September 16th, The GOALs (Going On After Loss) Center for Families will sponsor its Third Annual "Amazing Race". GOALS, an organization founded after the attacks of September 11, 2001 to support families in Northern New Jersey who lost a parent that day, has evolved to provide mental health support services to all families with children grieving the death of a parent, regardless ofthe circumstances surrounding the death. In addition to these family-based services, The GOALs Center for Families trains educators and fellow mental health professionals in our unique, resiliency-based model.

This year's race will be held at Old Troy Park with twenty families expected to participate. Previous races have been very well received and due to expected heavy interest, The GOALs Center has tentatively scheduled a second race for Sunday, September 23rd.

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The Amazing Race is designed to emphasize family strengths and teambuilding through a variety of challenges that ask participants to use creativity, speed, patience and a sense of humor to succeed as a family & team. All participants begin and finish at common points, but in-between they follow clues to reach different challenges. Like the acclaimed reality TV show of the same name, at each challenge the participating team has a task or tasks to complete to obtain the clue leading them to their next challenge. Some of the past challenges have included an Obstacle Course, "Family Money", "Mud" and "Family Scrabble". Families must decide the most effective way of completing tasks and, sometimes, must choose the mostappropriate family member to complete the challenge. Each challenge has underlying themes related to grief and the process everyone works through.

The initial GOALs program, a six-week counseling support group for families was created as a direct response to the events of September 11, 2001. These groups provide psycho-educational support to families experiencing grief with an emphasis on strengthening resiliency and improving their coping skills. Using a structured curriculum, which was designed and published by GOALs, families are provided education on the grief process and receive support from certified group psychotherapists, volunteers and other families experiencing grief.

The groups were designed by three private practice psychotherapists in Morristown and have since grown into a comprehensive network of counseling support groups and events for ALL families with children who have experienced the death of a parent. GOALs programs provide psycho- educational support in which complicated mental health concepts are translated and presented in a simplified manner, allowing participants (adults and children alike) to more easily access and incorporate the information into their normal, everyday lives.

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