Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano today announced that the COPE Foundation (Connecting Our Paths Eternally) has opened a Healing Center in Eisenhower Park in order to better serve the needs of Long Island families living with the loss of a child. COPE now occupies the Lannin Carriage House, at Field 6A, adjacent to the Park’s administrative offices and the Rose Garden. The approximately 1,000 square-foot Tudor cottage is now home of many of COPE’s parent and sibling bereavement support groups, as well as the foundation’s alternative healing workshops.
“I welcome the COPE family to their new home in Eisenhower Park,” said County Executive Mangano. “The support that COPE provides to families who are experiencing the difficulty of losing a child is very important and The Lannin House in Eisenhower Park provides COPE the opportunity to expand their outreach and help more families in need.”
Up until now, COPE had been sharing County space with the National Association of Mother’s Centers and the Women’s Fund of Long Island at the Elias Hicks Home in Jericho. The foundation also utilizes donated space across Long Island in Jericho, Syosset, Dix Hills, Merrick and Ronkonkama to host its support groups and meetings, and will continue to do so in order to serve families across Long Island. The Lannin Carriage House has a meeting space where COPE will accommodate even more families than its previous location and provide alternative healing workshops such as art and music therapy, yoga, Tai Chi, Reiki, meditation and drumming.
COPE President and Founder Lilly Julien stated, “Shortly after my daughter Michelle’s sudden passing in 1992, I had a dream in which Michelle appeared before me and said, ‘I’m OK, Mommy. You’re the ones who aren’t OK.’ And I awoke with a vision of a healing center—a warm, safe, tranquil and nurturing place where parents and siblings could come together for emotional and spiritual support. Now, 22 years later, we finally have our home.”
COPE Executive Director Karen Flyer stated, “County Executive Mangano is serious about supporting families in need and recognizes that there are so many more families out there in our local communities who need our help. I thank the County Executive for his support and dedication to healing our community.”
It has long been said that the most difficult situation for a family to deal with is the death of a child. Although causes are varied – birth defect, sickness, accident, suicide, drugs and/or alcohol overdose, abuse, malnutrition, neglect, murder – the result is the same. It is estimated that 20% of all parents in the United States have lost a child. Tragic deaths of young people on Long Island continue to make headlines. Just this past month, five teenagers in Farmingdale, New York were killed in a tragic automobile crash, an event that, unfortunately, has become all too familiar. The New York State Department of Health, which depicts mortality rates by counties and age levels, estimates that, on average, three young lives (birth – 44 years of age) are lost on Long Island every day, severely affecting these families and all of their friends, neighbors and co-workers. Since parents and siblings never get over this kind of loss, the cumulative effect is astounding. These frequent occurrences lead to a startling conclusion—with the volume of child deaths and the subsequent impact on loved ones, bereavement counseling, support services and therapeutic programs, such as those provided by COPE in a caring and nonjudgmental environment, are becoming increasingly more critical.
COPE, a not-for-profit foundation, 501(c)(3), is dedicated to helping parents and families living with the loss of a child. Since 1999, COPE has served the needs of approximately 700 families on Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties) by providing emotional, therapeutic and spiritual programs (at no cost to participants). These include parent and sibling support group meetings, individual one-on-one support, alternative healing therapy workshops, and a variety of special programs for local school districts, clergy and mental health professionals. COPE also operates COPE-Camp Erin® New York City, a free weekend bereavement camp for children ages 6-17 dealing with a major loss. In addition to assisting local families, COPE’s grief hotline (COPELine) and website have enabled us to also provide grieving individuals outside of Long Island with immediate support and resources and referrals.
COPE was recently awarded the Roger E. Joseph prize by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. The prize was presented to Lilly Julien and COPE—as an inspiring example of an institution governed by conscience and compassion—And to COPE-Camp Erin® NYC for the lifeline the camp provides to children who have experienced a tragic loss. Previous recipients include Victor Kugler (who sheltered Anne Frank and her family), Rosa Parks and Daniel Pearl, in memoriam. COPE-Camp Erin® NYC will be hosting an open house for the community to learn more about COPE-Camp Erin® NYC at the Lannin Carriage House on Thursday, June 5th from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. COPE also recently received a grant from the Long Island Community Foundation to host a monthly series of healing workshops for bereaved parents, “Healing from the Inside Out,” which will take place at the new COPE House at Eisenhower Park.
Anyone interested in donating to COPE or learning more about the organization can do so online at http://www.copefoundation.org. For more information on COPE, please contact Karen Flyer, Executive Director, at 516-484-4993 or firstname.lastname@example.org.