Passaic Valley Partners with Imagine Loss and Recovery Center to Help Community Cope

Devyn DiPasquale’21


This fall, Passaic Valley partnered with Imagine, a center for coping with loss, to offer webinars educating the community on how to support children, parents/guardians, and staff who are grieving. Providing emotional support to the PV community is a priority of the school during these difficult times. To view the parent/guardian version of the webinar, click the following link.

Imagine provided PV with customized individual webinars for parents/guardians, students and school staff detailing how to talk about grief. Imagine, along with a school support team, will also provide professional coping strategies in school workshops. The goal in forming a coalition with Imagine was to restore and establish a social and emotional learning (SEL) program at PV. Through the webinars, parents/guardians and staff can learn efficient ways to support their children and themselves. 

Superintendent Dr. JoAnn Cardillo and Director of Special Education Mr. Mike Paternoster established the partnership with Imagine. Mr. Paternoster, who has provided therapeutic workshops to students and staff for the past 10 years, felt that the Imagine program was the best way to get such valuable information out to the community. “When we deal with stress or anxiety by ourselves, it can be extremely hard to deal with without becoming self judgmental. But when we talk about it with someone else, all of a sudden our thoughts become mitigated and mediated. Whereas on our own, they can be overwhelming,” explained Mr. Paternoster, loosely quoting author and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips. “The goal of these webinars, is to provide professional tips on how to better deal with loss, grief, anxiety and stress.”

New Jersey instituted a state-wide mandate called “The Road Back” on April 27, 2020. “The Road Back” details the restore, restart, and recovery plans of the state and establishes the steps that schools should take to ensure the health of their students. Due to the turmoil from COVID-19, it is important that children and families know that the school and community are there to support them. 


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