When the mother of five young children passed away this past week, two principals from a local school were prepared to spring into action. Graduates of a training program created by Project CHAI, the bereavement arm of Chai Lifeline, the two were able to inform students in two schools of the tragedy and address the fears and distress of children who ranged in age from 6 to 15.
“Our professional staff, their talents and dedication not withstanding, cannot always respond promptly to a school or home beset by tragedy,” stated Rabbi Simcha Scholar, Chai Lifeline’s executive vice president. “additionally, there are times when a community craves the familiarity and comfort of those they already know our professional staff are visitors rather than insiders. The hundreds of trained mechanchim and askanim trained by Project CHAI are skilled in crisis intervention and death notification. They function as “first responders’ in such unforeseen circumstances.”
The two principals had attended ChaiLifeline’s training largely conducted by Dr. Norman N. Blumenthal and Rabbi Yaakov Klar, Director and Director of Community Outreach of Project Chai. They met with the affected classes, quietly informing the students and providing a safe environment for expressing the myriad emotions that accompany such sad news. The principals had access to Dr. Blumenthal and Rabbi Klar for assistance and support throughout the process.
“This is a model that can be universally replicated,” said Rabbi Scholar. “Chai Lifeline is very interested in helping communities develop the resources to address the devastation of untimely death.” One of the principals reiterated, “Since becoming a principal, I have unfortunately witnessed many tragedies. You cannot compare the effectiveness of when you know what to do from the very first minute.”
For more information regarding Project Chai and its services and trainings, or to request immediate service, please call (212) 894-8263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)