Empty Arms Bereavement

Coming up in 2016!

Thanks to everyone who came out for our Holiday Social! As always, we are grateful to have such an amazing community. Here are some new things for 2016 and a recap of the end of 2015. What you’ll find below:

  • Empty Arms is searching for new support group facilitators. Apply!
  • New location for our Miscarriage and Subsequent Choices Support Groups
  • Carol’s powerful blog on survival
  • Plus, updates on our November Trainings, Donation Campaign, and our new Strategic Plan

    Carol, Beth, Lexi and the Empty Arms Team

NEW IN 2016

Searching for NEW Support Group Facilitators
Have you ever thought about facilitating an Empty Arms Support Group? We are looking for new co-facilitators and substitute facilitators!

The motto of Empty Arms is “You are never alone.” That statement is a critical part of who we are as an organization. We know that being alone after the loss of a baby is unbearable, and companionship is essential at times of vulnerability. Our facilitators must not only lead support groups, but also work to build community within our support groups spaces and follow up with families throughout their grief journey.

As our support group model is focused on peer-based support, we strongly encourage those who have suffered the death of a baby through pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or early infancy to apply. Facilitators must be based in Western Massachusetts. We strongly encourage people of color, women, LGBQ, and trans* people to apply.

As this is our first time hiring new facilitators, we ask that you are patient with our process. Please send a short cover letter explaining your background and interest to Beth at bethpellettieri@gmail.com by February 15, 2016. If you have any questions, please email Beth, and she will get back to you shortly. 

NEW Location for Subsequent Choices and Miscarriage Support Groups
We’re excited to announce a new location for our Subsequent Choices and Miscarriage 
Support Groups! Cafe Evolution is a cozy vegan coffeehouse and community meeting space in Florence, a village of Northampton. The cafe itself will be closed to the public during our meeting, so we’ll be able to relax on their comfy seating, drink tea, and connect confidentially in this beautiful space. (There is free parking in the lot in front of the entrance, as well as street parking on Main Street.)

Star, the owner of Cafe Evolution, himself knows the pain of losing a child: His beloved son Jesse was born 20 years ago and lived 19 days. Starr believes deeply in the healing power of art and music. He has created the film SALMONBOY and several albums in Jesse’s honor.

The Miscarriage Support Group meets the second Wednesday of each month from 7-9 pm. The Subsequent Choices Support Group meets the third Tuesday of each month from 7-9 pm. If you’re interested in joining, please email Lexi Walters Wright at lexi.walters@gmail.com before January 19th.

Bereavement Support Group continues to meet the fourth Wednesday of each month from 7-9 pm at the Baystate Outpatient Center Community Room, 325 B King Street, Northampton, MA. The next meeting is Wednesday, January 27th.

Being alive, afterwards.
In case you missed it, here’s a powerful new blog post on survival. Carol wrote this the year after Charlotte’s birth, when she found writing in the third person to be the easiest way to tell her story.

2015 RECAP

November Training Report Back
Empty Arms teamed up with Holyoke Medical Center last November to offer a professional training titled, “Shaping the Journey of Bereaved Parents in the Birth Place.” We had nearly 50 participants from local hospitals and across New England. Carol offered the 4-hour training, which sought to help professionals consider their own potential to create a positive impact when helping families through pregnancy and infant loss. Participants left with not just a list of things to say and do to help families endure the death of a baby, but also with a keen understanding of the societal norms under which we operate during everyday life, and how we often have to step outside of these norms when a baby dies. It was incredible to see so many professionals valuing our work and taking the time to focus on how to deliver the best care possible.

Here is a note of appreciation from one of the trainings —

“Thank you Carol for doing such an outstanding job. I’ve been doing bereavement work for 35 years or more, have attended numerous trainings and done bereavement counseling and therapy with hundreds of people. but nothing has ever moved me to the depths this experience moved me. Your generosity of so freely sharing your resources and insights was also much appreciated. “

2015 Holiday Giving
Thank you to everyone who participated in our 2015 Individual Giving Donation Campaign! Empty Arms received over $8,000 in donations from over 130 different donors. Wow.

We are ever so grateful for your support! Many of you shared our Facebook posts, emailed friends and family, and even donated yourself — THANK YOU. Each year, our giving campaign is a humbling experience, and we are reminded of the incredible power of this amazing community. Thank you for all that you do. And no, it’s never too late to donate.

NEW Strategic Plan for 2015 to 2018
In October, the Empty Arms’ Board approved our first-ever strategic plan! For everyone who participated in the process, THANK YOU. Here are the results.

Tell us what you think! Email Beth at bethpellettieri@gmail.com with any questions or ideas. We’d love to hear from you.

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