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Pam Pastirik is the founder and president of NB COPES. Image: Submitted

NB COPES receives $188K to expand grief support services

By Brad Perry Nov 17, 2023 | 2:01 PM

A Saint John-based non-profit is expanding its grief support services to more communities in the province.

NB COPES (Connecting Others, Providing Education & Support) recently received $188,000 in federal funding.

The charitable organization offers education and support for grieving children and their families.

Pam Pastirik, founder and president, said they specialize in creative approaches that include art, music, and writing.

“People have a variety of ways in which they process grief,” said Pastirik, who is also an art therapy student and a nursing professor at UNB Saint John.

“Talking is one way, however if you’re limited in verbal skills, or you find it difficult to verbalize feelings, creative outlets are another opportunity to express things.”

The money, which comes from the government’s Community Services Recovery Fund, will allow NB COPES to develop an integrated online platform.

Pastirik said this will allow them to connect with even more children and their families, particularly in rural areas.

“Our overall goal is to reach as many communities in New Brunswick as possible,” she said. “We want to be able to provide a service for the person where they’re at and make it accessible.”

“Oftentimes models require that you go to the therapist, but it doesn’t really help people that can’t access it or are maybe disenfranchised.”

Pastirik said she hopes the funding will help encourage other people to step forward and support their programs.