When tragedy strikes, we turn to family. But sometimes, our relatives are equally shaken and unequipped to cope with the emotional and functional upheaval that crisis wreaks in a family and community.
That’s when Chai Lifeline’s Project CHAI steps in to offer the physical, emotional, spiritual and practical support that enables those in the midst of tragedy or trauma to weather the storm.
Together with our staff, Project CHAI’s first responders, trained, compassionate, and sensitive, offer guidance, perspective, advice and encouragement to families facing the unspeakable. They respond to the heartbreaking phone calls:
- My son lost a childyears ago and he is having difficulty coping. What is my role?
- My sister just lost a baby and her children are coming to my house. How do I talk to them?
- A grandparent passed away. Should my children attend the levaya?
- When do I ask my father for mechila?
- My husband’s condition took a turn for the worse. What should I say to our children?
- A student lost a sibling unexpectedly. How can I appropriately offer support and what should I tell his classmates?
Our responses to tragedy, always tailored to fit the family’s unique situation, include
- Guidance in what to expect, how to process the emotions, and how to respond to others in the family;
- Counseling services throughout the uncertainty and pain during the initial stages of grief;
- Reassuring, knowledgeable, and supportive presence in the aftermath of crisis;
- Assistance in preparation for and in response to traumatic events;
- Training for community leaders, first responders, and educators in effective responses to tragedy;
- Support and direction to families in times of turmoil, including practical guidance through the arrangements necessary in the wake of loss;
- Referrals for ongoing long-term support and care.
When a large-scale tragedy occurs, Project CHAI’s national crisis line, 855-3-CRISIS, is activated. Trained professionals offer immediate assistance and guidance. Within Lakewood, we provide guidance and support to schools when students experience illness or loss within their families or classes. We are in regular contact with Lakewood’s mosdos and menahalim. Our connections are built on mutual understanding; our carefully honed hashkafos are in line with those of the schools, allowing us to guide them according to their specific needs.