In 1989, when Mary Emswiler died suddenly of heart failure at the age of 39, her husband Jim began a long struggle to find help for himself and his three young children. Finally, frustrated by the lack of available services for grieving families, he formed the New England Center for Loss and Transition with a two-fold mission: to train human service professionals on dying and grief and to provide support services to adult grievers.
The Cove Center for Grieving Children, a volunteer-driven program developed by the New England Center for Loss and Transition, was started in Guilford, Connecticut, in 1995 by Jim and his second wife, Mary Ann, and therapist Renée McIntyre. After an exhaustive study of the best national models available, this youth focused program was designed to help children and teens deal with grief. The Cove was separately incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) organization in 1998.
Beginning with six families in the first year, the program developed a solid working model that has steadily grown. Today, there are seven Cove sites throughout the state serving hundreds of grieving children and family members through regular support sessions. The Cove also offers an outreach program that touches an additional 1,200 individuals in the State of Connecticut each year through community education, professional training, consultation and referral.