Staten Island Grief Center is based on the belief that our family’ s needs are of the utmost importance. Our entire team is committed to meeting those needs. We are made up of Mental Health Counselors, Social Workers, Nurses, PA’s and trained volunteers working in area schools, hospitals and local businesses. Our program is growing leaps and bounds throughout the Staten Island community.
Referrals and donations are always appreciated and welcomed. We would welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the best in quality professional care and education.
Karen L Goldman, Founder and Executive Director
Karen L Goldman, LMHC, BCPC is the Founder and Executive Director of Emma’s Place, the only not-for-profit grief education and counseling center on Staten Island. She is a New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Board Certified Psychotherapist specializing in Bereavement Counseling. She earned her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology with a specialty in Grief and Bereavement from (Russell) Sage Graduate School in Albany, New York. Karen also holds several advanced certificates in death and dying studies. She is the Bereavement Coordinator for Hospice, working to serve those families who have experienced a life-altering illness, trauma and loss. Karen was also the founding creator and the Clinical Director of Camp Good Grief of Staten Island (2009-2013). Karen’s education, personal and professional experiences help her to serve the community through various institutions: schools, church groups, hospitals, social service agencies and private practice. Karen runs adult and children’s bereavement groups and counsels individuals, children and families, guiding them through loss, depression, despair and life’s transitions. Karen has been dedicated to the treatment of grief and loss for over thirty years.
Dr. Carolyn Oglio-Taverner, Co-Founder and Program Director
Dr. Carolyn Oglio-Taverner, Ph.D is our Co-Founder and Program Director at Emma’s Place. She is one of our senior counselors running both children’s bereavement groups and individual counseling. She is a counselor and educator working on Staten Island. She has a background in psychology, including a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychopathology from Columbia University, Teachers’ College and a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the City University of New York. She is, currently an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Wagner College, teaching courses including Developmental Psychology, Child Psychology and Death and Dying. Carolyn has partnered with Karen since 2009, co-creating children’s bereavement camps, grief education and activity programs and training and educating the New York City communities on grief and loss. She has also had the privilege to facilitate the Little Angels Children’s Bereavement group at St. Joseph St. Thomas Parish and is a New York Registered Director for Rainbows, Inc., an organization which works to guide children through the losses in their life. She has acted as a consultant for the Archdiocese of New York to help establish additional children’s groups and train others to do this rewarding work.
Stacey Cohen, MS Ed, with an Advanced Certificate in School Psychology is our Creative Arts Director. She is Emma’s Place’s creative art’s therapist, designing our fundraising materials, Newsletters, volunteer trainings and community workshops. She is a graduate of Brooklyn College where she earned a B.S. in Psychology, a Masters in Education, and an Advanced Certificate in School Psychology. She has worked as a school psychologist in the New York City Public School System in both elementary and junior high schools, and has provided grief counseling to students. Ms. Cohen has volunteered for Hospice in Staten Island where she created and facilitated a children’s bereavement group in 2007, and also designed and conducted one-day bereavement workshops for children. At these groups and workshops she utilized art therapy activities which she developed. In addition, Ms. Cohen has also provided a portion of the bereavement training for new volunteers at Hospice and other local arts and activity programs. Currently, she is employed by the NYC Human Resources Administration as an Employee Initiatives Coordinator.
Nicole Pepe, MHC, NCC is our children, tween and teen group facilitator. She also provides individual counseling and is one of our intake liaisons with local schools in the community. Nicole is a graduate of the University of Scranton, where she received her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Counseling and Human Services. She continued her education at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where she earned her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She has supported individuals of all ages, working as an outpatient therapist, care coordinator and crisis intervention specialist. Nicole is passionate about providing compassion and empathy to individuals and families to help guide them through the difficult process of grief, loss and trauma. She is privileged to be able to work with the children and families of Emma’s Place.
Alexa Inserra, MHC-LP is our tween and teen group facilitator and is one of our intake liaisons with local schools. She is a Mental Health Counselor from Staten Island, New York.
She received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Philadelphia University and then went on to Thomas Jefferson University to pursue a Master of Science in Community and Trauma Counseling. Alexa works as a Mental Health Specialist for a Care Coordination Organization in NYC, NY working with individuals with dual diagnoses of Intellectual Disability and Mental Illness. She also works as a Mental Health Counselor at The Therapy Zone in Staten Island, specializing in treating trauma, anxiety, depression and grief for individuals and families of all developmental ages. Alexa’s post graduate education, clinical background and professional experience focus has been on trauma counseling. Alexa was drawn to this field early on as a result of her own personal encounters with trauma. She was guided by her desire to learn more about her personal experience, how it shaped who she was, and how she could use her experience to best serve others. As a Mental Health Counselor, Alexa has had the privilege to support individuals across various age groups, abilities, and backgrounds to cope with their unique experiences with trauma. She is passionate about educating others on the physiological and psychological effects that trauma has on the body and how to implement person-centered, holistic, strengths-based treatment modalities to promote a higher quality of life and healing.
Katie is our group facilitator for our Parent’s group. She is a board certified Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor who earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is also a member of the International Honor Society. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the College of Staten Island where she worked as a research assistant in the Children’s Development Lab. Katie also co-authored the journal article, “Older Siblings Influence Younger Siblings’ Motor Development.” Infant and Child Development, 17, 607-615) which was published in Infant and Child Development: Berger, S. & Nuzzo, K. (2008). As part of her undergraduate work, Katie also mentored emancipated female youth, and successfully motivated them to earn a high school diploma and enroll in college. Currently, Katie is working in private practice, counseling individuals, couples, and families. She joined Emma’s Place as an intern in 2016 and continues to find fulfillment in helping children and their families to process their grief and learn the tools they need to heal to move towards a healthier future.