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Sharing hearts and hope, the children of Emma’s Place bring smiles to faces of patients in a cancer center| Inside Out

  • Published: Oct. 23, 2022, 6:30 a.m.
Medical professionals and children and friends of Emma’s Place, gather at Staten Island University Hospital. (Courtesy/Jillian O’Hara/SIUH)Staten Island Advance

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — In what translated into a heartwarming day of learning, love and friendship, the children of Emma’s Place, a grief and loss center that provides free grief counseling for children and families, visited the Florina Cancer Center with “Hearts of Hope.”

Through the not-for-profit organization’s “Hearts of Hope” program, children hand-painted and designed 20 ceramic hearts for other children and adults who need a little extra attention and inspiration.

“Our kids from Emma’s Place wanted to visit the patients of Staten Island University Hospital’s Florina Cancer Center”, said Karen Goldman, Founder and Executive Director of Emma’s Place. “Emma’s Place is a grief center for children and families, who have lost someone. They do a lot of play and art therapy. They learn from each other that being sad, mad, and glad is all OK.”

Children of Emma’s Place visit children and adults at the Florina Cancer Center at Staten Island University Hospital. (Courtesy/Jillian O’Hara/SIUH)Staten Island Advance

The center uses therapeutic art, music activities and play therapy to help participants learn healthy grieving processes in a private setting, which facilitates healing, while offering them the tools to cope and move forward as they navigate their path of grief.

“This truly was an amazing visit”, exclaimed Laura Longo, senior director of oncology services at Staten Island University Hospital. “It was an uplifting and inspirational day.”

Children of Emma’s Place hold handcrafted gifts to be distributed to children and adults at the Florina Cancer Center at Staten Island University Hospital. (Courtesy/Jilian O’Hara/SIUH)Staten Island Advance

“The visit was so memorable for not only the staff, but especially the patients,” she said. “The children certainty brightened the day and the patients kept talking about them long afterwards.”

The hearts presented to patients were etched with individualized messages like “I love you,” “Feel Better,” and “Get Well Soon.”

“Making the hearts, helps to make the children feel better also,” said Dr. Carolyn Taverner, Co-founder and Program Director of Emma’s Place. She called the event an incredible display of how the Staten Island community gives back to members of the same community.


Emma’s Place is located in Cottage D on the grounds of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens in Livingston, has grown since its inception. It now provides free grief counseling group sessions and services to more than 25 families. Families need not demonstrate financial need in order to receive free services from Emma’s Place, which survives on donations and fundraisers.

It’s Staten Island’s only not-for-profit, non-denominational Mental Health/Bereavement Counseling and Grief Educational Program committed to supporting grieving children and families.

Emma’s Place provides community-based support services throughout the five boroughs.

In addition, it provides school-based group and individual counseling throughout NYC public and private schools on Staten Island. It receives ongoing requests for professional development/training for teachers, administrators, community organizations and other licensed mental health providers.

Emma’s Place is supported through donations, grants, memorials and bequests, which allow them to provide services at no cost to the children and families of the Staten Island Community.

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