Caroline Tesone, 16, a junior at Egg Harbor Township High School, needed help dealing with sadness and nightmares in the summer of 2010. Her mom's best friend, Tina Shriver, of Egg Harbor Township, had died in a car accident, and Tesone was grieving for the woman she called her "second mother."
She got help from The Alcove Center for Grieving Children and Families in Northfield, which runs support groups for children and teens coping with the death of a loved one. Tesone said she first talked to the caseworker there, Tobi Ellen Care.
"After talking to her, my nightmares were gone," said Tesone.
Later in 2010, a schoolmate, Jake Broschard, 16, was hit by a car and killed, she said. And in March 2011, schoolmate Ashley Reich, 15, died of a cancer called synovial sarcoma. Through it all, The Alcove continued to help her cope, she said.
She continues to talk to Care, and to attend support group meetings where she talks to other teens who have experienced a loss, she said.
Now she wants to help The Alcove. Tesone is organizing a used book sale, called "Chapters for Charity," on Saturday at Egg Harbor Township High School. She has collected about 6,000 books. Collection sites were at her school, the HiTech Salon and Spa in Northfield, the Alcove itself and Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, where her dad, Greg Tesone, is general manager.
"I'm a big reader. This is a way to unite my love for books and my love for The Alcove," Tesone said.
She wants to raise awareness about the nonprofit organization, and about the need for children and teens to talk about their feelings after the death of a loved one.
"When you are in that position, it's so lonely," she said. "You feel like the whole world has moved along without you. I want kids to know they shouldn't be afraid to talk to someone. It's not awkward or scary, and it makes such a huge difference."
She said she wants adults to know about The Alcove, so they can make appointments for their children, like her mom, Kathi Tesone, did for her.
Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:
Chapters for Charity
Chapters for Charity, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Egg Harbor Township High School cafeteria, 24 High School Drive. Admission is free. Pre-sale admission at 9 a.m. for a $5 donation. Books $1 each for hardbacks and 50 cents each for paperbacks. For information on The Alcove, or to volunteer for next year's book sale, call 609-484-1133 or visit www.thealcove.org.
John Robert Salon in Margate is holidng a holiday fair to benefit The Alcove Center for Grieving Children and Families, Covenant House in Atlantic City and the Atlantic County Humane Society from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the salon, 8411 Ventnor Ave. There will be vendors, a palm reader, wine and cheese, and other goodies, said owner Maria Hiltner, of Margate. Call 609-823-4131.