John and Mara Nevaretta with their daughter, Sabrina (Photo from the Helping Parents Heal website)

Woodbury Residents Form Community After Loss

Woodbury residents John and Mara Navaretta formed a local chapter of Helping Parents Heal this year. Helping Parents Heal (HPH) is an international organization dedicated to supporting parents who have experienced the loss of a child. The next meeting will be held on July 17 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 30 Berry Hill Road in Syosset.

Mara and John Navaretta experienced the loss of their youngest daughter, Sabrina, in 2023. At 19, Sabrina tragically died in a car accident during her first year at college, where she attended the University of Delaware. Sabrina was a graduate from Syosset High School and played an active role in the community.

After the accident, Mara and John realized how difficult it is for parents to find grief support. On Long Island, finding therapists or counselors that specialize in grief support are few and far between, and many families have nowhere to turn.

Helping Parents Heal is a free and welcoming environment where parents can find community with others who have experienced similar things. The group does not aim to forget about the loss experience, but to move forward with support and community.

“We are filling a void,” Mara Navaretta said. She explained that their goal in forming the group is “to help as many parents as possible.”

There is a need for parents to find support and help, but people don’t know where to find it. By forming a chapter of HPH, the Navarettas hope to create a community that can help each other through such a difficult experience.

The first meeting took place in June and about 20 people came to the meeting. Attendees were able to offer each other advice and support.

“Everyone was so uplifted when leaving,” said John Navaretta.

According to the organization’s website, Helping Parents Heal is unique because it “goes a step beyond other groups by allowing the open discussion of spiritual experiences and afterlife evidence in a non-dogmatic way. HPH welcomes everyone regardless of religious or non-religious background and encourages open dialogue.”

For more information on the organization, visit For more information on the local meetings, join the “Helping Parents Heal: Long Island North Shore” Facebook group or call (516) 551-3347. 

The group will host its second meeting from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on July 17 at 30 Berry Hill Road in Syosset. New members are always welcome.

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