For this Deloitte employee, Morristown community service was personal

Karen Bookchin of Deloitte at Good Grief for 'Impact Day,' June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Karen Bookchin of Deloitte was glad to repaint Good Grief for 'Impact Day,' June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Deloitte employees said they enjoyed visiting Morristown on Friday for Impact Day, the accounting firm’s annual day of community service.

But wielding a paintbrush at Good Grief Inc. had special meaning for Karen Bookchin.

Padmashree Srikanth from Deloitte's Hermitage, Tenn., office, at Good Grief in Morristown for 'Impact Day,' June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Padmashree Srikanth from Deloitte’s Hermitage, Tenn., office, at Good Grief in Morristown for ‘Impact Day,’ June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“Good Grief is wonderful. When my husband died eight years ago, I came here with my boys,” said the auditing manager, who works in Deloitte’s Parsippany office.

Good Grief provides counseling services to help children and families cope with the loss of a loved one.  A team of Deloitte employees spent Friday repainting walls inside Good Grief’s Elm Street building, a stately Victorian home decorated to feel cheery.

Bookchin’s sons were 9 and 14 when she brought them to Good Grief after their father died from cancer.

Employees of Deloitte came to Good Grief in Morristown for 'Impact Day' community service, June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Employees of Deloitte came to Good Grief in Morristown for an ‘Impact Day’ of community service, June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Good Grief “gave them a place where they could be normal, around other kids, and not have to feel different. They could talk about it with kids who went through it,” while having fun, Bookchin said.

One son now is a high school junior, the other attends college. Both are doing well, said the New Providence resident.

Deloitte also sent teams to the Goryeb Children’s Hospital at Morristown Medical Center, and to the Jersey Battered Women’s Service. Similar visits unfolded across the country.

Good Grief Program Director Melissa Parrish at 'Impact Day,' June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Good Grief Program Director Melissa Parrish with tree of remembrance, at ‘Impact Day,’ June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“They’re an incredible group of volunteers. It’s meaningful for them, and even more meaningful for us,” said Melissa Parrish, program director for Good Grief. This was Deloitte’s third appearance there.

Families come to Good Grief to deal with all manner of tragedies, from fatal accidents and terminal illnesses to opioid overdoses, suicides and gun violence, Parrish said.

(As Deloitte volunteers painted at Good Grief, members of Morris County Moms Demand Action were draping orange ribbons downtown to mark National Gun Violence Awareness Day.)

Flowers of remembrance by clients at Good Grief in Morristown, June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Flowers of remembrance by clients at Good Grief in Morristown, June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“People think this must be a sad space,” Parrish said. Not so, she said.

“It’s a place full of hope and life and families coming together to support one another,”  Parrish said, where kids can share with each other emotions they otherwise might suppress.

Good Grief serves about 750 clients, from ages 3 and up, in Morristown, Princeton, Newark and Jersey City.

Michelle Rowe of Deloitte at Good Grief for 'Impact Day,' June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Michelle Rowe of Deloitte at Good Grief for ‘Impact Day,’ June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

In a statement, Deloitte’s managing partner for New Jersey, Paul Krieger, said good deeds and good business go hand in hand.

“We know that we can do well in our business by doing good in the world, and Impact Day
demonstrates how we can come together with key stakeholders to tackle issues that impact our shared future,” Krieger said.

These efforts include serving on non-profit boards, providing pro-bono professional services, conducting workplace giving, and “working to develop new, innovative solutions to societal issues,” he said.

Deloitte employee Travis Plenderleith of Morristown paints a wall at Good Grief for 'Impact Day,' June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Deloitte employee Travis Plenderleith of Morristown paints a wall at Good Grief for ‘Impact Day,’ June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Deloitte has shown interest in establishing its state headquarters in Morristown, and the Big Four accounting firm invited Mayor Tim Dougherty and town Administrator Jillian Barrick to tag along on Friday, Dougherty said.

“It was an exciting day for me to learn more about Deloitte and how they impact communities. I’m looking forward to talking to them some more,” Dougherty said.

They did not discuss the headquarters, according to the mayor.

A developer is suing Dougherty and the town, contending they scuttled a deal to erect a 110,000-square-foot Deloitte office overlooking South Street. The mayor told MorristownGreen.com he welcomes Deloitte–at other locations in town more suitable for a large development.

Morristown Administrator Jillian Barrick and Mayor Tim Dougherty, third and fourth from left, with members of Good Grief and volunteers from Deloitte, June 7, 2019. Photo courtesy of the mayor’s office.

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