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So far TCR has created 40 blog entries.

Tips & Tools For Back To School

As the summer winds down and fall begins to arrive, transitions are happening all around us. Rejoining the rhythms of the school year represents big changes for all of us, but this time of year can present a particularly difficult set of adjustments for grieving children, teens, and parents.For parents and caregivers, sending a grieving child or teen back to school can bring up a wide range of emotions. Parents want their children to feel safe, and they may worry about their child stepping out the door and into a less sheltered, less understanding environment outside of the home.Children and teens may crave a return to the normalcy and safety provided by school routine, but they may also find that their peers often misunderstand the many conflicting feelings caused by their loss. School teachers, counselors, and administrators might find themselves needing to support a grieving student and not know where to turn. It can be a difficult time of year, and there are no easy answers. We would like to share a few important tips as we begin this transition back to school. Communicate with the school. Good communication between a grieving child or teen’s home and the school is an important aspect of a successful transition back to school. It is also important for grieving children and teens to know that adults at school know about the death and are available for support. Plan ahead with the student’s teachers and administrators in order to set clear guidelines for his or her support as the child or teen returns to school. Acknowledge the grief. If you are supporting a grieving child or teen, do not pretend as if nothing has happened or changed. Whether in [...]

By |August 23rd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

Thank You & Farewell Donna Smith Sharff

Donna Smith Sharff We would like to thank Donna Smith Sharff for her many years of dedicated service to The Children’s Room. From 2005 until 2010, Donna served as The Children’s Room’s Program Director. In this role, Donna managed, planned, and supervised our support group program and the support group program staff. At a time when The Children’s Room was still growing into its own as an independent nonprofit, her experience and skill as a licensed clinician were invaluable. As Program Director, Donna helped create and sustain a deeply ingrained culture of caring that continues to impact the children, teens, and families we serve, as well as our volunteers, staff, and board. In June 2010, Donna became The Children’s Room’s Executive Director. Her leadership helped The Children’s Room grow while never straying from its core values. In Donna’s seven years as Executive Director, The Children’s Room’s revenues have almost tripled, and we surpassed $1 million in annual revenue for the first time ever in 2016. Most importantly, this sustained growth under Donna’s leadership has allowed us to enhance and expand our programming. In recent years The Children’s Room launched our Family Night program, our Parenting While Grieving series, and our Teen Program, all of which have become key services; we have also been able to deepen our impact across Greater Boston through expanded community and school-based peer support groups, as well as grief education, training, and outreach offerings. Through these services, and thanks to Donna’s efforts as Executive Director, we at The Children’s Room will be able to impact the lives of many more children, teens, and families in the years to come. Donna helped attract and build an extraordinary board, which has [...]

By |August 14th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

The National Alliance For Grieving Children Annual Symposium 2017

Left to Right: TCR Staff Members Colleen Shannon, Kim Cayer, Deborah Rivlin, Christine Lambright, Laurie Moskowitz-Corrois, and Nancy Frumer Styron; TCR Board President Michael Nagle In June, six staff members from The Children’s Room and our Board President attended the 2017 National Alliance For Grieving Children Symposium in Richmond, Virginia. Held annually, this conference brings together professionals from across the United States and Canada who work in the field of grief support. At this year’s symposium, The Children’s Room presented or co-presented four workshops, allowing the staff to share and model best practices with our peers. TCR staff has been a regular contributor at this gathering, the largest of its kind in the country. Education Director Deborah Rivlin and Clinical Director Nancy Frumer Styron presented on Parenting While Grieving, TCR’s educational and support series for parents or caregivers who are raising children who had a parent die. During their lecture and discussion session at the symposium, Deborah and Nancy shared TCR’s unique eight-week model for helping parents and caregivers develop strategies and support for dealing with the challenges of parenting bereaved children while navigating their own grief. Left to Right: Alexandra Chery, Rachel Rodrigues, Colleen Shannon, and Shahi Smart, Sr. co-presented an interactive workshop called "Supporting Children and Families Impacted by Murder" Associate Program Director – Youth & Community Outreach, Colleen Shannon, co-presented an interactive workshop entitled “Supporting Children and Families Impacted by Murder.” This workshop was co-facilitated with our partners from the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute: Alexandra Chery, Rachel Rodrigues, and Shahi Smart, Sr. Together the four presenters provided participants with tools and resources for supporting children and families impacted by a homicide death. As the Louis D. Brown [...]

By |July 17th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

Thank You to the Community Endowment of Lexington, an Endowed Fund of the Foundation for MetroWest

The Children’s Room recently received a grant from the Community Endowment of Lexington, an Endowed Fund of the Foundation for MetroWest. These funds will be used specifically to continue operating a school-based peer support group for grieving teens on site at Lexington High School. The Children’s Room’s peer-based grief support group was piloted at Lexington High School in 2010; it now serves 20 bereaved teens regularly each school year. The funds awarded by the Community Endowment of Lexington will allow The Children’s Room to continue to provide this group at Lexington High School free of charge. TCR will continue to work closely with Lexington High School staff and administration in order to help facilitate and maintain the peer support group. The peer support group is co-facilitated by a clinical staff member from TCR and one of the mental health professionals from LHS. The Children’s Room’s Philanthropy Director, Kim Cayer, said, “We are thankful to the Community Endowment of Lexington for this gift that will support grieving teens at this important time in their development. Grieving teens have unique needs, and it is crucial that we are able to bring our support services to them at school, where they feel comfortable.” For a teen coping with the death of a parent or sibling, the school environment, in particular, can compound an already painful grief experience. For grieving teens, school often means isolation from peers, well-intentioned but ultimately hurtful interventions from adults, and a culture unaware of the impact of grief on young people. However, when given the opportunity to share and express their experiences, bereaved teens have been shown to have higher rates of resiliency, maturity, and empathy when compared to their non-bereaved peers. Please click [...]

By |June 16th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

Grieving on Father’s Day: What You Should Know and How You Can Help

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 18th. Reminders seem to be everywhere—in the greeting card aisles at the store, activities that people do with their dads, and friends and family making plans for the special day. This time of year can be hard for those who have lost their fathers, and for fathers who are grieving a child. Give yourself permission to spend the day in whatever way feels best to you. For some, that might mean participating in family traditions or sharing special memory foods. You could also create new rituals and find new ways to remember and celebrate the life of the person who died. If you're with a bereaved dad on Father’s Day, be sure to ask how he is doing; he may decline to talk, but offering to listen is an important gesture in showing your care. If you’re supporting a bereaved child or teen, make sure you ask directly what might be helpful for him or her. The child or teen may have clear ideas about what will make him or her most comfortable, but he or she may not be able to articulate it without being asked. To recognize that a child, teen, or adult may want to do something on that day as a way to remember is important. Sometimes the anticipation of the day can be harder than the day itself. It is often helpful to plan ahead for how you want to spend the day. Everyone’s grief is unique, and there is no right or wrong way to do this. Different family members may want to do something things individually and/or something together. Allow yourself the time and space to acknowledge whatever feelings you may have, and [...]

By |May 18th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

Congratulations to Colleen Shannon!

Congratulations to Colleen Shannon, our Associate Program Director - Youth & Community Outreach! Colleen was recently honored as an Emerging Leader by the National Association of Social Workers Massachusetts Chapter for her work in childhood bereavement. Colleen is a clinical social worker with over 12 years of experience working with children, adolescents, and adults coping with grief, loss, and bereavement. She has worked with grieving children and families in hospital, community-based, and bereavement camp settings. At The Children’s Room, Colleen developed and now oversees the center’s Teen Program and School and Community-Based programs. Colleen coordinates one of the family groups at our center and presents locally and nationally on topics pertaining to childhood bereavement. In addition to her work at The Children’s Room, Colleen is a faculty member in the postgraduate palliative care program at Smith College School of Social Work. She also works as a psychotherapist as part of a specialty group practice in Newton, Massachusetts, where she specializes in working with children, adolescents, and adults who have experienced parental and sibling bereavement, young adults coping with grief, and families experiencing significant losses and life transitions. We are so thankful to have Colleen's skills, passion for advocacy, and warm personality on our staff at The Children's Room. Congratulations, Colleen!

By |April 25th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

Steve & Maryanne Andrew: Investing in TCR’s Future

Two things are clear when Steve and Maryanne Andrew enter our center: they have a passion for our work here at The Children’s Room (TCR), and they love making a positive impact on the lives of others. By giving of their time as well as their financial support, the Andrews have given an extraordinary amount of themselves to TCR—yet they remain humble in service and focused on their goal: giving back. As longtime Arlington residents, the Andrews exemplify what it means to put community first. Finding connection The Andrews first learned about TCR when Steve was approached by a former board member to do some pro bono accounting work for the organization. That initial spark of connection from many years ago grew into a labor of love as they began to get a first-hand understanding of TCR’s impact. While Maryanne was working at Minuteman Career and Technical High School in Lexington, a tragedy occurred where one of the students had a seventh-grade sister who died due to an allergic reaction. Maryanne recommended the counselor contact The Children’s Room for advice and assistance. “TCR was a huge help,” Maryanne says, “They understood we needed help at that moment, and they provided it.” In 2001, while serving as assistant principal at Woburn High School, Maryanne put counselors in contact with TCR in order to start a cancer support group there. Meanwhile, Steve had heard many stories from people who had been positively impacted by their time at TCR, but when he attended a TCR Teen Troupe event at Belmont Hill School, he marveled at what he saw: “I was blown away by the young people who were able to go on stage and publicly acknowledge their grief [...]

By |April 24th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

Grieving on Mother’s Day

From early April, it seems like the card and gift business is about how to make Mom feel special on her big day. Children are asked to make cards or friends on Facebook begin sharing old photos early and often. If you are a mother who is grieving for a child who has died, or if you are a child who is grieving for his or her mother, the conversations and feelings around Mother’s Day can be overwhelming. First and foremost, it’s important to actually pause and recognize that Mother’s Day can bring up a variety of different feelings if you are grieving the death of someone important to you. Some of those feelings will conflict directly with feelings you had just minutes ago—and that’s okay. No matter how long it has been since the person in your life died, or what your relationship was like with her or him when she or he was alive, it is normal to have many conflicting feelings around your loss. It may be that you grieve not only the loss of that person’s physical presence in your life, but also the loss of the family as it was and future you envisioned for yourself. You may grieve saying things that were never able to be said, or hearing and seeing things that are not going to happen. Allow yourself the time and space to acknowledge whatever feelings you may have, and remember that experiencing happiness and moving forward in your life in no way diminishes the love you have for that person. Everyone experiences grief in a unique way. Some will choose to be surrounded by their families, and others will need to find a little more space [...]

By |April 14th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

Supporting Grieving Siblings: What You Should Know and How You Can Help

By Colleen Shannon, LICSW, Associate Program Director - Youth & Community Outreach, and Emily Carson Dashawetz, MFA, Communications & Marketing Coordinator Siblings are often among our first friends, rivals, and connections. They teach us and we teach them. Together we learn how to share, how to fight, and how to navigate the complexities of our families and the larger world. They play a pivotal role in our lives. They share our history; they often share our hopes for the future. It is no wonder that when a sibling dies, the surviving sibling or siblings are left to navigate a world that is forever changed. Their lives change, and often, so do their identities. It is no exaggeration to say that, when a sibling dies, a grieving sibling asks in many different ways, “Who am I without my brother or sister?” Our siblings are the people who are supposed to be with us for the long haul. We expect them at the breakfast table, kicking our feet when mom or dad aren’t looking. We plan for them to be at milestone events, like our birthdays, weddings, and graduations. They are the people with whom we were supposed to confide in, roll our eyes with when our parents are being ridiculous, and cry with when our family is struggling. When a sibling dies, all of these moments die with them. The loss of what could have been, and what we hoped would have been, can sting as deeply as the loss of our sibling’s life. The death of any important person in childhood can significantly impact a child or teen’s sense of self and being. For bereaved siblings, the death of a brother or sister has unique impacts on their lives [...]

By |March 27th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

Community in Action: Local Residents Malinda Dublin and Crissy Straub Coach Our 2017 Boston Marathon Team

Marathon Coaches Crissy Straub (left) and Malinda Dublin on a race weekend in Bermuda We're pleased to share that Lexington resident Crissy Straub and Arlington resident Malinda Dublin have volunteered their time to coach The Children’s Room’s 2017 Boston Marathon team. Crissy and Malinda are lifelong friends and running partners who have run a combined total of 49 marathons to date. In 2015, they decided to form their unique blend of friendship and running experience into a business, MC Coaching, which specifically coaches marathon runners who are running to benefit a charity. This is the second year in a row that MC Coaching has generously volunteered to train and motivate our Boston Marathon team as they fundraise and promote awareness for The Children’s Room. “Being able to coach The Children's Room ‘Miles and Memories’ Boston Marathon team is a truly meaningful, fulfilling way for me to support an organization that does such important and necessary work. It's a way to show others that running can go beyond personal gains. Running can literally help change people's lives, not only your own,” says Crissy. “For me to be able to help other people while doing an activity I love is a win-win situation. Running beyond oneself is what every ‘Miles and Memories’ team member does. They run for their goal to finish Boston Marathon and to raise money for an organization that helps so many people. It really is a way to pay it forward.” Malinda says, “I am motivated to coach the team because I know that the marathon fundraising dollars will allow TCR to continue the amazing work they do, and because I believe that a supported runner is happier, healthier and more successful runner [...]

By |March 15th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments