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So far TCR has created 41 blog entries.

Grieving on Mother’s Day

From early April until Mother’s Day is over, it seems every business is promoting gifts for mothers while dolling out advice about how to make Mom feel special on her big day. Friends on Facebook begin sharing old photos early and often, and of course they will be sure to post new family photos as they smile together on that special day in early May. But 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 them when they were alive, it is normal to have many conflicting feelings around your loss. It may be that you grieve not only the loss of their physical presence in your life,  but also the loss of the family and future you envisioned for yourself. You may grieve advice that was never able to be given, or the advice you were never able to give. 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 [...]

By |May 4th, 2016|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

Happy One Year TCR Anniversary, Nicole!

Photo by Theresa Johnson Herlihy Considering how diverse and demanding her role is, it’s hard to believe that there was ever a time at TCR without our office manager, Nicole Campbell. April 15, 2016, marked the completion of Nicole’s first year on staff, and we couldn’t be happier to celebrate all that she’s done in that time to help strengthen our organization. “It’s so wonderful having Nicole’s wide-ranging skills on our team,” said TCR Executive Director Donna Smith Sharff. “Nicole’s areas of responsibility span everything from information management and computer technology to purchasing, billing, and human resources. She is also responsible for managing the facilities maintenance and day-to-day upkeep of our center. We needed someone experienced, well-rounded, and willing to engage such a challenge with a warm smile. We are deeply thankful to have found that person in Nicole.” There’s no doubt Nicole’s diverse background has made her the well-rounded professional that she is. Nicole received a B.A. in sociology, with minors in psychology and English, at the University of Vermont, where she graduated in 2010. Following college, she served with AmeriCorp VISTA, as a program support specialist at the Stern Center for Language and Learning. With AmeriCorps she had the opportunity to receive monthly professional education with regard to nonprofit operations and leadership. She then worked for Work Opportunities Unlimited, as a career resource specialist, supporting clients with career planning, development, and retention. Most recently she worked as the facilities coordinator for Walnut Street Center, Inc., a nonprofit human service agency that provides comprehensive supports to adults with developmental disabilities in the Arlington, Cambridge, and Somerville area. At Walnut Street Center, Nicole managed the day-to-day operations of twelve facilities. When asked what drew [...]

By |April 26th, 2016|Categories: News|0 Comments

Martin Conneely: TCR’s Unsung Hero

Martin Conneely with TCR Executive Director Donna Smith Sharff In honor of National Volunteer Week 2016, we're proud and grateful to share Martin Conneely's story with you! The Consummate Family Man Martin Conneely is the ultimate hometown man. He was born and raised in Arlington, and he has been deeply appreciative of Arlington’s unique sense of community his entire life. Shortly after high school he married his wife of 20 years, Kerri, who was also born and raised in Arlington. It’s easy to see that she, along with their four daughters, provide the warm light you notice right away in Marty’s eyes when you meet him. In 1991, he founded his own local company, Conneely Contracting Inc. (CCI), following in the footsteps of his mentor and father who owned and operated a local roofing company. Everything felt rooted, settled, and secure—until the news came. A Devastating Diagnosis In 1998, shortly after the birth of the first of his four daughters, Marty was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a cancer found in the sinuses. He was only 25 years old. Rather than allow the diagnosis to stop him in his tracks, he leaned on the support of family and friends, determined to keep an upbeat attitude. He endured two years of intense treatment, including the setbacks of many surgeries that simply weren’t successful. After a seemingly endless tide of surgeries and worry, he received a clean bill of health—and wasted no time giving back to the community he loved so much. “One of the lucky ones”: The gift of gratitude In the spring of 2004, with a renewed sense of appreciation for his family, friends, and the Arlington community, Marty made a huge commitment. He decided [...]

By |April 11th, 2016|Categories: News|0 Comments

TCR Staff Presents NAGC Webinar

On Tuesday, March 15, TCR's Colleen Shannon and Nancy Frumer Styron, along with our partners from the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, Rachel Rodrigues and Alexandra A. Chery, presented a webinar entitled "Providing Culturally Responsive Grief Support to Children and Adolescents,” hosted by the National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC). These four care providers, from diverse backgrounds, talked openly and thoughtfully about what it means, as individuals and as organizations, to bring cultural sensitivity and cultural awareness to our work in grief support. One of the program's biggest takeaways? Before all else, we must first build self-reflection into the very fabric of our work and how we provide services. As individuals and as agencies, we must first look inward to understand the influences that shape our beliefs, behaviors, values, attitudes, and traditions. We need to understand the factors that shape our worldview, the many cultures we come from, as well as those that influence how the world views us. Self-reflection is not just a first or one-time step. Self-reflection is an ongoing process that requires continual adjustment and refinement as we learn more and ask more questions and receive new information. As Colleen noted, "Just as grieving is a cyclical process, being culturally responsive can be seen as an ongoing cycle of self-reflection and growth." As Alexandra said, we must continually "tune in to our comfort and discomfort" when we're working with others we identify as culturally different than us. We must be ever mindful of our own cultural biases and interests that come to bear on our work. A crucial piece is being aware of the language we use and a willingness to change that language in an ongoing way. It is also important to recognize when [...]

By |March 30th, 2016|Categories: News|0 Comments

Meet Our Marathon Team: Part 2

We are so proud of our team of Boston Marathon runners, each of whom has a unique story full of personal connections to TCR and strong motivations for running. We hope you took some time to read about the other three members of this year’s marathon team: Kerri Conneely, John Fleming, and Deana Hickey. Meanwhile, we are proud to introduce you to the rest of our team: Lauren Ruffing, John Shea, and Cat Steckbeck. Lauren Ruffing We’re thrilled to have Lauren Ruffing on our marathon team once again this year. Lauren, a resident of North Attleboro, is running her second Boston Marathon on behalf of TCR. We are deeply grateful to her for taking on this commitment of time and energy on our behalf for a second time. Lauren’s relationship with TCR began in 2014, when her brother Rich joined the TCR marathon team to run in memory of their mother, Tricia. Lauren ran the marathon for us the following year, and she is once again running in memory of her mother. “I’m running my second Boston Marathon to thank her,” Lauren said. “On any run I want to quit, I remind myself that she never gave up, not once, and she did that for me and for her family.” John Shea John Shea, a resident of Needham, is running his first Boston Marathon to support TCR, but he is no stranger to this challenge—the 2016 Boston Marathon represents John’s thirteenth marathon overall! In addition to running the Boston Marathon six times, he’s also run the Chicago Marathon twice, the New York Marathon three times, and the Marine Corps Marathon once. His running experience and his passion are assets to our team. John’s relationship with TCR began in [...]

By |March 8th, 2016|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

Meet Our Marathon Team: Part 1

We are so proud of our team of Boston Marathon runners, each of whom has a unique story full of personal connections to TCR and strong motivations for running. In order to honor their efforts, we're going to be introducing our team members 3 at a time. We hope you'll check back soon to learn more about Lauren Ruffing, John Shea, and Cat Steckbeck. Meanwhile, we are proud to introduce you to Kerri Conneely, John Fleming, and Deana Hickey. Kerri Conneely Arlington native and resident Kerri Conneely has been a longtime friend and supporter of TCR. Kerri’s husband, Marty, has run the Boston Marathon for TCR, but this year, it’s Kerri who has so generously agreed to be a member of our team. Kerri’s relationship with TCR began in 2005, when Marty decided to run the Boston Marathon to support a local charity. He had received a clean bill of health after two years in treatment for cancer and wanted to give back to the community. The Conneelys were introduced to TCR by local realtor, Steve McKenna, and as soon as they came to our center, Kerri knew that this was their cause. “TCR was a place we knew we wanted to help prosper, to continue their journey for supporting grieving children," said Kerri. “This year I am running this Boston Marathon because I understand that TCR is a crucial resource for families who were not as lucky as we were to survive an encounter with cancer. I am also running in memory of several of my family members and friends who have died,” she said. “I hope to raise $7,500 and a great deal of awareness for this organization and the vital work it does for the children and [...]

By |February 24th, 2016|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

Meet Christine Lambright, TCR’s Youth and Community Outreach Coordinator

We are proud to introduce Christine Lambright, MA, MAAT, as the newest member of our program staff. As TCR’s Youth and Community Outreach Coordinator, Christine helps manage the development of our community-based and youth programming and coordinates and facilitates peer support groups. “It’s absolutely wonderful having Christine on our team,” said Executive Director Donna Smith Sharff. “Her training and experience are helping us to deepen our existing partnerships with organizations such as the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute and to enhance and expand our Teen Program.” In her first year, Christine has played an integral role in implementing TCR’s new Teen Program, which dramatically expanded in 2015 thanks to a generous gift from New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft. “With Christine’s help, we have been able to launch our Teen Program with an incredible amount of positive energy,” said Smith Sharff. “We look forward to her ongoing support being a key component of the program’s growth and continued success.” When asked about the Teen Program, Christine smiled. “Grieving teens face unique challenges that require dedicated support,” she said. “I love facilitating that support through TCR programs, activities, and special events that are designed just for them. I love helping teens practice self-reflection, develop relationships with peers who share similar experiences, and learn skills that will help them as they grow and mature.” As a mental health clinician deeply committed to working with families and utilizing the arts, Christine has found her new role to be a natural fit. “For several years I volunteered at Ronald McDonald House in Greenville, North Carolina, and then I volunteered at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut, leading weekly arts-based sessions for pediatric patients,” she said. “I see my work [...]

By |January 20th, 2016|Categories: News|0 Comments

Welcoming Two New Board Members

We are extremely proud to welcome two new members to our Board of Directors: Jenny Carlson-Pietraszek, a resident of Dedham, and Pearl Riney, M.D., a resident of Lexington. Jenny currently works as an educator at the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham. She has taught and presented on various topics at local, national, and international educational conferences. In 2013, she cofounded the Alliance of White Anti-Racist Educators (AWARE) at Nobles. She also co-chairs the Board Diversity and Inclusiveness Committees at the Tenacre Country Day School, where she has served as a trustee since 2012. Jenny’s relationship with TCR began in 2009, when she and her daughters began attending TCR’s peer support groups. “Members of the club nobody wants to join need a great deal of support,” she said. “I want to do what I can to ensure that families can receive the types of support my daughters and I benefited from when we were living under the dark cloud of grief.” Dr. Riney practices medicine as a general pediatrician at West Cambridge Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine and at Mount Auburn Hospital. As a general pediatrician, she regularly hosts medical students so that they can gain primary care experience in her office. She has maintained a teaching role at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston since 2002. Pearl has also served on the boards of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and LexFUN, a family network in Lexington. Pearl first became involved with TCR eight years ago, when she began to refer patients and their families to TCR. “I am looking forward to using my professional network to help expand TCR services to underserved communities and also to raise awareness about TCR in the pediatric [...]

By |January 19th, 2016|Categories: Board of Directors, News|0 Comments

Arlington Hockey Club Skate-a-Thon Raises Over $15,000 For TCR

Since 2011, the Arlington Hockey Club has hosted an annual Skate-a-Thon to raise funds for The Children’s Room in connection with our Annual Memories Walk. This fall, the AHC exceeded its $15,000 fundraising goal by raising an impressive $15,152; that brings AHC’s fundraising total to over $55,000 over the past four years. This year’s event had nearly 100 participants from ages 5 to 15 who skated laps for donations. From the high school players to the youngest players who participated, there were smiles and laughter as these young men and women learned the value of being a part of something bigger than themselves and what it means to make a difference in someone’s life. The funds raised by the Skate-a-Thon will enable TCR to enhance and expand grief support services, including its newest program, designed exclusively to meet the needs of grieving teens. The TCR Teen Program received its initial funding through a major gift from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. To read an Arlington Advocate article about the Skate-a-Thon, please click here. We also invite you to sign up for our email updates, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter to learn more about our work.  

By |January 6th, 2016|Categories: News|0 Comments

December 1: A Day To Give

What is #GivingTuesday? We have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Now there is a global day dedicated to giving back: #GivingTuesday. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.   How can I help The Children’s Room on December 1? Donate We need your help! The Children’s Room relies on donations from individuals and foundations in order to serve our families. By asking friends of TCR to spread the word about #GivingTuesday, we hope to gain even more supporters who will help sustain and strengthen our programs for grieving children, teens, and families. Please consider donating to The Children’s Room on #GivingTuesday and telling your friends and family why you give back. Donate Support Us On Social Media Join us on Facebook and Twitter and tell us why you support TCR. Posting about your donation on social media will help others learn about the services available at TCR – and you might inspire others to give back, too! Take a photo of yourself with one of these signs and share it with your friends and followers. Just click below to download a sign and take your #unselfie! “I give because…” “I give to support grieving children and teens because…” “I’m giving in memory of” “I’m giving in honor of” Don't forget to tag us! Adults can feel free to show their faces, but we ask that children in photos remain anonymous. One idea would be for an adult to take a photo of just the child’s hands holding their sign. Tell your friends and family about The Children’s Room and the need for grief support for children and families. [...]

By |November 27th, 2015|Categories: Events, News|0 Comments