The Children’s Room was founded by an impassioned group of caregivers who, in 1993, received training from the renowned Oregon-based Dougy Center for Grieving Children. The name “The Children’s Room” was chosen because services were initially provided in a single room at Hospice West in Waltham, Massachusetts.
By 1995, work began on making The Children’s Room a nonprofit organization, and in April 1999 The Children’s Room opened as an independent 501(c)(3) with eight experienced volunteers serving seven families out of a church basement. Within just one year, the number of people served quadrupled. In the fall of 2004, The Children’s Room established a permanent center in an inviting Victorian home in Arlington, Massachusetts which was renovated in 2013 to expand space for our programs.
Co-founder of The Children’s Room, Phyllis Silverman, was the co-principal investigator and project director of the Harvard Medical School/MGH Child Bereavement Study, which looked at children grieving the death of a parent within their social and family systems. Phyllis Silverman’s work contributed significantly to the underpinning philosophy of The Children’s Room bereavement model in understanding and assisting grieving children, teens, and adults by developing the concept of “continuing bonds.” She along with co-founders Jean Marchant and Judy Oliver remained close advisors to the organization.
The Children’s Room now serves almost 900 people annually through a variety of programming with revenues increasing from $30,000 in 1993 to $1.2 million in 2020, making it the leading independent nonprofit child bereavement center in Massachusetts, meeting critical needs in communities throughout eastern Massachusetts.