Welcoming Three New Board Members

We are pleased to announce that The Children’s Room has appointed three new members to our Board of Directors: Melinda Brown, Jennifer O'Brien, and Michelle Perez Vichot “Our three new board members bring a wealth of professional experience and expertise in the fields of finance, legal, marketing, fundraising, clinical social work, and organizational effectiveness,” said The Children’s Room’s Board President, Michael Nagle. “We are proud to welcome each of them to our Board, and confident that they will help us advance our work serving grieving children, teens, and families.” Melinda Brown Melinda is an attorney with West Hill Technology Counsel with a focus on representing privately-held technology companies She served for over 20 years as the General Counsel and chief legal officer of public and private technology companies, including a non-profit research and development laboratory. In that capacity, Melinda advised the senior leadership teams and boards of directors of these companies in a wide range of legal areas including governance, commercial transactions, and intellectual property matters. Melinda shares, "The Children's Room is dedicated to helping families following the tragedy of the loss of a child or parent. I am honored to support this organization in whatever way I can, and to enable it to continue its important and unique mission."     © Jules Ko Photography Jennifer O'Brien After many years as a donor, Jennifer came towards The Children’s Room in 2016 for the Parenting While Grieving program following the death of her husband, Webster, from cancer in 2015. Her two teenage children are also very familiar with The Children’s Room and have friends who have also been supported. Jennifer and her family have lived in Arlington since 2001. She has an MBA from Harvard Business [...]

By |November 7th, 2018|Categories: Board of Directors, News|Tags: |0 Comments

Tufts Workshop: The Value of Therapeutic Space Planning

By Laurie Moskowitz-Corrois, LMHC, REAT "Have you ever wondered why you “feel” more comfortable in certain environments? Is it the people in the space? Is it an aesthetic? The type of work that’s being done? Perhaps the music? Maybe it’s the lighting, the colors, the furniture placement, the art on the walls, or could it be our own energy and what we bring to the space? My response would be Yes!" All of this and more help to support an environment and tap into its inherent potential, it’s therapeutic nature. Therapeutic space could be defined simply as space designed and created with intention and purpose, an environment that supports the well being of those utilizing the space. Each room at TCR has been thoughtfully and carefully developed to support and enhance the personal and collective experience of our children, teens, and families. As the largest bereavement center in the northeast, The Children’s Room is recognized by many as a model in the community, reflecting the importance and value of therapeutic space planning. Creating a warm, inviting, grounded space begins with a trust of the space itself, a “felt sense” for the energy in the space. The concept of Therapeutic Space Planning is based on an understanding of valuing and respecting the environment, being aware of the purpose of the space, and then, with intention, supporting it to its full potential. In turn, the space reflects back the feeling of purpose, care, and the relationship it offers to those of us using and experiencing it. Oftentimes, the energy experienced in interior space is subliminal, more of a “felt-sense” than a visual one. Sometimes it can be misunderstood as an environment that is simply “organized” or “well designed.” However, there is an important [...]

By |August 24th, 2018|Categories: Art, News, Newsletter, Resources|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

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. [...]

By |August 23rd, 2018|Categories: News, Newsletter, Resources|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Meet Our 2018 “Miles & Memories” Boston 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. In order to honor their efforts, we’re going to introduce our team members in two groups. We are proud to share Paudie O'Connor, John Shea, Lindsay Shelton and Michele Walters stories. Paudie O'Connor Paudie O'Connor will be running in memory of his son, Harry, who was eight years old when he died in the summer of 2017. Paudie, his wife, and children, moved to Sudbury, MA from Ireland, three years ago. They are currently being served in our peer support groups and by our Teen Program. Paudie shares, "As a family we have found a resource to help us through this very difficult time. We stumbled across The Children’s Room who provide an amazing service for families in our situation where you can simply go to talk or hang out. Charlie and Ellen, our teenagers, attend a weekly teen group and they find it very useful. Joe, our 11 year old, attends every second Sunday with all of us." John Shea John Shea will be running the marathon for the third year in a row, in memory of his wife, Diane, and in honor of his two daughters, Maeve and Luisa. John's relationship with TCR began in 2013, when he and his two daughters began attending TCR's peer support groups after the death of his wife, Diane. John shares "We are grateful for our family and friends and The Children's Room for helping us learn to live each day to the fullest, to help us get through some challenging days, and most of all for helping us [...]

By |April 2nd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

Offering Education & Support: Our Parenting While Grieving Series

When a spouse or partner dies, the surviving parent is trying to navigate his or her own grief, while at the same time raise children and teens who are also grieving. Research has consistently shown that the better a surviving parent or caregiver is able to cope with the death, the better the child or teen will cope as well. The Children’s Room is dedicated to supporting parents/caregivers by providing an opportunity for them to acquire the parenting tools they need to help the children or teens grieve and so that all can better integrate the death into their lives over time. One of the ways this is done is through Parenting While Grieving: Supporting Children After the Death of a Parent. This eight-week series began in 2012 and has quickly developed into one of our core programs. Now offered twice a year in the fall and spring, the series is designed to help provide both education and support for parents or caregivers when a child’s parent has died. It is designed for parents and caregivers who want to better understand the impact of grief on their child or teen, and provides insight and practical strategies for handling the unique and difficult parenting challenges that inevitably arise as a child or teen grieves a parent who has died. During the series, parents and caregivers are able to learn essential parenting skills such as listening, setting limits, and communication. They are also able to hone these skills at home and share feedback at the next group. Being the parent or caregiver for a grieving child or teen who has had a parent die can feel challenging, like entering new territory for the whole family. “I really [...]

By |February 28th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

Constructing Meaning: TCR Teen Metals Workshop

On March 10th, 17 teens enjoyed the opportunity to create personal and unique keepsakes at the TCR Teen Metals Workshop. Beginning with several introductory group activities, everyone had a chance to relax and make connections before beginning the metals work. They later commented on the comfortable atmosphere created during Teen Program events, with one saying "They are so fun and welcoming and a great place to be!" Local artisan Karenna Maraj then walked the group through demonstrations of a variety of metals techniques. She invited them to explore the stations set up between the two floors and experiment with the materials offered. The participants were then given time to work independently while continuing to talk with one another, sharing ideas and casual conversations. The pendants, key chains, money clips, bracelets, and mixed-media pieces produced during the workshop were as unique as the individuals who created them and the memories that they represented. Some brought in photos of their person who had died and preserved them within epoxy or collage. Others focused on combining techniques to capture initials, names, or phrases. The group was also offered a unique approach of placing a metallic, shimmery coat over top of words, so that their pieces held a private meaning belonging entirely to them. As a collective closing, participants shared about the process of creating their metals pieces and what they each represented. The opportunity was also given for each to identify what they were most taking away most from the afternoon. The teens expressed appreciation for having been given "the freedom to be creative." One shared "I just really loved that I could do what I wanted in terms of creating and that there were so many options." Many [...]

By |February 28th, 2018|Categories: News|0 Comments

Meet Our 2018 “Miles & Memories” Boston 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 introduce our team members in two groups. We hope you’ll check back soon to learn more about Paudie O’Connor, John Shea, and Lindsay Shelton. Meanwhile, we are proud to introduce you to Becca Braun, Meghan Murphy, and Tim O’Brien. Becca Braun Becca Braun runs in memory of her husband, John, who died in a running accident in 2010. At the time of John’s death, their children were eight and two years old. They were living in Alaska then, but a visit to the East Coast connected her to The Children’s Room through our Parenting While Grieving series. Becca shares, “The year after John died, we came east for several months and I participated in a class at The Children's Room called Parenting While Grieving. Sitting in a room with a bunch of bewildered widowed parents– my people! –was healing. The stories, the questions, the knowing nods, laughs and tears we shared made me feel less lonely and apart, gave me new strategies, helped me breathe again.” Rebecca’s daughter later participated in one of our school-based peer support groups. Rebecca shares, “I know it strengthened her.” Meghan Murphy Meghan Murphy is a resident of Winthrop who has a unique perspective on our work and our mission. She is a social worker who runs on our team in order to honor the grieving children she encountered during her six years working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. Meghan also runs to express gratitude for the support that her fellow social workers [...]

By |February 26th, 2018|Categories: News|0 Comments

A Taste of Togetherness: TCR Teen Culinary Day at Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

On December 9th, 13 teens gathered to experience a special TCR Teen Culinary Day rooted in a curiosity and shared passion for food and flavor. The group first met together at TCR, enjoying lunch, a food-based icebreaker, and an Opening Circle to recognize shared experiences.  A participant shared afterwards that "[It was] a really fun way to meet other teens." The group then traveled together to Christopher Kimball's Milk Street, located in downtown Boston. The excitement of the teens as they first entered 177 Milk Street was audible, as they whispered comments such as "Wow!...Oh my gosh, look, this is amazing - a real TV studio... See, there's the director's chair!" The kitchen was in fact a functioning studio, serving as a home for Milk Street Television, Milk Street Radio, a magazine publication, and a cooking school. The lightly drifting snow set a seasonably-appropriate backdrop, while delicious smells of the recipes demonstrated by the hosting chef—"Rosie" (Rosemary) Gill—filled the warm kitchen. The teens then had the opportunity to work closely together in small teams, trying their hand at mixing, rolling, and cooking yogurt flatbreads in a cast iron skillet and flavoring them with a variety of self-prepared herbed butters. While alternating roles, the teens were invited to make their rounds to the other stovetop stations, taste-testing and savoring one another's creations. The teens also observed a culinary demonstration of tahini brownies, most of them tasting this unique ingredient for the first time. The whole group settled down together to enjoy a family-style meal of lemon grass-coconut chicken or tofu, paired alongside their flavored flatbreads and the brownies. As a meaningful addition to the event, the teens had been invited to each bring and share about a "memory recipe" or image of a food connected to their person who died. [...]

By |January 23rd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

Welcoming Our New Executive Director, Liz Cohen

We are excited to share that Liz Cohen is the new Executive Director for The Children’s Room. Liz brings with her a more than 20-year career dedicated to communities without a voice and those dealing with trauma and loss, and a successful track record as a nonprofit executive director. She has extensive fundraising experience and is known for her ability to collaborate, bring people with diverse perspectives together, and create sustainable impact. Most recently, Liz served as a Senior Development Officer for Jewish Family & Children’s Services (JF&CS). Prior to joining JF&CS, Liz was the Executive Director for Families First Parenting Programs where she oversaw the mission, vision, and strategic growth of the organization. When she joined in 2012 Liz was tasked with rebuilding the organization and re-engaging the 18-member Board. In addition to providing strategic leadership, Liz has extensive experience overseeing long term and day-to-day operations. Serving in many leadership roles has given Liz the opportunity to sharpen her skill set and to serve as a mentor to others. She is known for her professionalism and her steadfast commitment to children, teens, and families. She is also recognized for her strengths in public speaking and community education. Liz completed a Master’s of Public Health at Boston University School of Public Health and did her undergraduate work in clinical psychology and child development at Tufts University. Liz currently resides in Arlington. Liz shared, “It is with joy and excitement that I accept this new role! I am thrilled to be working with the staff and Board in this next phase of The Children's Room." We are particularly excited about Liz’s passion for service, and her dedication to and enthusiasm for working with families in need. Liz’s [...]

By |January 12th, 2018|Categories: News|0 Comments

A Light in the Darkness: On Grieving in the Winter

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” —Desmond Tutu It is often acknowledged that the holiday season can add many logistical and emotional burdens for those who are grieving. Less often acknowledged are the shifts in weather and light that happen as winter arrives and progresses. Here in New England, the days become not only colder, but also shorter and much darker, and these changes may have an effect on our mood, our behavior, and how we care for ourselves and our families as we grieve. Acknowledge the darkness. Though winter can place many extra demands on us, it is important to remember that winter, too, has its place in the course of seasons, and darkness has its place in relationship to light. Similarly, when feeling overwhelmed, pausing to acknowledge that your grief may feel difficult to manage at this time of year can be an important first step toward clarifying how you might cope with the season. Taking time to understand that the season’s changes may be affecting you, and naming the ways that it might be doing so, can help you start to identify the best ways of supporting yourself and your family. Make time for self-care. Making time for your own needs and self-care is especially important in winter. It may seem too difficult or unrealistic to put your own needs first, but neglecting to make self-care a regular part of your daily routine can compound stress and negativity. Like grief, self-care is unique to each individual, but a few examples may include: adjusting your diet and exercise routines to take the best possible care of your physical body taking proper rest, when needed, [...]

By |December 5th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments