Welcoming Four New Board Members

We are pleased to announce that The Children’s Room has appointed four new members to our Board of Directors: Jonathan DeVito, Tim Gleason, Katie Gorczyca, and Courtney Silva. “Our four new board members bring a wealth of professional experience and expertise in the fields of bereavement, information technology, 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 I am confident that they will help us advance our work serving grieving children, teens, and families.” Jonathan DeVito Jonathan DeVito, AS, is the director of DeVito Funeral Home in Arlington. Jonathan is a 2011 graduate of New England Institute of Mortuary Science in Newton. On December 18, 2012, he was sworn in as a Licensed Funeral Director by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers. Jonathan has been involved with The Children’s Room for a decade in various capacities of support ranging from the sponsorship of our annual Memories Walk to helping to host grief support workshops for the community. He shares, “I’m thrilled to join the Board so I can be more involved in the success of The Children’s Room and help further its community involvement.” In addition to his service at The Children’s Room, Jonathan was named a corporator of the Arlington Boys & Girls Club in 2011, and he continues to assist the Club with fundraising efforts and special events. Raised in Arlington, he currently resides in Lexington with his wife, May, and son Caleb. Tim Gleason Tim Gleason works as a technical architect for Harvard University Information Technology, where he has been employed for the past twenty-six years. During that time, he has been engaged [...]

By |December 4th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

The Straub Family: Committed to Hope

The Straub Family: Crissy, Solia, Sawyer, Saydee, and Ted Finding Connection To say that Crissy Straub loves to run is a vast understatement. Running is her passion. Ten years ago, while on an average day’s run with her husband, Ted, our “Lion Heart Yellow” colored Victorian house caught her eye. “Looking up at the house we saw a sign that said The Children’s Room,” she says. “Figuring it was a place for kids to play, I told Ted I was going to check it out the following week to see if they needed any volunteers. Little did we know that The Children’s Room was much, much more than a place to play.” Crissy followed up by coming for a visit and a tour, and, like so many who enter our doors, she felt a connection. In her words, “I was immediately drawn to the warmth, comfort, and peace I felt when I walked in.” She knew right away that she and Ted wanted to help. Sharing Our Vision After learning about our mission, vision, and impact, Crissy and Ted came to understand what a vital community resource The Children’s Room is as a safe place to grieve with others who share similar experiences. They also saw the uniqueness of the programs offered to both families and to our larger community. In 2010, they made their first long-term financial commitment to The Children’s Room, committing to becoming Circle Donors, through a five-year pledge because, as Ted shared, they believed deeply that “a place like The Children’s Room should always be around and exist as a resource for all people who need it.” Putting Their Feet on the Ground Crissy and Ted have maintained a [...]

By |December 4th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

Holding on to HOPE: Honoring National Children’s Grief Awareness Day 2017

Thursday, November 16th, was National Children’s Grief Awareness Day! We were proud to wear blue to show our support and to connect with the community to raise awareness of the unique needs of grieving children and teens. Leading up to the event, we asked our TCR community to share their thoughts on the importance of grief awareness and support. Their beautiful handwritten reflections were written on blue hearts. Once completed, every two hearts were joined together as a butterfly, symbolizing the integration of grief and awareness and the changes that occur as we support each other with care and understanding. Ultimately, all of the messages we received were gathered and assembled by our incredible interns into one big, beautiful display. Here in Arlington, TCR program staff and interns hosted activities at Ottoson Middle School and Arlington High School. We also hosted activities at Lexington High School, John Glenn Middle School in Bedford, Jordan Boys & Girls Club in Chelsea, and Blue Hills Boys & Girls Club in Dorchester. At the Yawkey Boys & Girls Club in Roxbury, TCR partnered with the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute to sponsor the activity. TCR staff and interns hosted CGAD outreach and awareness activities at 7 different schools and community centers throughout Greater Boston. As part of these activities, children and teens were invited to honor their grief by placing a blue dot on a large piece of artwork in order to represent a person in their life who died. They were also invited to share their memories and reflections on blue hearts or strips of ribbon. The response was overwhelming! On the evening of November 16th, as part of honoring Children’s Grief Awareness Day, TCR [...]

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

Grief During The Holidays: Tips & Tools To Help You Through

If you celebrate, Thanksgiving Day may be a special moment of the year dedicated to celebrating and acknowledging our gratitude. Thanksgiving can be an especially complicated and difficult time for those who are grieving. For some, Thanksgiving ushers in the beginning of a holiday season that can feel relentless in the way it impacts our emotions. For so many, Thanksgiving Day brings an added pressure not only to celebrate, but also to feel happy and grateful. This pressure can become overwhelming at times, especially when combined with so many other aspects of the day that can highlight the absence of a person in our life who has died. Thanksgiving foods, decorations, and traditions can be comforting, but they can also be deeply triggering to those grieving a death. With so many traditions and expectations surrounding Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season, the loss of an important person in your life may be felt even more intensely. It’s important to give ourselves permission to do what feels right for ourselves and our families. While it’s good to make plans for coping with grief during this time of year, we also need to remember to be flexible and take care of ourselves. Grief is unique for every individual, and you are the expert on your own grief and what feels right for you. Here are some tips on how you can help take care of yourself and those close to you during Thanksgiving and during the holiday season to come. Acknowledge that the holidays may be different this year Different holiday activities, decorations, and foods may remind you of the person who died and how things will be different without them. Acknowledging your feelings about the holidays [...]

By |November 14th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

Training the Next Generation: Welcoming Our 2017–18 Interns

Pictured left to right: Jessie Mao, Lyndis Clarke, Molly Meszaros, Erin Sior, Miranda Hays, Rose Willow Hegfield, and Amanda Moffit As another program year begins, The Children’s Room welcomes a new group of graduate and undergraduate interns to their training program. This year, The Children’s Room will provide intensive professional training and supervision to seven interns for the entire school year. The interns come from several schools and represent different disciplines. Our Program Interns assist in facilitating multiple peer support groups, new family orientations, and Family nights, and our graduate interns also help facilitate our Parenting While Grieving series, Teen Program events, do intakes on families seeking TCR services, and provide information and referrals to callers in need of grief support. As an integral part of their clinical education and training, TCR interns also take part in a weekly seminar, providing an opportunity for didactic as well as experiential learning. TCR’s Program Staff will lead interns in covering topics such as child development and grief, bereavement theory, cultural diversity, religion and spirituality, and expressive arts. The Children’s Room has been an intern placement for over a decade, first under the leadership of Colleen Shannon. The Internship Program has experienced impressive growth and professional development over the past few years in particular. In 2013, Nancy Frumer Styron, JD, PsyD, joined our staff as Clinical Director. Her decades of clinical experience and her leadership have paved the way for the growth and enhancement of a program that finds a true balance between hands-on experience and academic study. As word has spread among students and faculty, The Children’s Room has become a well-respected and desirable intern site. Because of this, students interested in our Internship Program [...]

By |October 26th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

Welcome, Shamika Naidu!

We are proud to introduce Shamika Naidu as our new Administrative Assistant. Working with Nicole Christensen, Shamika helps manage the day-to-day operations and administrative functions of our organization. Shamika has a hand in a wide variety of The Children’s Room’s internal and external operations each day. From information management and technology to billing, human resources, and facilities, she is a skilled administrator who helps to ensure that all aspects of The Children’s Room run smoothly. “It is wonderful having Shamika on our team,” said Nancy Frumer Styron, TCR Clinical Director and Interim Executive Director. “Not only does Shamika’s work have a direct impact on so many aspects of our services and our philanthropy, her warmth and positive energy are assets to us and to those we serve.” Shamika comes to The Children’s Room with a B.A. in Political Science from Syracuse University with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. She also brings with her a deep love of and commitment to service. She has volunteered for organizations such as Save Darfur and Love 146. Most recently, with a group of peers, she recently incorporated a nonprofit called Starts With A Smile, which focuses on promoting dental/oral hygiene in disadvantaged communities, predominantly within Massachusetts. When Shamika pursued work after graduating from Syracuse, she knew that she wanted the ability to contribute to work that she believed was imperative. She found it at The Children’s Room. “The extraordinary focus of TCR is what drew me in. Working in this environment takes a level of attentiveness that I wanted to immerse myself in,” she said. “I value what TCR serves to achieve and I admire the authenticity and passion that resonates within all of the staff and board [...]

By |September 27th, 2017|Categories: News|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

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