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, Former 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 [...]

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

Welcoming Two New Board Members: Arlington Residents Sue Costello and Maureen Powers

We are pleased to announce that Sue Costello, LICSW, and Maureen Powers, both residents of Arlington, have been appointed to our Board of Directors. “Sue and Maureen bring to our board a wealth of professional experience and expertise in the fields of social work and human resources,” said The Children’s Room’s Philanthropy Director Kim Cayer. “We are proud to welcome Sue and Maureen to our board, and I am confident that they will help us advance our work serving grieving children, teens, and families.” Sue Costello, LICSW Sue is a clinical social worker at the Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Program, Training and Access Project (TAP). In her role, Sue provides training and consultation to Boston Public Schools on strengthening social-emotional supports and behavioral health systems and protocols. Prior to working at Children’s Hospital, Sue was a home-based clinician with Family Services of Greater Boston. Sue first became involved with The Children’s Room fifteen years ago, following the death of her husband. She and her two sons received support in our biweekly peer support groups for three years. “The Children’s Room helped me and my sons tremendously while we were grieving the death of my husband,” Sue says. “I can’t imagine getting through that very painful period without the support of The Children’s Room and its amazing staff and volunteers. I am so proud the way that Arlington’s families and businesses have supported The Children’s Room over the years. “ In addition to being a new Board member at The Children’s Room, Sue is also a member of First Parish Arlington Unitarian Universalist church, where she serves on the Racial Justice Coordinating Committee. Maureen Powers Maureen first became involved with The Children’s Room [...]

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

Meet Our 2017 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. We hope you took some time to read about the other four members of this year’s marathon team: Alex Ebling, John Fleming, Jared Huber, and Tim O’Brien. Now we are proud to introduce you to the rest of our team: James O’Leary, Shane Richardson, John Shea, and Antonio Willis-Berry. James O’Leary James is a Harvard resident who has a deeply personal connection to our mission: his mother died in 1992 while James was still in high school. As James notes, “I vividly recall my feelings when it was announced over the PA system at my high school. The first few weeks were a blur. I understood what happened; however, there were still many questions and feelings which I did not clearly understand or clearly verbalize.” Today, James joins our Boston Marathon team in order to run in memory of his mom and in honor of his dad. “I had a good family circle. I had a good group of friends from church. But it wasn’t until I was invited to a high school support group of kids who had lost a parent that I began to feel safe and to vocalize the feelings which I was experiencing about my mother’s death,” James says. “This is why I’ve chosen to run the Boston Marathon for TCR. Running the Boston Marathon for The Children’s Room will provide more children a safe, supportive community so no child, teen, or family has to grieve alone.” Shane Richardson Shane, a resident of Cary, North Carolina, is an experienced marathoner—this will be his fifth marathon! However, [...]

By |February 10th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

A New Partnership Begins: Connecting With The Yawkey Boys & Girls Club

TCR intern Kimberly Hula, TCR staff member Colleen Shannon, Rachel Rodrigues of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, and Reverend Wayne Daley of the Yawkey Boys & Girls Club at our opening event on Children's Grief Awareness Day The Children’s Room is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Yawkey Boys and Girls Club in Roxbury Massachusetts and the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute (LDBPI) that began in October of 2016. Made possible through a Be There grant from the New York Life Foundation, the partnership is part of a comprehensive approach to helping the Club community cope with loss, death, grief, and bereavement while also assisting Club members to build resiliency skills. TCR has been working with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston since 2012. We began by providing trainings at 5 Boston area Boys and Girls Clubs, including the Yawkey Club, on supporting children and adolescents to help them understand and cope with death, dying, and loss. The Children’s Room began offering grief support services in Boston area Boys and Girls Clubs in the fall of 2013. This new partnership will span three years and will focus on four distinct areas: youth, staff, family, and community support. As part of this partnership, TCR will be working in collaboration with the Yawkey Club and the LDBPI to offer professional development trainings to staff members at the club, raise awareness about valuable information and services regarding grief and bereavement available in the community, and ensure that those facing the loss of a loved one have access to necessary services. The partnership will also provide ongoing support to families, including providing parents and caregivers with programming that supports bereaved children and adolescents. These services [...]

By |January 20th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

Meet Our 2017 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 four at a time. We hope you’ll check back soon to learn more about James O’Leary, Shane Richardson, John Shea, and Antonio Willis-Berry. Meanwhile, we are proud to introduce you to Alex Ebling, John Fleming, Jared Huber, and Tim O’Brien. Alex Ebling Alex is a Wellesley resident and a teacher at Newton Country Day School. We are thankful to have him on our team as he aims to accomplish a lifelong personal goal: running the Boston Marathon. Alex runs in memory of his cousin, Sophia, who died when she was one year old. Alex’s aunt and uncle, and his cousin, Isabelle, were served by peer support groups at The Children’s Room after Sophia’s death. Running this year’s marathon is Alex’s way of showing his appreciation for the support his family members received. Alex said, “It is truly an honor to be able to run for The Children’s Room in honor of my aunt, uncle, Isabelle, and particularly Sophia.” John Fleming John Fleming is a resident of Woburn and a teacher and coach at Winchester High School. We are grateful to have John’s positive energy on our team for the second year in a row—this is his second consecutive Boston Marathon for TCR! As a teacher and coach, John is motivated to run by his students and their families. “As a teacher at Winchester High School, I have seen a tremendous amount of loss during the last few years—students, siblings of current students, recent graduates, and parents of students,” [...]

By |January 18th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |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 13th, 2016|Categories: News|0 Comments