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, November 29, 2016, 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 November 29th? 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 [...]
Thursday, November 17, was 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. TCR program staff and interns hosted activities at the Jordan Boys & Girls Club in Chelsea, Ottoson Middle School, Lexington High School, Arlington High School, and John Glenn Middle School. At the Yawkey Boys & Girls Club, TCR partnered with the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute to sponsor the activity. 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! What a meaningful day we had! Thank you to all who participated. You have helped us envision a world where death and dying are more fully integrated into our lives, which leads to greater compassion, hope, and growth. For more photos from throughout the day, please visit our Facebook Page.
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. We hope you find them helpful. 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. [...]
The threshold, taking the first steps, the entryway, the way in . . . How you feel when you first arrive to a new environment or even to an environment you are familiar with can greatly affect the initial feelings you have of safety, feeling welcomed, and ultimately “landing” and connecting with the space. The children, teens, and families who make their way to our big yellow Victorian house, up the stairs, across the porch, and through the blue door know the courage it takes to arrive. Our front porch, a most important “welcoming space” at The Children’s Room, was sorely in need of repair. Martin Conneely and Conneely Contracting, Inc., have supported our mission and our house renovations for many, many years. He and his skilled team have always worked tirelessly and meticulously to support the historic aesthetic of our treasured house. This summer they contracted with us to renovate our entrance, the first steps in welcoming our families! This work was funded by three generous donors including the Adelard A. Roy and Valeda Lea Roy Foundation. Before After We at TCR are deeply grateful for the sense of renewal and all of the positive energy that has come with rebuilding our porch. Thank you, Martin, and thank you, Conneely Contracting, Inc. for all of your efforts in bringing this project to completion!
Chris Watson and his family at our 2016 Memories Walk Chris Watson, Regional Sales Manager at MathWorks, has been a stalwart friend to TCR for many years as well as a volunteer peer support group facilitator. Eight years ago, when Chris wanted to maximize the impact of his charitable giving to TCR, he chose to take advantage of MathWorks’s matching gift program, which, per individual donor, matches one hundred percent of all donations up to $500. When asked about his inspiration for connecting to TCR through matching gifts, Chris is quick to credit the culture at his office. “MathWorks actively encourages its employees to take advantage of its matching gift program in order to support causes that they feel deeply about,” he said. “Not only has using the program allowed me to double my giving dollars to TCR, I’m proud that, by participating, I’ve built strong relationships with likeminded people here who are passionate about fundraising for great causes.” “We have an internal news group specifically dedicated to showcasing and sharing charity work,” Chris added. “It’s wonderful to hear about the causes that others are so committed to helping, and it helps create an environment of mutual respect for the work we’re each doing in the community. It also fosters reciprocal giving.” When asked some of his best tips for getting started with setting up a matching gift program, he encourages those who are interested to first connect with the social mission liaison at their employer. That staff person will usually be found in your office’s human resources department. “Connecting with the appropriate staff person at your office will allow you to educate yourself on the process of giving matching gifts regularly, and it [...]
TCR Board President Michael Nagle We are proud to welcome Michael Nagle, a resident of Needham, to his new role as board president. As principal of the Michael Nagle Consulting Group, Michael possesses tremendous business acumen and leadership experience that supports our work in countless ways. Michael also has a deeply personal connection to our mission. In 2005, he and his wife, Melyné, brought their daughter, Isabelle, who was four at the time, to The Children’s Room after the death of her sister, Sophia. “TCR helped Isabelle find ways to deal with her grief which was especially challenging as she transitioned into elementary school,” Michael says. “TCR helped Melyné and I manage our own grief journey so we could help Isabelle. All three of us are motivated to support TCR so other families, children and teens get the same opportunity to adapt in healthy ways after the death of a parent or sibling.” In October 2014, Michael joined our Board of Directors, because he knew he wanted to give back. He realized that his experience as an Organization Development Consultant and Executive Coach could help strengthen and grow TCR, so he made the board commitment until 2020. “The most satisfying thing about this board experience is enabling Donna Smith Sharff and her fantastic staff to serve more and more people,” Michael says. “This is a very well-functioning board that is totally dedicated to TCR’s mission. There are no egos getting in the way of doing what is right for the organization.” A highlight of Michael’s time on the board was this summer’s trip to the annual symposium of the National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC). “Seeing TCR staff conduct a workshop at the [...]
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 for 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. Jay Vogt, founder of Peoplesworth Way and a trusted mediator for The Children’s Room Board and Staff shared: “I love architecture, and my wife is a specialist in clearing the energy of spaces. So between the two of us, we tune in, feel space, and talk about it a lot. So I have been delighted, in the many times I have visited, and worked in, the Children’s Room spaces, to feel how vibrant, clear, and bright the energy feels in the rooms. Not the decor, but the feeling of the space. Many of us imagine grief being heavy and dark. Yet my experience of the spaces at the Children’s Room is the opposite—clear, light, and [...]
Nancy Simpson-Banker We would like to thank Nancy Simpson-Banker for her five years of service to our community as our first dedicated Development Director. As of August 1, 2016, she has chosen to return to the world of healthcare philanthropy, where she worked for 20 years before joining our The Children's Room (TCR) team. Since 2011 when Nancy joined the staff, philanthropy has doubled allowing us to serve 55% more individuals in direct grief services. We added Family Nights and dramatically expanded our community groups and teen programming. Nancy spent much of her valuable time and energy developing and cultivating personal relationships with our individual, foundation, and corporate donors. We are financially strong and have seeded our endowment with a $100,000 donation. We wish Nancy well and feel fortunate to continue to count her as a member of our community, both as a Circle Donor and Advisory Board member. * Kim Cayer Please join us in congratulating Kim Cayer on her promotion to Philanthropy Director. Kim has served as the Development Associate at TCR since 2010 where she oversaw major events, the annual fund, and grant writing. Many of you know Kim as our extraordinary community tour guide where she brought to bear her six years as a TCR program volunteer. Her enthusiasm, deep knowledge of development, and dedication to The Children’s Room and the local community make Kim the ideal person for this job. Kim currently serves on the Board of Youth Services in Arlington and is a former board member of the Arlington-Belmont Crew Club, Robbins Farm Park and PTO Co-President of Arlington’s Brackett School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College where she was a member of the [...]
Teens talked openly with young adult TCR alumni about grief in college, grief on social media, and much more. In June, we hosted a unique Teen Program event: a panel discussion providing teens a safe space to ask a group of five TCR alumni questions about their experiences coping with grief in adolescence and about the transitions into life as a young adult. Each of the five young adults who participated were college-aged, and all five are alumni of our programs from their childhood and/or teenage years. The teens who attended were all of high school age. The group got to know each other a bit during icebreakers, pairing up to share responses to amusing personal or theoretical questions. Each of the young adults then took a few minutes to share their grief story, how they managed adolescence, and the transition into college. Afterwards, the entire group—teens and young adults together—participated in an open discussion about their experiences. A number of common themes emerged throughout the conversation. Teens talked about how experiencing the death has changed them as a friend and family member, managing tough days (like anniversaries and milestones), choosing how and what to share with peers, others reactions, the part that social media plays in grieving, and their hopes and anticipations for the future. “I was impressed by the openness of the teens’ questions and by how thoughtful the young adult alumni were in sharing their answers,” said Christine Lambright, Youth & Community Outreach Coordinator. “The young adults prepared notes on their stories ahead of time and gave real consideration to what they would have wanted to know back when they were a teen.” The teens and young adults were able to relate with each other on [...]
Phyllis Silverman was one of a kind. She was a towering intellectual force in a small frame. She didn’t initially intend to work in the field of bereavement, but ultimately, as a researcher and author, she dedicated her forty year career to challenging the notion of bereavement as a pathology or an “illness” that could—or should—be cured. She was unwavering in her commitment to expressing a child or teen’s right to grieve, and she spent her life’s work providing writing, research, tools, and guidance for the bereaved and those supporting them. Everyone who knew her well had to smile at the fact that Phyllis never, ever hesitated to speak her mind and tell her truth along the way. We at The Children’s Room are deeply saddened by Phyllis’s death. All of us are going to miss her deeply. We mourn the loss not just of a pioneer in our field of bereavement; in Phyllis, we mourn our organization’s bedrock foundation and the truest champion of our work, as well as a dear friend in our personal lives. Our three founders: Judy Oliver, Phyllis Silverman, and Jean Marchant After all, it was Phyllis’s vision and dogged persistence that helped to bring this very organization into being. When Phyllis began meeting with fellow cofounders Jean Marchant and Judy Oliver about creating a center for grief and loss, it became abundantly clear that serving grieving children was the single most pressing need to be filled, and The Children’s Room was born. When they were no longer able to operate as a part of Hospice West, they felt stymied as they searched for a new home for the program until a Baptist minister graciously arranged for space [...]