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 connection to The Children’s Room for nearly ten years, including upholding their pledge commitment during a three-year period when they lived in the San Francisco Bay Area.
While they were living in California, they personally experienced the impact of loss and grief when they suffered a difficult miscarriage. As Crissy shared, “It was a very lonely, dark, difficult time, and a place like The Children’s Room would have been a tremendous resource for us. We often thought of The Children’s Room during this time, and we decided to become even more involved when we moved back to the East Coast.”
When they returned to Lexington, Crissy and Ted both knew that they wanted to move their support of The Children’s Room beyond the financial aspect. In the Fall of 2015, Crissy, along with her running partner, Malinda Dublin, were approached with the perfect opportunity to do so – coach our 2016 Boston Marathon Miles & Memories team. “As a pair of lifelong friends and running partners, we had become certified long-distance running coaches and decided to volunteer our time and support local nonprofit Boston Marathon charity teams,” she said. “It was a no-brainer that we would offer our services to The Children’s Room, who never had an official certified coach for their Boston Marathon team.”
Ted admired Crissy’s decision and supported her the entire way, because he knew just how important this hands-on role was for our community. As he shared, “It is one thing to be able to support an organization by committing to make yearly monetary donations, but it’s a whole other thing to make the commitment of donating hands on time to actively support an organization.”
Crissy has coached our Boston Marathon teams for the past two years. Under her guidance, each of our 14 runners successfully crossed the finish line. Collectively these teams have raised over $230,000. Crissy and Malinda are looking forward to once again coaching our team in 2018, while raising awareness and funds for a mission that she and Ted are both passionate about.
Of her coaching experience, Crissy emphasizes that getting to the finish line is wonderful, but it’s the process that is truly meaningful. “Being able to coach the Miles & Memories Team from The Children’s Room has been incredibly rewarding and satisfying,” she says. “From meeting the team of runners at the beginning of the training program, to getting through a difficult cold, snowy group training run, to knowing that each of the runners crossed the finish line, the whole process is so inspiring.”
Cultivating Relationships & Sharing Inspiration
In the end, for Crissy and Ted, The Children’s Room is all about relationships and connections: making them, cultivating them, and sustaining them.
Ted shares, “Our relationship with The Children’s Room has tremendously impacted our whole family. We have built strong, meaningful relationships with people who share the same passion and interest in the organization. It is through these relationships that The Children’s Room continues to thrive.”
When asked why they have chosen to give so much of their time, effort, resources, and physical stamina to The Children’s Room, Crissy points to the deep lessons she has learned from being involved with the organization, and the ripple effect of its impact. She shared one of her most memorable moments, which took place during a pre-marathon pasta dinner held at the Straub’s home.
“One of the runners we were coaching brought his two little daughters whose mom had recently died. Upon their arrival, we introduced his daughters to our oldest daughters. They instantly clicked and began playing together, doing an art project and running around outside. These four girls had so much fun together being carefree.”
“When putting our daughters to bed that night, we explained how the little girls they were playing with no longer had a mommy. They asked questions such as, ‘How come they were so happy if their mom died?’ and ‘How do you know you aren’t going to die like their mom did?’ We answered their questions as best we could. After answering their questions, one of our daughters said, ‘Well, thank God for The Children’s Room because those girls seemed like they were going to be okay.’ It was after this night we realized our children were taught an invaluable lesson. They were taught that people can go on after someone close to them dies, and people are going to be okay. They also gained an increased perspective, appreciation, and wisdom behind their years.”
The Straubs are deeply committed to helping children thrive, succeed, and live fulfilling happy lives. We are grateful that being a part of our community helps them achieve their goal.