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 committed their time and talent to supporting us in our work.
When our staff were asked to contribute their thoughts about Donna, two clear themes emerged: Donna’s unwavering dedication and her compassion. Here are just a few of the things that people shared about Donna:
- “Donna embodied and engaged with an open mind, an open heart, and a creative will, always visioning forward. She valued and encouraged collaborative action among her staff, co-initiating, co-evolving, and co-creating as we all held space for the families we serve.”
- “Donna’s work is the solid foundation that we are building upon today. Her legacy at The Children’s Room is one of compassion and hope.”
- “Donna’s core philosophy was that programs like The Children’s Room began by listening to children. Through the years, Donna embodied this ability to listen to children—listening to what they were saying to us, to each other, listening to what they were asking for with their words, behaviors, and even their silence. Donna’s words, actions, and deep compassion have taught us all.”
- “One of Donna’s other lasting legacies was her commitment to involving TCR alumni of all ages. The work that Donna did with young alumni brought TCR Boston Marathon runners, Breakfast speakers, program volunteers, mentors, and lifelong friendships. Her work with parent alumni brought donors, board members, and deep volunteer commitment.”
- “Donna had a unique ability to translate her vision for the future of The Children’s Room into the step-by-step reality of hard work and dedication. Her ability to build strong teams and cultivate meaningful relationships are lasting gifts to The Children’s Room.”
As many of you may know, Donna is no longer serving as the Executive Director. Our Clinical Director, Dr. Nancy Frumer Styron, is currently serving as Interim Executive Director while the Board of Directors and staff conduct a search for a new Executive Director.
Donna is happily planning a move to Vermont so that she can spend more time with her son, daughter-in-law, and new granddaughter.
We wish Donna well and feel fortunate to continue to count her as a member of our community.