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, [...]
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 [...]
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,” [...]
“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, [...]
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 [...]