When I was 4 years old my father died of a sudden massive heart attack, my brother was 6 and my mom was pregnant with my sister. In the aftermath of his of death I was scare and confused, lacking a mature understanding of death but aware that my life had inexplicably changed forever. The Children’s Room did not exist at the time, so my family and I were left to wade through the waters of our grief alone.
I felt isolated and labeled by my loss. I was the girl whose dad died, not Stephanie. After college I started working at The Children’s Room and met fellow volunteers with similar loss experiences. For the first time in my life I didn't feel singled out by my loss. Similarly, at The Children’s Room I have watched as kids realize they are not the only one coping with the death of a mother, father, brother or sister.
Through my 7 years and counting of volunteering with 3-5 year olds I am constantly amazed by their ability to support each other. When a child shares their loss and another child responds “me too!” a powerful and healing connection is made. In a very natural way, children will share stories while drawing a picture in the art room, bouncing off the padded walls in the high-energy room or creating a cemetery in the sandbox. There is a level of openness and comfort talking about loss and grief at The Children’s Room that teaches children and families the important lesson that no one needs to grieve alone.
After recognizing how much the kids gain from their connection with each other I realized how alone I felt in my own experience. And through gaining this personal understanding I have developed a new commitment and passion for my work at The Children’s Room. As the newest and youngest board member I look forward to contributing to the survival and growth of this amazing organization. My heart has always understood the importance of the work at The Children’s Room, but now my head understands the many factors that contribute to a growing, thriving organization.
Although I run to support The Children’s Room, I have also had many personal gains from my time training for and running the Boston Marathon. Running in Boston is an amazing and unifying experience. Between the support family, friends, fellow runners and fans, I never felt alone. The community I have felt running in Boston is a community of strength and purpose, much like the community at The Children’s Room. I am honored to be running on The Children’s Room team again.
The Children’s Room offers its services free of charge. Through your generous support over the past 2 years I have surpassed my fundraising goal, so this year I have increased my pledge to $12,000. Please consider supporting my run, helping me reach my goal and helping ensure the kids at The Children’s Room continue to benefit from the support of an amazing organization.
To make a secure donation to my fundraising page, click the donation button on the top right of this page. You may also send checks to The Children’s Room at 1210 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA 02476. Please make your check out to "The Children's Room" and write “Marathon/Stephanie” in the memo line so that your gift will count towards my goal.
Thank you in advance!