Dear Family & Friends:
On April 16, 2012 I anticipate running the Boston Marathon on behalf of The Children’s Room and in memory of my dad, Wayne Joseph Silva. As most of you already know, I have been volunteering as a facilitator at TCR for a year and a half. But, you may not already know that my relationship with TCR began long before that.
When I was six years old I lost my dad to cancer. At that time, unlike my four year old brother, I didn’t want to talk about my dad’s death, for fear of being labeled as ‘the girl whose dad died’ or crying in front of anyone, including my family. I saw crying as a sign of weakness and I wanted to be brave. My solution to coping was bottling up all of my feelings, resulting in confusion and anger.
That was until I went to TCR, a center for grieving children, teens and families. This wonderful organization offers support and hope in a warm, safe, and caring place to families who have lost an immediate family member. When my mom first dragged me with her to our first group nearly 18 years ago, I dreaded the thought of talking about my dad, especially with a group of strangers. I had every intention of refusing to do so. However, immediately after stepping into TCR’s space, I was met by warmth and compassion exuded by the staff and volunteers. A sense of calm washed over me. I soon learned that there was something special about this place. Whether I chose to share or not, the safety of the community was always there to comfort me as I came to realize that I wasn’t the only child who had lost a parent at a young age. I wasn’t an outcast.
I’m now 25 and happy to be back at TCR, now the leading nonprofit grief support center in Massachusetts, as a facilitator. When I graduated from college in 2009 I longed for the support of my father as I faced the real world and a tough job market. Volunteering had always added structure to my life and given me a sense of fulfillment, so after some soul searching, I finally reconnected with TCR and filled out an application for the facilitator training. I was honored and excited to be chosen to work in the Sunday group with six- and seven-year-olds who have lost a parent or sibling. I knew in my heart that this was the best opportunity for me to give back since this organization had been so important to me as a little girl.
When I meet with the kids in my group, it’s riveting to observe their courage and resiliency as they deal with painful losses similar to that which I experienced at their age. I’m continuously moved by their ability to connect with and relate to one another. Through this experience I have dug up the courage within myself to run with the 2012 Boston Marathon Miles + Memories team. It is the strength of these kids that will propel me forward when the going gets tough on Marathon Monday.
Please do what you can to help me reach my fundraising goal of $5,000. Your donation will go towards supporting children coping with the death of a loved one. I am blessed to have had a place like TCR to lean on during my grieving process at age six. It is so important that TCR is able to continue its programs and serve families currently on the waiting list for services.
Please click the donate button at the top of this page to make a secure online donation. You may also mail a check to:
The Children’s Room
1210 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA 02476
Please note “Marathon/Courtney” in the Memo section so that your gift can be counted towards my goal.
Thank you for your continuous support.
Sending you lots of sunshine and love,