From The Director
In late September, as we usually do, we held our annual Ray of Hope fundraiser; this year, with a new theme - the Celebration Bash. This year’s twist on the event included the transformation of our Wine Pull to a Spirit Pull, which was a huge success. We also had dancing, for the first time in a long time, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. As our opening presentation of the evening, to celebrate our milestones and to honor past supporters, staff and volunteers, we thought it fitting to take a trip down memory lane and share our history video.
Many people ask about our history and our founding director, Mary Keane. I regret to say that I have not yet had the privilege of meeting this amazing woman, as she resides in California, but I feel as though I know her, in some small way, through the stories shared with me by others and her writings in previous newsletters. Mary certainly left her mark on the world through her various humanitarian efforts and the countless lives she touched as a former Nun, Oncology Nurse and Bereavement Coordinator. She continues to do so through the legacy that she and the Carmon Family built here in Mary’s Place. I recently came across one of the first newsletters, written by Mary, in March of 2002, in which she wrote about her vision for Mary’s Place and how we came to be. I’d like to share her words with you all once more:
“Our beginnings were very humble, starting in 1991 with a group of four little girls who had experienced the death of a parent and who met in my living room. This worked quite well until we were joined by more children whose exuberance quickly made it apparent that we had outgrown our space. (Someone once said that children’s grief is very noisy, and it’s true!). We then moved to Loomis Chaffee School here in Windsor where Evelyn Smith who was Dean of Students at the time graciously made one of the student lounges available to us. Although this worked well for several years, my dream was to have a space that would be designed and dedicated exclusively for the use of grieving children and teens. Thanks to the extraordinary vision and generosity of the Carmon Family, our present space, which was the site of their original funeral home (a great old Victorian house!) became available to us in the summer of 1996 and was dedicated the following spring. We use every inch of the considerable space that is here, and several hundred children, teens and their families have found this to be a safe place as they cope with profound losses in their lives. Their stories tell of incredible courage and resilience, and we who are privileged to journey with these remarkable youngsters and their families are truly blest.” – Mary Keane
We continue to be blessed to be a part of the lives of our participants and those who come to us seeking support. We are grateful to be here to provide our services and appreciate all of you who play such an important role in helping us to fulfill our mission. To those who give a gift to our Center in memory of a loved one, to all who attend and support our events and to those who advocate on our behalf, we thank you. The increased awareness of our mission has added a great number of new readers to our mailing list. Whether you are a new reader or one of our long-time friends and supporters, I thank you so much for reading our newsletter and supporting our work.
I continue to be moved by the immense kindness, empathy and compassion of our participants, volunteers and supporters, which I witness in some form or another, on a daily basis. So much happens behind the doors of our little grief center in Windsor. If walls could talk, our walls would sing - of the hope that is found, memories shared and lives that are forever changed through the connections and support discovered here.
Thanks to you, Mary’s Place continues to thrive and provide essential support to
the grieving children and families who come to us.