The story of Kate’s Club is not just one of the people, but the community partners we have made along the way. (And the ones we will make in the future.) One of our more unique partnerships has been with our friends at LEAD Atlanta. Today we share the story of that partnership.
As part of LEAD Atlanta’s program for young leaders, members of each class are assigned a non-profit to help move an initiative that the organization has applied for forward. In the Summer of 2010, Kate’s Club submitted a proposal to LEAD Atlanta for the creation of a Grief Awareness Day and an amazing partnership began. Each of the LEAD team members had different reasons for wanting to be a part of the Kate’s Club project – several had parents die when they were younger, some worked with kids and knew how significant an organization this could be for a grieving child and others just believed in the power of the mission. Whatever the motivation, every team member was transformed by the magic that is Kate’s Club.
The team worked with the staff and the board of Kate’s Club to develop a vision for what Grief Awareness Day should be. Over the course of six months a memorial tree planting was organized with Trees Atlanta, Councilman Ivory Lee Young and WNBA Star Chamique Holdsclaw shared their grief stories with Kate’s Club friends and families, the State Legislature and City Council declared March 1 Grief Awareness Day, and this blog was born.
Almost three years later, we are preparing for our third Grief Awareness Day (now in November), the blog has over 25,000 hits, and Kate’s Club is in the middle of its second project with a team from LEAD Atlanta. And while the team members are different, the way they feel about the importance of Kate’s Club is the same. This team has been tasked with developing a way for us to gather and share our stories. The majority of stories we share as part of our 10th Anniversary Story Initiative are the result of interviews that they have conducted with people whose lives have been forever changed by Kate’s Club. One of the new team members wrote about her impressions and I think it sums up perfectly how the LEAD classmates (old + new) feel about the organization – awe-inspiring.
I could never imagine the extreme loss one might feel from losing a parent, sibling, or child. Even though one must be in extreme grief, Kate’s Club is NOT a sad or gloomy place. I have been amazed by the numerous people who both touched and have been touched by Kate’s Club in the most warm and spirited ways. From those who worked tirelessly in the early years to find the financial support for such an incredible place of healing. To those who continue to run the organization and have grown it to include a plethora of fun, healing activities and programs for children.
These devoted people enabled so many children over the last ten years to find themselves and experience this great loss with others going through a similar experience. The result is healing. Kate’s Club creates an environment where children are able to grieve in healthy ways, find support from others, and continue to live. I am awe-inspired by those who I’ve encountered thus far in my Kate’s Club journey.
Thank you, LEAD Atlanta for continuing to bring people to us that give so much of their time and talent to make us better.