I am honored to serve as a board member of Kate’s Club Board of Directors and excited to be the 2022 Kate’s Club Mourning Gala Chair! I first learned of Kate’s Club in 2019 through my amazing friend and a Kate’s Club board member, Tanya Sam. Not knowing much about Kate’s Club at the time, I wished I had the same support as a child during my personal grief journey. Without hesitation, I made a donation. I was then invited to Camp Good Mourning and the annual Kate’s Club Gala in the same year.
My grief journey began at the tender age of 5. My mother was brutally murdered in front of me by an estranged boyfriend who turned himself in after taking her life. Just shy of my 6th birthday, I was qualified by the court to testify to a moment in time that forever would change my life. I now look back on that day and think about how courageous that little girl was to speak in front of adults and point out the monster that forever shattered the hopes, dreams, promises, and an amazing bond between a daughter and her mother. Losing my mother at a young age had a profound impact on my life. Although I had the support of a wonderful family and therapy, if I had Kate’s Club back then, I might not have felt so different. I silently struggled with confidence, and the constant questions from other kids about my mom’s whereabouts became unbearable. I felt an immeasurable void. I just wanted to hide from the world to avoid it all until I decided that I had to live and move forward because it was what my mom would have liked. I buried myself in my studies and later became an attorney.
This year marks 35 years since that dreadful day. I vowed that as long as I lived, I would be my mother’s advocate, her voice, and attend every parole hearing to ensure that justice continued to be served. At the last parole hearing, the commissioners mentioned they wondered what happened to that little girl and who she had become today. I was a walking miracle of what is truly possible. The guard shared that he had only shed tears twice in his 20-year career. That day was the second time, and how extraordinarily proud my mom would be of the woman I had become
Kate’s Club is a magical place. From witnessing firsthand how the children love and support each other through their own grief journeys and how the community rallies around this important cause, I knew I had to be part of a mission that meant so much to me personally. I want to be a beacon of hope for the children who have gone through a traumatic loss of a parent. I want them to know that there is strength and power in their grief journey. With the proper tools and resources provided by Kate’s Club, they, too, can learn to navigate their “new normal.” The best part is that the programming is free!
We are a Family here at Kate’s Club! As an adult, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the support I received when I lost my Dad due to Covid-19. With the challenges of the pandemic, even as we (the Staff, Board, and Buddy Volunteers) continue to navigate our own grief with the unexpected loss of loved ones, it is vital more than ever to continue to evolve to ensure the children and families who are impacted continue to receive resources. I hope you make a donation at this year’s Mourning Glory Gala with a giving and cheerful heart. Although the memories of losing a loved one will forever remain, your support will yield a rewarding transformation that will have an everlasting impact on a child’s life for years to come!