A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A stunning and relevant statistic for you:

Of the approximately 2,150,000* people living in King County, 490,200 are 19 years or younger. A study funded by New York Life estimates that 1 of every 7 young people will lose a parent or sibling before the age of 20.

This means more than 70,000 young people in King County today will likely lose or have lost a parent or sibling before their 20th birthday.

That number would fill Century Link field to capacity, with thousands of children spilling out onto the field!

 Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

 

That is an enormous amount of kids in our community who need support and services!

Your gifts of time and resources help these kids on their grief journeys, restoring their childhoods so they can find joy, security and the possibilities that all young people deserve.

*based on 2016 US Census estimates

A Summer of Gratitude: How Many Ways Can We Say Thank You?

Annual Golf Tournament for Gold+ Corporate Sponsors

On a sunny Friday in late May, teams from our corporate sponsor organizations gathered for a day of fun at the The Golf Club at Newcastle. Safe Crossings Foundation (SCF) held the tournament to thank our most generous corporate sponsors. Without their support and dedication to grieving children, SCF would not be able to help nearly as many children across the Pacific Northwest.

“This fun day offers us an opportunity to connect with other supporters of SCF who want to make a difference for grieving kids,” reflected Rob Albert, the Vice President – Northwest Region of LabCorp.

SCF staff and board members were thrilled to connect with new faces from each company and bring awareness of our work to those who were not yet familiar with it. We look forward to expanding the scope of this event to include even more of our loyal corporate sponsors in the future!

Champion Donor Dessert Party

Long time SCF-supporter Robin Negrin generously hosted a donor appreciation night at her beautiful home in Kirkland in the late spring. Over delicious desserts, SCF celebrated the continued support of some of our most dedicated donors. Guests heard directly from Kim Isaac Brooks and her daughter, Sophie, who have received Safe Crossings support services, experiencing firsthand just how significant their continued commitment to SCF can be in the healing journey of a grieving child. It was an enjoyable and meaningful evening, and we were so lucky to have such a gracious host. A special thank you to Robin for her generosity!

Camp Erin-King County Tour

We’d also like to express our gratitude to all of our donors by inviting you on a tour of Camp Erin-King County on Thursday, August 3rd, 2017! Join us for a glimpse of the summer bereavement camp as the staff prepares for the arrival of the campers. You’ll be able to chat with counselors about the impact of camp on kids’ lives and what they experience during their stay, all while exploring the lovely camp setting in Carnation.

Lunch is included and we’ll arrange carpools as needed. You can register here if you’d like to join us. Please email info@safecrossingsfoundation.org if you have questions. It’s bound to be a beautiful day at camp!

Grief is a Journey Best Taken With Others

Twins Damien and Ty were five years old when their dad died in 2009. The sudden loss of their father left the boys confused and worried. Their mom, Eva, knew the boys needed support. She found Camp Erin®- King County.

“I had no idea how incredible camp would end up being and what it would do for my boys,” said Eva.


Damien and Ty went to camp shortly after their dad died. At that time, the hurt was new and very confusing. They were then able to return to camp again at age 11. Attending camp as older kids allowed them to process the grief in new ways and added a new dimension to their grief journeys. Damien and Ty were able to connect with other kids at camp and share the burden of their loss.

“Not having my dad around is hard,” said Damien. “At first, you don’t understand that your dad died. Then you realize that he really did die, and you’re not going to see him again. You want to know him and do stuff with him, but you can’t because he is gone.”

“Camp Erin helped me a lot,” he added. “I learned that I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only one who had lost someone.”

“I feel the same way,” said Ty. “It was nice to know there are other people who’ve gone through the same thing I have.”

Camp is a place where children can participate in grief activities together in a safe environment. Each person there is processing grief, but the kids also have some fun that allows them to get back to just being kids.

“There’s a community garden at camp, and we got to eat edible flowers,” recalled Damien. “We also got to pick out stones that reminded us of our loved ones, and we got to eat pizza!”

“Camp has been really important. I wouldn’t understand the loss of my dad as well if I hadn’t had the chance to know other kids who’ve lost someone,” he said.

Thanks to your generosity, we can support more kids like Damien and Ty as they continue on their grief journeys.

You’re Not Alone

LIFE AFTER LOSING A LOVED ONE TO SUICIDE

SCF’s Marci chats with Susan and Annalee, a mother and daughter who lost a son and brother to suicide, about their experience after his death; the unique grief that follows; and what has helped them on their paths toward healing.

A Safe Crossings Foundation-sponsored organization, Forefront Cares, is highlighted for their work with those newly bereaved after suicide. For more information on Forefront’s programs, visit their website at www.intheforefront.org or call them at 206.543.1016.

Huge thanks to Susan and Annalee for so graciously sharing their story, and to Nick Danielson for production of this video. See Nick’s work at www.nickdanielson.com.

Donor Profile: Nathan Hoerschelmann

Meet Nathan! He’s is one of Safe Crossings Foundation’s most dedicated supporters. As a Camp Erin Big Buddy and Luncheon Table Captain, Nathan spreads love and awareness for kids who are grieving and in need of support.

The first and foremost reason I give to Safe Crossings Foundation is because the work they do is near and dear to me. It is very personal. One can talk about all kinds of differences between people, but death and grief are a universal part of life that touch anybody and everybody. Grief does not care about your race, politics, religion, gender or socio-economic level.

I lost my parents at a very young age, 32 years ago. I remember the incredible loneliness and confusion. I had many people in my life who wanted to support and care for me, but I wish there had been a professional around who could have told me I would be all right.

In hindsight, I now realize the path I was on as a kid trying to make sense of my loss. I can’t go back and heal that 11 year-old, and I never want to quit supporting kids who need help now.

As a “Big Buddy” at Camp Erin, I have been able to connect with kids, but I realized I could build awareness among adults as well. As a result, I became a table captain for two tables at the SCF Luncheon last year, which created a safe space for people to talk about death and to be involved and offer support.

Thank you, Nathan, for your heartfelt commitment to grieving children!

Restoring Childhood One Grant at a Time in 2016

In 2016, the Safe Crossings Foundation Board of Directors made grants to Providence’s Safe Crossings Program, Camp Erin®-King County, The Healing Center, Outward Bound, Our TreeHouse, Art with Heart and A Grief Place. In addition, two community need grants of $12,500 each were given to Forefront and The Healing Center to serve unmet needs in the Puget Sound region.

 

Forefront advances innovative approaches to suicide prevention through policy change, professional training, campus- and school-based interventions, media outreach, and support for persons affected by suicide. Safe Crossings Foundation is funding short-term telephone mentoring for those newly bereaved by suicide and the Forefront Cares package to let individuals and families know that there is a community out there that understands and supports them. Each package contains educational materials on grief after a suicide as well as comfort items found to be helpful by other loss survivors. One program participant said,

“This was a whole new world. Having someone to talk to made me feel less alone. My mentor taught me what signs to look for and to ask my kids about their grief. She taught me to be direct and that we don’t have to rescue anyone. It feels like a lifeline. We are tethered.”

 

Safe Crossings Foundation allocated funds to The Healing Center to improve the availability of culturally inclusive grief support groups in the community. Over the next year, they will be conducting local and national outreach to leverage best practices to reach more grieving children. Executive Director Cindy Burdell remarked,

“We are excited about the enthusiasm in our region for helping children, especially kids in underserved areas who don’t currently have access to grief support services. We’re already connecting with partner organizations and look forward to developing programs that answer the need.”

 

With funding from SCF, Outward Bound took six teens on a seven-day wilderness adventure to explore their grief and the wilds of the Northwest. One participant reported,

“I know what to do to calm myself down when I am stressed. I can identify my emotions and take responsibility for my actions.”

 

Safe Crossings Foundation also funded Our TreeHouse in Bellingham. This organization implemented two on-going support groups specifically for teens in Whatcom County who are grieving a death. In these groups, teens create a structure that meets their needs within the safety guidelines of the organization. They have pizza, time for sharing, and an occasional bowling night, to name a few. One teen noted,

“Our Treehouse allowed me to come to terms with living in the world after the loss of someone you love dearly. They helped me realize that if you have a few people who get you and somewhere safe to be vulnerable, your world can begin to stabilize.”

Grief Support Community Shines Through Difficult Topic

Thanks to our generous sponsors, Safe Crossings Foundation offered the third Northwest Conference on Childhood Grief on February 24th, 2017. Over 100 therapists, counselors, nurses, teachers and other grief support providers gathered at the majestic Pacific Tower for a one-day intense examination of traumatic loss and grief in children.

This symposium featured speakers who were handpicked for their expertise in complicated grief, including suicide, mass shooting and natural disaster grief scenarios. Dr. Ted Rynearson of Virginia Mason opened the day, and Art with Heart closed with art therapy for the audience. Attendees expanded skill sets, learned best practices, and networked as a growing care-providing community.

Following the event, SCF surveyed attendees to deepen our own understanding of their needs and how best to expand our support for these incredible grief service providers.

Congratulations to Our 2016 Grant Recipients: Forefront & The Healing Center

This year, the Safe Crossings Foundation Board of Directors designated special funds for a community grant-making initiative. This program offered two $12,500 competitive grants to emerging programs that addressed unmet needs in the greater Puget Sound area. Eight organizations submitted requests, and we selected two outstanding programs to receive funding: Forefront and The Healing Center. Below you will find descriptions of their plans for the grants.


 

forefront_webForefront Cares is a program launched in 2013 that provides unique, timely and personalized outreach and peer support to individuals who are suffering the loss of a loved one to suicide. The grant will address the needs of children and youth who lose a parent or sibling in this manner.

Forefront Cares consists of two parts: care packages and peer-to-peer phone support. They send care packages to the newly bereaved individuals and families referred to them by first-responders, funeral homes, faith community leaders or family and friends. These packages include books about coping with grief after a suicide death and items of comfort such as tissues, candles, tea and writing journals. They also offer survivors the opportunity to be paired with a trained volunteer who has experienced a similar loss. Usually the best – and sometimes the only – person a suicide survivor can talk to is someone who’s already been through it. The volunteer provides short-term phone support to the newly bereaved survivor. It is a therapeutic and healing bond for both the volunteer and the grieving person.

In 2014, Forefront created a child-focused care package (with age-appropriate books and comfort items) and expanded their services to include peer phone support that helps grieving parents know how to respond to the loss their child or teen is feeling. They also provide families with information about other helpful resources in their area, such as local bereavement camp programs and grief groups. All Forefront Cares services are provided at no charge to families. They will ensure Safe Crossings Foundation funds help underwrite the cost of providing these services to grieving children and teens during 2016/2017, including marketing the program within schools and rural communities already receiving suicide prevention training and support from Forefront. With Forefront’s deep involvement in 14 King County high schools, expansion to six rural Washington communities, outreach to those working in grief care and their well-developed relationships with media across the state, they hope to spread the word about this new and highly important effort.

 


 

the-healing-center_logoThe Healing Center provides evidence-based peer support programs for children, teens and adults, serving more than 400 individuals annually. Creating a space to grieve – in the community of others – helps ensure children and teens have a place to express how they feel, find commonality with peers and learn to integrate grief into their lives productively. All groups are led by clinicians with Masters-level degrees and volunteer facilitators.

Building on their strong program model and 16+ years of serving the community, The Healing Center is embarking on an inclusive and culturally-responsive initiative to strengthen the availability of peer grief support groups for youth in Seattle and King County. The overall goal of their initiative is to create a Community Grief Network that will increase the availability of peer support groups within diverse communities. In turn, they seek to strengthen their peer support groups with enhanced cultural beliefs, values and traditions that will create a more inclusive model of grief support.

Their first outcome is to develop a formalized outreach and engagement strategy that will provide decentralized peer support groups for children and teens within diverse communities in Seattle and King County. The Healing Center will meet with culturally-specific nonprofit organizations to establish a framework for developing a shared language around grief within communities. In addition, they will work with existing partners in the region, including the Western Washington Kids Bereavement Network, where they lead an advisory group to bring together leaders and practitioners from the region to share best practices and convene regular meetings.

Their second outcome is to strengthen The Healing Center’s grief support programs for children and teens to be more inclusive of cultural beliefs, values, traditions and attitudes. This innovative program will help to expand their services to learn from specific cultural perspectives, while sharing their peer support model in the greater community.

 


Congratulations to both grant recipients, and thank you for your commitment to grieving children and families!

2016 Annual Luncheon Report

The Safe Crossings Foundation Annual Luncheon was a major success this year, thanks to our generous sponsors and donors! We had more than 600 guests and raised over $443,000 to benefit local grieving kids and their families.

While a child’s life will never be the same after the death of a loved one, these donations will positively impact how they experience grief, helping them to find a future with joy, security and all the possibilities each young person deserves.


 

Two families share their tales of love and loss in this poignant video created for the luncheon by White Noise Productions. Safe Crossings | Better Together from Safe Crossings Foundation on Vimeo.

The luncheon, which was held on Wednesday, October 26th, 2016, at the Seattle Sheraton, featured a wonderful selection of speakers, each of whom know personally the grief that follows the loss of a beloved family member, but who’ve also experienced healing in various ways within our local grief support community.

speakers-collage_web
  • Alex Szablya delivered a moving account of her family story, explaining how she and her children benefited from Safe Crossings-funded programs after her husband suddenly passed seven years ago.
  • John Richards, a morning DJ from 90.3 KEXP, described the importance of community and the expression of grief after losing a parent, as highlighted in his annual performances of The Mom Show (an on-air musical dedication “for everyone and everything we’ve lost and to always remember who and what we haven’t”), and Death and Music (a popular live show that honors loss through music). John was also the recipient of our 2016 Bridge to Healing Award for the work he has done to advance grief support in our city.
  • Colleen Robertson, Board President and daughter of our founder, described SCF’s recent expansion in services and staff by announcing our 2016 Grant Recipients: Forefront and The Healing Center, and welcoming our new Executive Director, Karen Schrantz.
  • Karen in turn expressed her admiration and hopes for SCF going forward, sending guests on their way with a sense of excitement for the growth of the organization and its work on behalf of grieving children.

ballroom-lunch_wide
As the program came to a close, we even sent two lucky raffle winners home with these great prizes:

  • Two round-trip tickets from Alaska Airlines
  • A four-day cottage vacation at Veranda Beach Resort at Lake Osoyoos, Washington

Safe Crossings Foundation, in partnership with other fantastic organizations, is honored to help such families as Alex’s, the Mohans, the Pareja-Ortegas and many more, made possible only by the generosity of our donors and corporate sponsors.

To all involved, thank you for making this such a wonderful afternoon. Above all, we, the staff and board of Safe Crossings Foundation, are humbled and grateful for the support we received from you, our community, to continue to bring help to grieving kids in need.


 

To our amazing sponsors, we could never have pulled this massive event off without you!

Champion Sponsors

LabCorp, Nintendo of America, Peoples Injury Network Northwest, Swedish and Providence Heath & Services, Wizards of the Coast

Gold Sponsors

Auburn Mechanical Inc., Clark Construction Group LLC, Cochran, First Choice Health, Hermanson Company, MacDonald-Miller, Mortenson Construction, Pacific Project Management, Perkins Coie, Schnitzer West, Sellen Construction, Stoneway Concrete, Valley Electric Company, Williams Kastner

Silver Sponsors 

Alaska Air Group Inc., Anning-Johnson Inc., Cigna, DBM Contractors, ISEC Inc., Johnson Controls Inc., McClone Construction Company, McKinstry, Modern Construction Services LLC, R.C. Hedreen Company, Sabey Corporation, University Mechanical Contractors Inc., West Monroe Partners

Bronze Sponsors

Aetna, Alliant Employee Benefits, Apollo Mechanical Constractors, Bennett Bigelow & Leedom P.S., Delta Dental of Washington, Group Health Cooperative, Holmes Electric, The Nathanson Group PLLC, United HealthCare

 

Thank you to Alaska Airlines and Veranda Beach Resort for the raffle prize donations, to Darigold and Cougar Mountain Baking Company for the Better Together table center pieces, and to Fran’s Chocolates for table captain and volunteer gifts!

We’re also grateful for our wonderful table captains, volunteers and luncheon committee members. Thank you for everything you did to help make this event a success.

Meet Our New Executive Director!

karen_headshotPlease join us in welcoming our new Executive Director, Karen Schrantz. We are thrilled that she has joined us during this exciting time of growth at Safe Crossings Foundation!

Karen comes to us with nearly twenty years of experience in the private and public sectors as a mediator, facilitator, educator, and executive director. Karen’s passion is to unite vision, energy and enthusiasm in bringing partners together to advance Safe Crossings Foundation’s mission.

She received a BA in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton, a teaching degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Texas, a Master of Public Administration degree from the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington, and a specialty certificate from the UW’s Non-Profit Executive Leadership Institute.

Karen was drawn to the work of Safe Crossings Foundation because of its compelling service mission, established reputation, and vision for growth. She has a passion for transforming family and community relationships. Karen continues to be inspired by the capacity of education and support services to heal hearts and restore joy, honor loss and celebrate life.

Away from work, Karen enjoys running, yoga, horseback riding, and spending time outdoors with her husband, daughter, son and dogs.

If she hasn’t yet had a chance to meet or chat with with you, Karen would love the opportunity! Please feel free to reach out to say hello to her at karen@safecrossingsfoundation.org or 206.652.4723.