Definition of ANNIVERSARY by Merriam-Webster:
1: the annual recurrence of a date marking a notable event
2: the celebration of an anniversary
The Merriam-Webster defines “anniversary” as “The annual recurrence of a date marking a notable event”. This Friday we get to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Kara! 40 years of providing grief support and services is an amazing milestone and most certainly a notable event.
As part of the Kara 40th Anniversary planning committee I’ve been able to spend time with volunteers and staff and so many great folks who are passionate about Kara and the communities it serves.
For years, I hesitated in becoming involved with Kara. On several occasions friends had recommended their services to me. I declined, I just wasn’t ready to utilize the support services, but I found myself drawn to the mission and the support I saw others receiving. My grief still felt like a fresh wound and I didn’t want to probe it, but for some reason I wanted to stay close to Kara (just not too close). My friend Liz told me about Camp Erin, so I donated there over the years and read the Kara newsletters when they came and stayed connected at arm’s length.
Getting support from Kara doesn’t just happen while attending a peer support group or talking with a therapist or in a consultation. It is certainly all of those important things, but it’s also about being part of the Kara community.
It wasn’t until I joined the 40th Anniversary Committee that I got involved on a more personal level. And as a direct result of that, I reunited with a former student, I’ve made new friends, and I encouraged another friend to apply for the Board (she got appointed!). I started to get more comfortable with talking about the grief I felt and acknowledging it. I didn’t even realize that was happening, slowly, subtly, until I realized my fear had shifted some. Everything in due time, but if I hadn’t gotten involved with the committee and spent more time at Kara and with people who cared, I would still be sitting on the sidelines.
It’s been so fun and rewarding to help with the event planning and the details and to get excited about the event! I’m so looking forward to hearing Sheryl Sandberg share her story, it’s clearly a highlight. But I also learned what a wine pull is (it’s going to be great, I’ll try not to out pull anyone!); I learned how much work goes into securing raffle prizes and auction items (thanks to the folks who did that heavy lifting!); and I also learned that marketing is not my strong suit!
Most of all I learned that getting support from Kara doesn’t just happen while attending a peer support group or talking with a therapist or in a consultation. It is certainly all of those important things, but it’s also about being part of the Kara community. My involvement in the planning committee has shown me that. Over the last 40 years the outreach has grown, the services have evolved and Kara continues to have a significant impact on the communities and people they serve and support. I’m so glad to be a part of the Kara community.
So thank you Kara, for 40 years of Care, Compassion, Connection and Community. Here’s to the next 40!
40th Anniversary Celebration Committee Member