This month is dedicated to the core themes of our agency: showing care and compassion for others, making connections, and building community. With dates and causes like Black History Month, Valentine’s Day (2/14), President’s Day (2/19), and Be Humble Day (2/22), February expands on the notion of love and human connection!
Our February news edition includes a volunteer spotlight on Natalie Rumao, updates on our program service offerings, and exciting information about our “Funtastic” Spring Fundraiser – Both Sides Now! Be sure to read on to learn more about what’s coming up.
Kara Spotlight: Natalie Rumao
Our Kara volunteer spotlight regularly highlights individuals from within the Kara community who empower our mission. This month’s spotlight is on Natalie Rumao, our social media consultant and content manager. Working closely with Kara’s development team, Natalie prepares and publishes Kara’s information, articles, and support resources to the public via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. She is also an excellent photographer who has added significantly to Kara’s image library for special events and celebrations. Thank You Natalie!
How did you get involved in Kara?
I graduated from Northwestern University and moved to the Bay Area in 2012 as a journalist and digital media consultant. I wanted to find a place where I could volunteer my skills and give back to my new community. After losing my father in 2007, I felt especially called to help support people going through personal experiences with grief and loss. I received a great deal of support when my dad died, which helped me realize that I wasn’t alone in my feelings of sadness. I wanted to share my experiences of hope with others who were feeling isolated and alone in their grief.
I found Kara’s mission and guiding principles to be the perfect fit for the volunteer opportunities I was seeking. The staff at Kara took time to get to know me, my interests, and my skills. They helped me find ways to use my experience in writing and journalism to help create interesting and inspiring digital media offerings that support Kara’s mission. I am inspired daily by Kara’s programs and outreach to help foster hope and healing within the grieving community.
What have you learned over the years as a Kara volunteer?
I’ve had the honor of attending many Kara events to take photographs and create content for the organization’s social media communications. It is always powerful for me to be in the room with people who so deeply understand grief experiences and who find ways to offer hope in the midst of despair. Through the sharing of stories and personal experiences, Kara encourages people to open up about their feelings. Kara’s volunteer counselors make a real difference in peoples’ lives and that gives me hope.
I have also learned about grief and support services through the reading of thousands of articles and stories that help me create and share content with the Kara community. These readings teach me that each person has a unique journey in the grief process, but there are aspects and perspectives of the experience that link us together and help us resonate with one another.
What would you tell someone who asks you about volunteering with or donating to Kara?
When I began volunteering with Kara several years ago, I felt like I became a valued part of the organization. I am inspired when I think about the thousands of people whom Kara has touched, and how those people then interact in their own circles of friends and family in a way that builds connection and spreads Kara’s core value of empathy. That’s an amazing effect of Kara’s work. It surprises me that my own grief never really goes away, but I find that my connection and work with Kara helps provide some weekly space in my life to reflect and be thankful for my personal growth.
Tell us about your other interests and passions in life, and how they relate to Kara.
I absolutely love music and am currently taking guitar lessons. I learned to play a piece called “Traveling Song” by Ryn Weaver, and I played and sang the song at my wedding in honor of my dad. I would love to create an online playlist of music about remembrance, hope, and healing, and to include songs that resonate with people who volunteer at Kara or who are Facebook followers of Kara. Listening to a shared playlist could bring meaning and healing to others who are facing grief and loss. When I think about inspiring that kind of hope and transformation, it makes me feel a lot better, too.
Saturday, April 28, 2018, 4pm – 7pm
Mitchell Park Community Center, Palo Alto
Drop-In Group for Parental Loss – begins March 22nd
Saturday, March 31 at 1:30pm. In this first Caregivers Forum of 2018, we will review the role of a caregiver, what you can do to be more effective in that role and offer some strategies for how, as a caregiver, you can cultivate the practical skills needed to care for yourself! Sign Up Here
Compassion Cultivation Training Starts April 5th
In this 8-week course taught by Robert Cusick, you’ll learn new skills to cultivate compassion, discover what blocks it and new ways to access and respond to the unending demands and needs that are increasingly a part of our professional and ‘daily life’ experience.
CCT (Compassion Cultivation Training™) is a course developed in the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University School of Medicine. It was designed to cultivate the qualities of compassion, empathy, and kindness in and for oneself and others. It combines traditional contemplative practices with contemporary psychology, scientific research and experiential processes that can help you to both allow and understand the many different ways compassion and empathy can be experienced — in order to lead a more compassionate life.
What’s Next? A Reinvention Workshop after Spouse Loss
On Friday, April 20, 2018, Kara will offer a special workshop focused on the theme of reinvention after Spouse Loss. Designed for widows and widowers at least one year out from their loss, this half day workshop (9:00 am – 12:30 pm) will be held in Palo Alto at the Kara office. Led by Kara peer-support volunteers, this workshop will address such questions as, “Who am I now?” and “What do I want in my life going forward?”
There is a suggested donation of $50. To find out more about or to register for the workshop, please call our office at 650-321-5272 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PARTNER & ADVOCACY CORNER
We are GRATEFUL for YOU!
A very special thank you this month goes out to Emily Benatar Foundation, Atkinson Foundation and the Alberta Kimball Foundation. Their partnerships and generous grants make a real difference in the lives of grieving children, families, and adults in our community. THANK YOU!