PORTLAND — A record-setting 700 community members flocked to Brick South at Thompson’s Point in February to celebrate the Center for Grieving Children at the annual Love Really Counts: Auction & Dinner Gala. The center’s largest fundraising event of the year, this year records were set with a historic number of guests, raising $330,000 to support free grief support services provided to families for as long as needed.
Guests were greeted by the theme of Havana Nights, with live music played during the silent auction by Primo Cubano, and complimentary mojitos courtesy of Stroudwater Distillery. Pine State Trading Company provided complimentary wine to accompany a Cuban dinner catered by Blue Elephant Catering and Events.
The evening was hosted by News Center Maine Anchor and Center for Grieving Children Board Member, Cindy Williams, who shared the story of Board President Dr. Ed
Tumavicus. Dr. Tumavicus of Maine Medical Partners, with his daughters Lucy, and Grace, spoke about the loss of his wife and their mother, Amy. Ed and his girls found the Center, and attended weekly peer support groups.
Dr. Tumavicus describes it as, “The weird magic of the Center. You just know this place is different. I always walked out of there feeling a little stronger, a little more resilient.” And what is this resilience? The Center’s Executive Director, Anne Heros, shared, “Our program evaluation demonstrates a significant increase in protective factors for children and families that help make them more resilient in the face of grief and loss – especially in the areas of belonging, hopefulness, and family support.”
The Live Auction kicked off with Mike Carey of Tranzon Properties, and guests bid on packages ranging from concerts, sporting events, and getaways – including a first class trip for two to Ireland. Midway through the auction, Mike called up Dr. Tumavicus and his daughters for a special announcement during the Sponsor a Child portion of the evening. By raising a bidder paddle, guests pledged to donate $100 or more to the Center. $100 provides one month of program support for one child. The room came alive as paddles went up in the air. The evening concluded with dancing and live music from Primo Cubano.
The Center would like to thank all of our sponsors, including: Our lead Love sponsor, IDEXX Laboratories; Joy sponsors: Tex-Tech Industries, and WEX,
Resilience sponsors: David M. Banks Real Estate Team, and Patrons Oxford Insurance, Compassion sponsors: Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, Jim Godbout Plumbing & Heating, New England Cancer Specialists, Verrill Dana, and Peer Support sponsors: Bernstein Shur, Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Homes, Gorham Savings Bank, InterMed, Jones, Rich & Barnes, Machias Savings Bank, Oakhurst Dairy, and Saco & Biddeford Savings Bank.
The Center also would like to recognize AV & Experience Sponsor: Headlight Audio Visual, Media Sponsor Maine Magazine, and In-Kind Sponsors: Joe Bornstein, Pine State Trading, Stroudwater Distillery, Transformit, and Tranzon.
About the Center for Grieving Children
For children and families confronting loss, change, and grief when someone close to them dies or is seriously ill, the Center for Grieving Children is an oasis of loving support where it’s safe to talk about feelings and experiences. Free of charge, the Center’s age-specific peer support groups are available weekly in Portland and Sanford. In partnership with Portland Public Schools, the Center also offers peer support for children resettled locally from countries suffering violent conflict or natural disaster. Additional peer support groups are available foryoung adults, bereaved parents, and widows/widowers/partners. Community outreachnthroughout the year brings the Center’s training, information, and crisis support to schools, workplaces, and other organizations. Trained volunteers make the Center’s services possible. Founded in 1987, the Center serves more than 4,000 people annually, and depends on funding from individuals, businesses, foundations, and United Way.
TO LEARN MORE about the Center for Grieving Children, their calendar of events, and how you can get involved, please visit them online at www.cgcmaine.org or call
775-5216. Follow them on Facebook to see highlights from the evening’s event.