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May 26, 2022

Grief and Gratitude

A reflection on recent events

Dear community,

I wanted to reach out to you and share that we are holding space for this community as we learn the details of another tragedy in our country. We add the grief of innocent lives cut short in Uvalde, Texas, to the grief that we are still processing of the shocking loss of program youth Xavier and his younger sister Kayleana earlier this month. We will hold a special place in our hearts for the light and love they shared with our FriendsPDX family.

These events impact each of us in so many ways. It is not lost on us that many of our staff work in and around schools and may feel anxious and maybe even afraid. I know many people are understandably worried about sending their own kids to school. The youth we walk alongside may be feeling unsafe going to school. Let’s give each other grace and support as we continue to navigate so much grief both near and far.

Organization-wide, we are providing grief spaces, resources on talking with youth about grief, and grief-specific training for our staff.

As we face these heartbreaking tragedies, let’s find some comfort in knowing that the work of FriendsPDX, with the support of friends like you, is investing in the lives of young people, giving them insight into their incredible worth and opportunities to be truly celebrated, and a safe space to develop into themselves. In a very challenging world, this matters so much. You all are contributing to making this world a safer and brighter place. I hope that gives you just a moment of peace amid everything else you might be feeling.

In gratitude,

Traci Rossi
Executive Director
Friends of the Children - Portland