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For the children

Fayetteville native to run Boston Marathon on behalf of children’s bereavement center

Kay Rossi is running the 2014 Boston Marathon for The Children’s Room in Boston. So far, she’s raised almost $5,400, but hopes to bring in $7,000 for The Children’s Room by race day on April 21. She's pictured here in 2004 at the beginning of her first-ever race, the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC.

Kay Rossi is running the 2014 Boston Marathon for The Children’s Room in Boston. So far, she’s raised almost $5,400, but hopes to bring in $7,000 for The Children’s Room by race day on April 21. She's pictured here in 2004 at the beginning of her first-ever race, the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC. Photo courtesy of Kay Rossi

— “I’d never done anything like it before and really had no idea what to expect,” Rossi said. “Before you become a volunteer, you have to go through an intense grief counseling training program, and after the first day there, I thought, ‘Wow!’ My mind was totally blown and it was an incredible experience. I immediately knew this was something that I needed to do with my life.”

During the years she spent volunteering at The Children’s Room, Rossi learned how to use visual arts, music, dance, creative writing and theater to help grieving children and teenagers express themselves freely.

“I think that’s one of the biggest aspects of the healing process, because children come in after having a huge loss in their lives and they’re grieving and not sure what’s going on,” Rossi said. “Here, they can come to a comfortable, safe space where they know they can relate to other people there.”

Rossi’s favorite part about volunteering there is seeing how the children transform over the course of the year as they grow and heal after being confused and unsure how to handle their grief. In fact, she enjoyed her time volunteering at The Children’s Room so much that she went back to school to get her master’s degree in expressive therapies and mental health counseling last fall so that she can continue to do that kind of work on a full-time basis.

However, Rossi had to give up volunteering when she started school last August because she couldn’t make the time commitment to the center. And when she first heard about The Children’s Room’s “Miles and Memories” Team, which would consist of 15 people who would be running the 2014 Boston Marathon to benefit The Children’s Room, she knew she had to join.

“It was something I had to do – I had to keep giving back to The Children’s Room,” she said. “I’m not volunteering this year and that place changed my life, I just had to do it.”

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