By Maria Papandreou, One Summit Senior Manager of Development & Communications
It was recently announced that Tufts Children's Hospital would be closing its doors this July. This news hit us hard at One Summit, and we sprang into action to host a Climb for Courage to celebrate the patients, child-life specialists, and the special relationship we have with them one last time.
A group of 15 patients and siblings, 9 Navy SEAL mentors, and 6 Team Leaders and volunteers gathered at Central Rock in Watertown on April 2nd for a day filled with conquering the rock walls and overcoming personal limitations. The excitement that filled the room as our newest little warriors walked through the gauntlet of Navy SEALs, parents, and volunteers was palpable. We all knew it was going to be a magical day.
The children were united with their mentor and team leader for the day and set off to create new friendships and build resilience. I once again was fortunate to be able to step into the role of a Team Leader and witness first-hand the impact the day has on all warriors, little and big! For the little warriors, it's a day to be kids again, alongside their siblings and clinic friends. They get to have some good ole fun! For the grown-up warriors, it's a day to give back and use their skills to support post-traumatic growth in these brave little kids and themselves as well. Every moment of the day was special, from the first few steps up the rock walls to making it to the top! We celebrated all victories with enthusiasm and were in awe of this courageous group of warriors.
In addition to climbing, we were delighted to have Kendra Cares join us for the first time. Kendra Cares is a creative arts program provided by jeweler Kendra Scott. The program's goal is to do good by lifting the spirits of both pediatric patients and their caregivers through the gift of customized jewelry. Kendra Scott Events & Philanthropy Lead Joy Saunders said, "I can say with all confidence that it was the ultimate privilege to introduce Kendra Cares at the recent Climb for Courage. We've had very few opportunities throughout the pandemic to bring the magic of the Color Bar™ experience to our hospital partners, so it was an extra special treat to help the warriors, parents, SEALs, and team leaders make pieces, and memories, together. We hope the necklaces, bracelets, and earrings they created will serve as a tangible reminder of what One Summit mentorship means to them!" Our little warriors truly did enjoy making pieces for themselves or their caregivers. They expressed their creative sides and loved wearing their Kendra capes as they continued with the day as true superheroes!
One of our SEAL mentors organized another welcome break in the day, and Chick-fil-A Framingham and Chick-fil-A Plymouth graciously provided catering. The kids enjoyed chowing down and chatting with each other and their mentors. Receiving treatment during the COVID Pandemic was even tougher on the kids and their families than in pre-pandemic times. They could not gather at the hospital as in the past, so Climb for Courage gave them the chance to be together finally. This type of community support is needed and healing.
Our mission's impact can be seen in the feedback received from families and mentors immediately after the climb. The following testimonials strengthen our commitment to improving outcomes for our resilient little warriors with year-round support.
Thank you so much for having this program! Especially with the pandemic going on for so long, it was wonderful to feel connected again with people who ‘get’ us. My children also needed to feel empowered, and the climb did that as well as give them the opportunity to be mentored by true heroes. Doing the Climb for Courage gave a much-needed boost to their self-esteem. – Parent
It’s a great opportunity to help a community in need and it’s personally rewarding to know that you’re having a positive effect on the world. – Navy SEAL Mentor
Loved everything about it. All details were phenomenal. It is exactly what my kids needed and loved. So much attention to detail to make the day and experience terrific! – Parent
Seeing children so young show so much resilience and perseverance is an inspiration to be a better SEAL and person. – Navy SEAL Mentor
Thank you to Tufts Children's Hospital, Central Rock Watertown, Chick-fil-A, and Kendra Scott's Kendra Cares Program for helping us deliver this resilience-building experience for a special group of little warriors!
Are you interested in participating in an upcoming Climb for Courage? Apply on our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!