The crowd at this year’s Art of the Vine fundraiser was touched by Pam Saffran’s words as she talked about the scholarship honoring her late husband, Dr. Alan J. Saffran. She shared that the passion Alan had for education was the reason behind the decision she and their children had for creating such a fund. As they were grieving his death, Pam, Miles, Nat and Bella learned about New Hope for Kids’ mission to help grieving children. It felt like the perfect fit as it would offer help for college when the possibility of attending might have seemed impossible after their loss.
This year’s recipients were exceptional, and their applications were impressive. Tamari Miller, New Hope for Kids’ Grief Program Director, proudly introduced this year’s recipients as each received their $2,000 scholarship check. All four had come to us as very young grieving children, and she witnessed their transformations personally.
Blake Anderson was in the 3rd grade when his dad died. He knew, even at 9 years old, that the only way to get past life’s difficult situations was to work hard and do your best, no matter how hopeless it may seem. He attended New Hope’s grief support groups consistently with his mother and sister, and also participated in our grief camp. Blake eventually became a New Hope volunteer, following the example set by his family who have been selflessly offering their hearts and hands whenever possible.
Travis Ayson was 8 years old when he joined the New Hope for Kids’ family after the death of his mother. He shared that no one could replace mom, but he is grateful to this day for the motherly figures who made a positive impact on his life. Travis also recognized the difference New Hope’s grief support made for his family, and wishes to share his experience with others who are struggling with similar tragedies and hopefully lead them towards a brighter path.
Bella Drew’s father died when she was just 6 years old. She and her brother attended our grief support groups for kids, with mom in the adult support group. Bella also attended our summer grief camp, Camp Ray of Hope. As a young adult seeking a college education, Bella chose psychology as her major, sharing that this decision was directly connected to her experiences after her father’s death. The support she received during that difficult, confusing time helped her see how important it is to have help available when life’s struggles feel too hard to manage on your own.
Kelly Dwyer, her sister, and their mother were committed participants in their grief support groups at New Hope for Kids. Kelly was only 7 years old when her dad died, but she has very strong connections to him to this day. She recalls looking forward to Wednesday nights at New Hope every week, where memories were made stronger and coping skills were learned. It wasn’t an easy process, and her healing continues to this day, but Kelly is determined to do great things with her life, and to continue to make her dad proud.
Blake, Travis, Bella and Kelly, you each have a lot to be proud of. You persevered in the face of adversity and worked hard to get where you are today. New Hope for Kids is very proud to name you as the recipients of the 2021 Dr. Alan J Saffran Scholarship awards.