A fun and safe place for grieving children.

A History that Continues to Unfold

Meet Chris Greim, a 6-year volunteer for Comfort Zone and one of the founders of the popular Polar Plunge fundraiser in Massachusetts.  The Polar Plunge has raised tens of thousands of dollars for Comfort Zone in the past 6 years, raising both funds to help keep programs free to families and awareness of camp in the region.

 

How long have you been a part of Comfort Zone? And what roles you’ve held?   
I have been part of Comfort Zone since 2009, and have been a Big Buddy, floater, and served in the Nurse/Paramedic Role, as well as helping out with several trainings (which I love doing!)

 

What first brought you to Comfort Zone Camp?
My introduction was through an e-mail someone "tossed out on the table." I contacted (Massachusetts’ Regional Development Officer) Sue Oppici and the rest is a wonderful history that continues to unfold.

 

What keeps you coming back?
The children, their resiliency, their compassion for each other, the selflessness of the other volunteers, the fact that with each camp experience I learn and grow as an adult in my own grief journey, and most importantly the hugs! There's no way to explain Comfort Zone Camp – you have to experience it. When I talk about Comfort Zone to others I try and convey how simply phenomenal these kids are and how much I've learned from them and continue to learn.

 

Everyone has the same reaction when they hear of a death, whether it's someone they know or not. When they hear that children were left behind, the reaction is even worse often times followed by "I wish there was something I could do." Well, now there is and I wish there was a way to reach more people. I know an awful lot of people who have said I wish I knew about Comfort Zone when my loved one died. Sadly death brings us all together and it will never end, but I am honored and proud to be a very tiny part of the bigger picture in someone’s grief journey.

 

 

Why should others get involved with Comfort Zone and hold their own fundraiser?
As far as fundraising with Comfort Zone, it doesn't get much easier. People can simply make a donation, or have a party, or anything else that you think people would enjoy. People don't need to give thousands of dollars – every penny helps.

 

My own kids and their friends have colored and sold rocks on the beach and donated what they take in, unsolicited by me or anyone else. When people hear that the donations will help a child, it tugs at their heart strings, specifically with regards to the polar plunge. When Tania called me after our first camp she said, “Let’s do a fundraiser." Without hesitation, I said, “Sure. What do you have in mind?”

 

She suggested a polar plunge. I had been doing a New Year’s Day swim with the fire department for years and told her that would be a lot of fun. We added the element of the after-swim gathering as a way for people to come together and hang out and quite honestly spend more money in the form of raffles and auctions.

 

I had no idea at the time that 5 years later we would still be doing this, nor did I expect to have the results we did. (This year’s event raised nearly $9,000.) People showed up, jumped in the Cape Cod Bay in February and the rest is history. It's always evolving, and changing, and I hope to continue for many years to come.

 

My dream would be that at one of our plunges (maybe the 10th) that we would have a representative from each Comfort Zone office join us. We just have to get through four more and the 10th anniversary will be epic.

 

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