Since my husband’s death on November 15, 2008, I have devoted much of my time and energy to serving others in different ways through my loss. These last five years, it was primarily through The Matthew R. Row Scholarship Foundation, Inc. with help from my husband’s former co-workers.
Matt’s co-workers, who knew him for barely a year, devoted so much of the last ten years of their lives to our family, as well as others in our community who have experienced similar losses. These are the people that give us faith in humanity: Andrew Armitage, Scott Boyko, Kimberly Lewandowski, Kristin Leiby Ackerman, Kristal Gutowski, Jeffrey Brecker, Matt Prussein, Marty Laufer, Lana Lucca, Brad Bauer, Lynette Berg, Denis Donnelly, Gina Reagan, Jaim Pratyusha, John Koeppel, Noreen Wojtasik, to name a few… There are more volunteers not named, as well as faithful participants of the annual Run For Row 5K, friends, family, sponsors, and so many others. To ALL of you, we are forever grateful for your time, love, efforts and generosity. We are also very thankful for all of the support and love from not just those in our community, but around the country by friends and family that made it possible for us to be able to give so much.
It has been such a rewarding experience to give our attention to kids in WNY who like mine, lost a parent/guardian. Unfortunately, we will not be providing scholarships going forward. It was a very difficult decision for us to discontinue the Foundation, however we are grateful for what we have been able to do for high school seniors who’ve lost a parent in WNY, as well as for widowed people in our area. Between 2016 and 2019, we were able to give $32,500 in college scholarships, and $4,000 in Camp Widow® registrations (Camp Widow® is an event that is an inclusive, secular weekend event focused on hope and healing through the grieving process for those who have lost a spouse/partner [www.campwidow.org]).
We will keep our Facebook page active for The Matthew R. Row Scholarship Foundation, Inc. in order to continue offering any resources we come across that could be helpful for anyone who has experienced a significant loss. Anyone with questions about such support are able to contact us through this page.
I will also continue facilitating a support group for local widowed people through Soaring Spirits International (www.soaringspirits.org). Our group has bi-monthly meetings and can be found on Facebook by searching “Soaring Spirits Regional Group - Buffalo.” There is also a group located in the Southtowns now as well.
In addition, I am also assisting people in our community by offering a service called Grief Reiki (www.bridgetobalancellc.com) which is helpful for anyone, but especially for those who are grieving a loss of any kind. Reiki is a form of energy healing for adults AND children, and addresses the connection of the mind, body and spirit. It is a natural evolution for me to offer this as an extension of the work I’ve already been doing for years with grief support, my lifelong interests, and a way to help provide for my own little family.
Thank you to all the Guidance Counselors in our Western New York high schools who have passed along our information to your students who have lost a parent/guardian. We are grateful for your help in spreading the word, and would be so appreciative if you would continue to do so- not for the purpose of distributing scholarships this time, but for the purpose of offering support to your students and their families, as well as anyone else you might know who needs it. Perhaps even yourself.
With love and hope,
Andrea R. Row