MANKATO — One Bright Star says they’re ready to take this thing national.
The group, which provides support for families who have lost a child, has a decade of success under its belt. Now they say they’re ready to help grieving families in other communities.
“We’ve been contacted by several people who want to work up the support to get something going,” said Sue Ostendorf, executive director of One Bright Star.
Among the communities looking for help getting something going are Minneapolis and Flagstaff, Ariz. Ostendorf envisions a situation where chapters are established around the country in the same way Habitat for Humanity chapters are set up.
One Bright Star was founded by four mothers, each of whom had lost a child. Their most visible accomplishment is the monument in Ray Erlandson Park, a brick-by-brick reminder of just how many children have been lost in our community.
The memorial, the grief journals they provide free of charge to grieving families and the online forum for families to connect with other families are all a part of what One Bright Star does for community.
Now they want to take this model and see if it can help others.
To help it along, though, they’re on the hunt for a national spokesperson who can champion the cause and bring publicity and awareness to the work they’re doing.
Getting that spokesperson has, so far, been a challenge.
“We’ve got several people in mind who have lost a child, but we’re having trouble getting through that gatekeeper,” she said. “We’re going to hire a publicity company to help us search for a national spokesperson.”
The need for a group like this is as crucial today as it was when it started in 1998.
“What people don’t realize is parents don’t want to forget their child and they never will,” she said.
In other One Bright Star news, the group is considering discontinuing its Starlight Gala. The last one they did was in February, which was the 10th annual. The group may replace the gala with a more casual event, possibly a casino night with a silent auction.
Their most recent fundraiser, a golf tournament, raised more than $8,000 — $2,500 from a matching donation from the Mankato Modern Woodmen.