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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Guest Post: Maura & Sam

Today we are lucky enough to have Maura & Sam with us Guest Posting from Charlie's Kids - they are an amazing coupe who were willing to share with us all their story. Please take a moment to read this post, visit their site,  and feel free to leave comments in response on our Facebook page

When my husband, Sam, and I found out we were pregnant with our first son we were over the moon.  We couldn’t wait to share our pregnancy news with friends and family, and excitedly prepared for his arrival.  We read all the baby books, had half a dozen showers and spent copious amounts of time making sure his nursery was just perfect.
On April 6, 2010, we finally got to meet our sweet baby boy.  He was born a perfect, healthy bundle at 7 lbs. 11 oz.  We named him Charlie Paul.
My love for him grew deeper and stronger each time I held him, nursed him and sang to him.  I could stare for hours into those beautiful, trusting eyes.
We imagined Charlie’s life, and made plans.  We looked forward to zoo visits, baseball games and his first day of kindergarten.  But our dreams were cut short.  Three short weeks after welcoming our Charlie, he died, a victim of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS) and an unsafe sleep environment.
Like most new moms, I picked out a cute, new outfit each day, changed a bunch of diapers, and tried desperately to remember all the words to the nursery rhymes and songs that brought me joy in my childhood.  I nursed him and rocked him, and worked hard to make sure my baby was happy, healthy and had a full belly.  I did everything, except sleep, and after three weeks complete exhaustion took over.
Sam, the ever-doting daddy, held Charlie that night so I could catch a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Tired, he laid on the couch with Charlie, the perfect picture of sleep-deprived father and son.  It wasn’t unusual; we so often see this photo on Facebook — baby asleep on dad’s chest, dad sound asleep too.  Sam woke up, Charlie didn’t.
We now know: this sleepy snuggle is actually dangerous for our babies.  Co-sleeping and tummy sleeping are two of the leading risk factors for SIDS, and this includes those innocent naps on the couch or accidentally falling asleep after nursing in the night. So, when trying to calm a newborn at 2 a.m., or sneaking a few extra zzz’s during the day, think of our Charlie. We want you to know that your baby is safest on his or her back, alone in the crib. This has become one of our life missions.
There is nothing that can take our pain away, but trying to prevent other families from living this same nightmare offers some sense of purpose as we move forward in our grief.
With that goal in mind, on April 6, 2011 – Charlie’s first birthday – Charlie’s Kids Foundation was established.  Our mission was clear: to raise awareness and support of SIDS by educating families, providing resources for new parents and promoting dialogue about SIDS and safe sleep practices.
In just a few short years we have been able to see long term dreams become a real working reality.  With our unique backgrounds – me, a kindergarten teacher with a Masters in Reading, and Sam, a pediatric cardiologist with a passion for advocacy –  we knew when we started our foundation that we wanted to use children’s books to spread the safe sleep message.
Today we could not be more proud of our very own Charlie’s Kids bedtime book, Sleep Baby Safe and Snug, written by pediatrician Dr. John Hutton.  Based on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Safe Sleep Recommendations, we know this little book is having a huge impact, as it is being heard, remembered and read over and over again by parents and caregivers to their little ones.
Sleep Baby Safe and Snug provides the safe sleep message in the context of a beautifully written and illustrated children’s story.  Because books are often part of the traditional bedtime routine, this book provides safe sleep instructions and reminders right before the child is placed in their sleeping environment.
With this small but mighty book we have partnered with organizations across the country helping to spread this most important safe sleep message.
And, in doing so, Charlie continues to be a big part of our family and everyday lives. We talk about him. We include him in our family pictures. His name is on our Christmas card. We always tell people we have three children. Through Charlie’s Kids, we believe Charlie is becoming a part of families across the country too. We know his too short life is making a big difference.
While their family is forever altered, Maura and Sam made Charlie a big brother upon the arrival of Owen Daniel in June 2011. They welcomed their third child, Annie Elizabeth, July 2013. They can’t wait to tell their children how their big brother has changed so many lives for the better.
Sleep Baby Safe and Snug is now available at select retailers in Cincinnati: The Blue Manatee, The Villager and Joseph Beth Booksellers.  It is also available online at Amazon.com.  If you are a member of a community organization, hospital or health department, please contact us at charlieskids.org for more details and special pricing.
Charlie's Kids Website:
Charlie's Kids on Facebook: 

If you would like to guest post with us this month it isn't too late, please send us a message via our Contact Us page.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Capture Your Grief - Day 18: Gratitude

Today I am most grateful for my kids. I am grateful that they are here to keep me going. It has been hard to watch what they have gone through at such young ages but I'm also grateful to see how resilient they are. They are the reason I got out of bed each morning after Gage died. I am grateful for everything they teach me. I learn from them each and every day. I'm most grateful for their innocence and how willing they are to show me how much they love me......I never get tired of their hugs and kisses! #captureyourgrief #whathealsyourheart

Capture Your Grief is a mindful healing project for anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child of any age or gestation. If you are not grieving the death of a child but a loved one and would like to raise awareness for the bereaved parents community, we welcome you to take part as well to help us spread the word about our community. For more information visit CarlyMarie Project Heal at  http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/2014/09/capture-your-grief-2014.html

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Capture Your Grief - Day 15: Community

I read a post today about pregnancy and infant loss Remembrance Day and how it's a day most don't know about until they experience a loss themselves. This is true in my case. I'm glad for all of the people I have met and crossed paths with along this journey. I have received so much support from strangers. I hope that I have also provided support to others along the way. Tonight we lit candles for Gage and all the other angels who returned home too soon. #captureyourgrief #whathealsyourheart

Capture Your Grief is a mindful healing project for anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child of any age or gestation. If you are not grieving the death of a child but a loved one and would like to raise awareness for the bereaved parents community, we welcome you to take part as well to help us spread the word about our community. For more information visit CarlyMarie Project Heal at  http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/2014/09/capture-your-grief-2014.html

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Capture Your Grief: Days 12-14

Day 12: Music
There are several pieces of music that I listen to that remind me of Gage. "Homesick" by MercyMe was played at his funeral and the words accurately describe how I feel.  I recently heard the song "Dancing In The Sky" and it has become one of my new favorites.

Day 13: Season
I associate winter with Gage.  All of my memories happened in February 2012.  He was born and died all in the same week.

Day 14: Dark/Light
Looking back I can say there have been both dark and light moments since Gage's passing.  There is so much tragedy/trauma that we experienced during this time.  I will never forget watching as the paramedics worked on my 3 day old son or seeing my older children hide behind the couch as Gage was rushed out of the house and to the hospital.  I will never forget watching as my baby was buried into the ground.  I will never forget the weeks and months that followed his death and the struggle we had as we tried to get back to our normal lives.  I will never forget the hundreds of questions that I am asked by three brothers who don't understand why their baby had to die.  I never experienced death or suffering as a child.  One of the hardest things is knowing what my three older children have experienced at such a young age and trying to help them deal with it as best as I know how.

Our son Lane is the light that has come into our lives since we lost Gage.  It was difficult not to worry throughout his entire pregnancy and especially when we first brought him home.  He has brought so much joy and happiness into our family.  I love to watch my boys interact and be so protective over him.  I feel like he has shown us how to truly smile again.  He has not and won't ever replace Gage but I also know that he wouldn't be with us if we hadn't lost Gage.  I am glad that we chose not to live the rest of our lives in fear and had faith that we wouldn't experience the same tragedy all over again. There will always be some darkness but I can honestly say there is a light of hope.  I now try to live my life remembering Gage and longing for the day that I will see him again. #captureyourgrief #whathealsyourheart

Capture Your Grief is a mindful healing project for anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child of any age or gestation. If you are not grieving the death of a child but a loved one and would like to raise awareness for the bereaved parents community, we welcome you to take part as well to help us spread the word about our community. For more information visit CarlyMarie Project Heal at  http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/2014/09/capture-your-grief-2014.html

Join the Wave of Light..

Join the Wave of Light tomorrow! Don't forget tomorrow is October 15th - Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day. We invite everyone, wherever you live, to join us in lighting a candle at 7 PM to help remember all of our Angels. Help us by sharing this image:


Friday, October 10, 2014

Capture Your Grief Day 10 - Support


I have always felt support during my grief journey.  I immediately blamed myself after Gage's death. He was sleeping with me and I was the one who found him but was unable to save him. I hate reliving that Saturday morning. My husband was and continues to be my greatest support.  Our relationship has been strained but definitely strengthened throughout this journey. I can understand how so many relationships are broken after such a loss, a loss no one should have to endure.  My husband has supported my want/need to start GAGE and share our story even though it may not have been important to his grief journey. I wouldn't be where I am today without him.

We have always been lucky to have great support from family and friends. We have changed since losing our son but have always felt accepted. The comments that are sometimes hurtful are usually said from people trying to provide comfort but  don't know the words to say.  I have been told on multiple occasions that it is probably easier to deal with the loss of our newborn in comparison to an older child because I didn't get to see much of Gage's personality or make many memories with him. I'm to a point that I can hear comments like this and not scream at the person but in my mind I'm thinking that those moments were robbed from me. I won't get to hear his laugh, his first word, see his first steps and every other milestone/memory that we could have made if he were here longer.  I often feel sorry for that person who makes those comments because I don't think many people understand what this journey is like until you are living it yourself. #captureyourgrief #whathealsyourheart


Day 10: SUPPORT. Have you felt supported in your grief journey? If so, where did that support come from. Was it from who you expected? Were you surprised by the support or lack of support you received. How would you suggest people could support those grieving, better? If you feel disappointed that your loved ones are not supporting you in the way you need, have a think about why that is. Sometimes when we stop to think about ‘why’ instead of just focusing on the negative emotions of disappointment that we feel, we discover reasons why those people cannot or could not support us. It could be that our story brings up painful memories for them. They could actually just be really insensitive or maybe there is more to it and they just had no idea how to help you and the fear of upsetting you even more was too great. Have you communicated your needs to that person? So many people, when asked that question say, no. Sometimes it is because they didn’t know what they needed at the time or it is because we subconsciously believe that our friends and family should know exactly what to do, when really, they cannot read our minds. Share thoughts about support and maybe send out some love to the rest of your community members as well.
Capture Your Grief is a mindful healing project for anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child of any age or gestation. If you are not grieving the death of a child but a loved one and would like to raise awareness for the bereaved parents community, we welcome you to take part as well to help us spread the word about our community. For more information visit CarlyMarie Project Heal at  http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/2014/09/capture-your-grief-2014.html

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Capture Your Grief Day 9 - In Memory

We created our non-profit organization God's Angels Gone Early in memory of our son Gage.  I have felt great comfort in making kits and donating them to local facilities in Gage's memory.  The kits we donate contain a homemade blanket, outfit, homemade hat/headband, journal, "remember" magnet and a packet of Forget-Me-Not seeds.  All of these items brought me comfort shortly after we lost Gage.  I am grateful to all of the people who donate items, money and their time to help make this organization a reality.

I have been given a few pieces of jewelry that help me remember Gage.  I am so grateful for these gifts.  I was given a matching necklace and bracelet from my aunt that was made from rose petals from Gage's funeral flowers.  My husband also had a necklace made for me which helps me to remember Gage. #captureyourgrief #whathealsyourheart



Day 9: IN MEMORY. There is such a deep-rooted yearning that we feel when our beloved children die. This yearning hurts but it also inspires us to get creative to do something in memory of our children. Have you done anything in memory of your child? Maybe it is something your created for them. A tattoo or a piece of jewelry. Did you create a garden? Maybe you created an organization or a charity benefit. Maybe you took up a new practice. A new hobby. Writing, painting, dancing, reading. Share away.
Capture Your Grief is a mindful healing project for anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child of any age or gestation. If you are not grieving the death of a child but a loved one and would like to raise awareness for the bereaved parents community, we welcome you to take part as well to help us spread the word about our community. For more information visit CarlyMarie Project Heal at  http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/2014/09/capture-your-grief-2014.html