It's so hard to believe it has been almost eight years since losing Mario. When Mario died I struggled with knowing there was so much more he wanted to do with his life. So, when I received the opportunity to form the Sugar Bear Foundation I ran with it. I consider the foundation a gift! It's the perfect forum for us to continue what Mario set out to do with his life; to serve and give back. It also gives me the opportunity to extend all the love and support my children and I have received to other Gold Star families.
What started out as us hosting some events in breweries to raise funds and awareness for programs that support military surviving spouses and children has grown and I feel so blessed. Thanks to our friends at RF-LAMBDA we now have a memorial scholarship in Sugar Bear's name. We are additionally working with RF-LAMBDA on a local internship and STEM program.
We have also joined forces with the MCRD Command Museum (Family Forever Program for San Diego Gold Star Families) on several events and projects, such as a women's forum and gift card program. The women's forum will bring Gold Star, active duty wives and female veterans together for a series of workshops that will focus on transition, resiliency and living a truly fulfilling life. The forum will provide a relaxed atmosphere with the intent of fostering new friendships, honest discussions, and support.
The gift card program will provide assistance to San Diego Gold Star spouses who are preparing their children to return to school. This process can be expensive when purchasing school supplies, uniforms, and other school-related needs and we want to not only help relieve that burden but let these families know we honor their sacrifice as well as daily challenges.
Within the coming months, the Sugar Bear Foundation will be launching a national grant and internship program. Our goal is to assist surviving spouses and children with their financial needs and career goals. We feel these are critical areas Sugar Bear would deem vital and services that are needed. Our mission has expanded and I am grateful for the opportunities and support we are receiving. For me, my life has drastically changed. I have been presented with a beautiful new path. One in which I am carrying Mario's spirit in all that we do. Although I have a renewed sense of purpose, Mario continues to serve as my inspiration.
This year, on the eighth anniversary of Mario's death, we have the honor of working with the Marine Corps Association Foundation on a virtual run that will honor Mario's legacy while raising funds for programs that support Marines, surviving spouses, and children. We hope you will join us as we celebrate his life and continue his legacy of service. CLICK HERE for more information.
Thank you for your interest in the Sugar Bear Foundation, our hero and that of the lives of the survivors we support. If you are interested in learning more about any of the above initiatives, would like to support or have an idea, please do not hesitate to contact me. More information is coming regarding the launch of our new programs.