The choice is yours

Our website uses cookies. Some are essential for the website to operate, and others are for enhancing site navigation, analytics, or personalised marketing purposes.

We respect your privacy, so you can choose to ‘accept’ or ‘deny’ non-essential cookies, or you can customise your preferences here. View our cookie policy for more information.

Back to Blog

2024 Mourning Glory Gala Co-Chairs on Creating a Place for Grievers to Belong

April 19, 2024
Kate's Club
2024 Mourning Glory Gala Co-Chairs on Creating a Place for Grievers to Belong
Get the latest in your inbox.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

“How many of those types of kids could there be?” Tam’ra’s boss wondered when she received an invitation to a happy hour fundraiser for Kate’s Club, a new organization that supported bereaved children.

That was more than 20 years ago, but Tam’ra still remembers her boss’s initial reaction, which contrasted starkly against her immediate interest. After all, Tam’ra and her then-boyfriend Ren had been two of those “types of kids.”

Ren and Tam’ra’s Personal Grief Journeys

Ren was nine years old and growing up in Jamaica when his father died. It was very sudden. He remembers waking up one morning to learn that his father was in the hospital. He then died later that week.

Tam’ra was seven, also in Jamaica, when her mom and dad were in an accident. Her mother was injured, and her father died.

Ren (left) and Tam'ra (right) with their dads

Not long after her father died, Tam’ra remembers a classmate’s father died suddenly as well.

“I remember wanting to connect with her and thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, there’s someone else,’” Tam’ra explained.

Tam’ra brought her classmate a book about grief, one that someone else had gifted her, hoping they could connect over their shared experience. However, her classmate wasn’t ready at the time to receive the gift or connect over their fathers’ deaths.

“That’s a story that comes to mind when I think about the early stage of my grief journey because it was so isolating,” Tam’ra said.

Finding Connection and Providing Grief Support in Atlanta

Later, Ren and Tam’ra met while attending Georgia Tech in Atlanta. In contrast to the experience Tam’ra had with her classmate, they immediately connected when they learned both of their fathers died suddenly, when they were younger than 10 years old and growing up in Jamaica.

It was a connection neither of them expected to make with a sea between them and home, but it was nice to share an experience that, in the past, had made them feel isolated or different, or even led to “bumpy moments” navigating who to tell about their losses and when.

So when they heard about Kate’s Club, it was an easy decision for them to get as involved as possible. Tam’ra recalls the first Board of Directors meetings in Kate’s living room. Ren remembers bits and pieces of the early outings, including the first ever outing, which was to the bowling alley. Most importantly, he remembers how excited he felt.

“Back then it was a way to close the loop of, ‘maybe this happened to me for a reason,’” Ren said. He remembers thinking, “I might be able to turn this experience into something positive to help others.”

And those grief experiences have fueled Tam’ra and Ren’s two-decade commitment to volunteering with Kate’s Club. Even after they got married and moved outside of Georgia for about five years, they followed news about the organization, celebrating Kate’s interview in People magazine and watching through photos as the first, then the second Clubhouse was created.

Tam'ra and Ren with other Buddies and members in 2003

Supporting the Annual Atlanta Fundraising Gala

When they returned to Georgia, it wasn’t long before Ren and Tam’ra got involved with Kate’s Club again, including attending the annual Atlanta gala.

Tam’ra describes their first gala as “surreal.” Before they moved, the team was just putting some formality behind the organization, like meeting around a conference table instead of on Kate’s couch.

Left: Tam'ra at the 2004 Cabaret fundraiser, Right: Tam'ra and Ren at the 2016 gala

Back then, the big fundraiser was a small fun run. When they returned, the premier fundraising event was a gala at an Atlanta luxury hotel. They were in awe of the work that had been done, and the widespread community support, which was clear from the hundreds of guests who showed up to the gala to contribute to the mission in different ways.

Now, more than 20 years since that day Tam’ra’s boss accidentally introduced her to Kate’s Club, Ren and Tam’ra serve as the 2024 Mourning Glory Gala Co-Chairs. The organization has also grown to support not only children and teens, but also their families and young adults ages 18 to 30.

How Community Can Provide Free Grief Support in Georgia

In this role, they say their eyes have been opened to just how much the community at large can impact the lives of grievers who need a place to belong.

Not only is the gala the largest annual fundraising event in terms of dollars raised, but it also provides an opportunity to reach hundreds more potential volunteers, donors or advocates.

By going through the process of proposing a corporate sponsorship for the gala to his employer, Ren has been able to share the story of Kate’s Club with coworkers who have never heard of the organization and are now interested in supporting the mission in different ways. He also spearheaded a volunteer day at Kate’s Club for his department.

“I think of this as a closed circle,” Ren shared. “The community supports Kate’s Club, and then Kate’s Club supports the community.”

Ren hopes that when they reach out to people who haven’t heard of Kate’s Club, he and Tam’ra are creating memorable impressions.

After all, they both remember so clearly how much awe they felt when they first heard about Kate’s Club, just amazed that an organization like this could exist. He hopes that they are doing the same for others, and growing the community that backs our much-needed mission.

“Community is the reason that Kate’s Club has been able to serve more than 10,000 families,” Tam’ra said. “Without the support of the community of donors or partners, there would be much less opportunity to reach the [grievers] that need help.”

Tam'ra and Ren with friends at the 2022 (left) and 2023 (right) Mourning Glory Gala

Reserve Your 2024 Mourning Glory Gala Tickets Today

We thank Ren and Tam’ra for their years of service, including their work as the 2024 Mourning Glory Gala Co-Chairs. Please join us for an exceptional evening at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta Buckhead on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

For tickets and more information, please visit

The Kate’s Club mission is to empower children and teens, their families, and young adults facing life after the death of a parent, sibling, caregiver or someone important to them.

Related Posts

Awards ceremony to celebrate Glynn County children who are grieving

Watch Their Story

Valentine’s Day: Tips for widows, widowers, and grieving people facing the day of love without yours

Watch Their Story

Meet the 2024 Kate's Club Interns!

Watch Their Story
See All Posts