When you vist Angel Foundation, pay a visit to Bonnie’s Room, our children’s playroom at our offices. Made possible by a generous donation from the Griffiths family in honor of their loved one, Bonnie, the room has been furnished to provide children a respite from the cancer in their family, not to mention a warm, fun place to let them just be kids for awhile.
The room is a fitting tribute to Bonnie, who passed away in November 2011 from fallopian tube cancer at the age of 70. She devoted her career to children, earning a Master’s in Early Childhood Education, serving as an elementary classroom teacher in Minnesota and France. Bonnie was also an administrator at the Minnesota Department of Education for a dozen years before her retirement.
“It brings us all great joy and happiness to know that this room will serve so many children and families in such an important way in her memory,” says Bonnie’s son, Geordie Griffiths.
More than 60 of Bonnie’s family and friends came from across the country to attend the dedication ceremony, which included a special message from her husband, George, as well as a blessing of the room from Father Joseph Gillespie from St. Albert the Great parish in south Minneapolis. Twin Cities artist, Stacy Edwards, also spoke about her process of developing the mural that graces the walls of the room. She donated her time to create this beautiful painting which shares some of Bonnie’s favorite images with children—flowers, bugs, animals, children on a swing—to surround children with a sense of calm, whimsy and strength. A quote from Winnie the Pooh encircles the room: “Promise me you’ll always remember that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Many attendees donated children’s books for the room’s library, in recognition of Bonnie’s work in family literacy. And of course, several children were on hand to “kid test” the room. Judging from their enthusiastic response, it will be a huge hit with the younger set who visit us.
We are grateful to the Griffiths family for making this delightful room a reality for our families. We think that Bonnie would give it high marks. Says Kelly Grosklags, family friend and Angel Foundation board member, “Bonnie is smiling.”