Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Crawford.
Stephanie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
On February 7th, 2011, when I was 23 years young, I was forced (by circumstance) to deliver my first son after his heart stopped beating in utero. Having a stillborn child was obviously a life-changing experience for me, but not in the way I expected. I expected to be sad forever and to never look at motherhood the same again. Instead, I become a new person who was called by God to connect with and help heal people in my community that was going through a dark period in their lives.
I did go through my own dark period of sadness and depression but was able to come out through prayer, family and friend support and motivation to help others. I started Propa City Community Outreach as a non-profit that would solely help mothers who had lost their children through pregnancy or infant loss at any stage and in any way. I would share the story if my son Simeon and meet with mothers one on one to listen to them talk about their children. It became hard to connect with mother’s because the idea of early child loss is so taboo, so I decided to just be as transparent as I could be with the ways I was honoring my son’s life out loud. I celebrated him through birthday parties with my family and memorialized him through awareness walks and research fundraisers. I created a team and started holding loss groups to create a safe space for mothers and started sending care packages when we found out that a mom had lost her baby.
Through this all, I never let go of my passion for youth so I was simultaneously holding youth discussion groups to provide safe spaces for youth to ask questions about life that they couldn’t ask their parents and teachers. We then hosted our first women’s conference and put the women and youth in the same room for one night. It was an amazing faith-based event that touched many lives. We then realized that community events were a good way to get the word out about what we do, so we hosted the first Annual Family Fun Day. As we started to grow, I decided that PCCO needed a board, so seven powerful women joined us as a volunteer team of advisors and active board members and we revamped our mission and vision in November of 2017. Since then, we have opened our umbrella to a non-profit organization that advocates for the education and awareness of the need for positive healing in the community.
Aside from PCCO, I run an event planning and photography company, am an active member of the Codman Square Community in Dorchester and am a Boston Public School Kindergarten 2 teacher, I am an aspiring author, public speaker and became a mother again to my Rainbow baby Amani on February 10th, 2019 (8 years after Simeon was born).
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, it has not been a smooth road but whenever I pray about it God lets me know it’s not supposed to be. We live in a society that has told us that death can’t be talked about openly because of its “too sad.” The world makes you think that if your sadness makes someone feel uncomfortable then it’s not ok to talk about. We learn that it’s “too much” to talk about what we have lost, it’s too much to share our feelings, especially if it will bring tears. So, we hide them, we keep them to ourselves because we don’t know where there is a safe place to let them out. This makes it hard for PCCO because it takes a while for someone to feel safe enough, to be honest, and transparent with us. Sometimes, we hold events and no one comes or just one person. I have friends and family members that have known me for years and have never come even though they want to.
It’s definitely not a smooth and easy road but it’s expected because we chose the darkest road of them all. So, we just shine our lights and wait for people to find us.
Please tell us about Propa City Community Outreach.
We offer bi-weekly Healing Sessions for community members to come together and identify & address hurt they are experiencing or have experienced but never discussed.
We teach a Healing From Loss Courses for youth to identify hurt and help advocate for positive healing in their communities. We are currently teaching this at local high schools and working with local after-school programs.
We are launching The Still Healing Curriculum based on some of the books I will be publishing soon
We send Care Packages to moms who have experienced a loss, for FREE, we are launching a subscription service to honor milestone dates in the Spring.
We hold Community Events like our Family Restoration Day, Fundraisers, Volunteer & Community Service opportunities
We have a Blog Site for PCCO Staff and guest bloggers about positive healing
We make Partnerships with organizations to introduce members to healing opportunities and resources in the community.
I LOVE my organization because we focus on the needs of the person who is hurting. We were founded from a broken heart so that is where our focus is.
Also our Youth Career Fair is April 20th, our Family Restoration Day is June 15th, and Beauty Hurts is August 24th.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I would have opened the umbrella of healing in the community sooner because we need it. I would still have a focus on mothers who have lost their babies, as we do now.
I am completely at peace with the loss of my son and know I wouldn’t have helped as many people as I have if it didn’t happen so I wouldn’t change that. God knew what I could handle and what I needed to fulfill my purpose on this earth.
- We accept donations to help fund out free care packages of any cost
- Our Beauty Hurts Conference costs $40 to attend every August
- Our PCCO t-shirts are $20 and help fund our Healing Sessions and community events
- Website: www.propacityco.org
- Phone: 617-407-5347
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All PCCO pictures taken By Propa City Photography, Picture of Stephanie Crawford taken by: Brave y Faith Travel