When you were in college, did you know someone who was ill, or who passed away? Were your friends there to support you? Did you feel as though it was a struggle to attend class every day? Did you know someone who did? One out of every three college students will lose someone by the time they graduate.
I am that 1 in 3. I lost my mom three years ago, when I was a sophomore at Meredith College. Classes became a blur, and wanting to go home every weekend became a constant thought. What kept me going was my AMF chapter. AMF was founded more than five years ago, after Raleigh-native David Fajgenbaum’s mother, Anne Marie, passed away during his sophomore year at Georgetown. David promised his mother that he would create something in her memory to help college students who were going through similar situations.
As a result, David started a support group for college students who had lost a loved one at Georgetown. Not long after, other students began reaching out to David to see if they could start their own AMF support group. In 2006, David along with his best friend Benjamin Chesson co-founded the National Students of AMF support network; named in honor of David’s mother. Over the past six years, AMF has grown nationally to include 63 chapters, with four located right here in the Triangle.
What is great about having an AMF chapter is that there are two components, which help to include all students, not just those affected by loss or illness: Service group and Support group. Support group provides an outlet to those students who have or are currently coping with the loss or illness of a loved one.
For me, support group was my “safe zone”. I could share whatever I needed to, and did not feel judged for what I was saying or feeling. The girls in my group “got it”. I did not have to explain why I was upset that my mom could not attend “Tea for Two” (A Meredith tradition), or how I wasn’t looking forward to the holidays. My AMF family understood.
Service group is the second component to AMF. Service group provides an outlet to raise money, awareness or just simply an act of service with a charity that the students choose to help. This past fall, NC State’s chapter held a “Give A Spit” Bone Marrow Drive, to raise money and awareness for much need Bone Marrow donations.
Last year, Meredith’s chapter cooked breakfast for the families at the Ronald McDonald House in Durham. These are just two examples of the many AMF service projects that have or are occurring in the country.
On April 13, 2013, AMF will be hosting its annual fundraiser “Spring Soiree” at the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) in Raleigh. All of the proceeds will go towards helping National AMF to provide support to college students, like me, across the country. As a former chapter member, I would encourage all of you to consider attending. Not only will you be able to enjoy live entertainment, and an exciting live auction, but you will also be helping others throughout the United States.
No words will ever be able to express my or countless other AMF alumni/ae’s gratitude towards National Students of AMF and all of the work that they do to support us. To any college students who are going through a difficult time, please know that you are not alone. AMF is here for you.
Sarah Miller is a former Students of AMF chapter leader and recent Meredith College graduate. She is currently an intern for the National Students of AMF Support Network. To learn more about Students of AMF, please get in touch with the National Students of AMF office by visiting www.studentsofamf.org, calling 919-803-6728 or emailing Lauren@studentsofamf.org.