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Through our Artful Giving initiative, Artful Living partners with an artist each quarter to offer an exclusive print to our readers with a portion of proceeds benefiting a nonprofit of the creative’s choice. This quarter, we’re featuring Abbey Holden, a Minneapolis-based artist known for her serene landscape paintings. She has selected She Climbs Mountains as the beneficiary of proceeds from her exclusive print, “Wilderness.” It’s a cause near and dear to Holden, who has learned to live with the loss of her mother with support from the organization, which encouraged her to become part of a community to help her grieve and grow. Here, She Climbs Mountains Founder and President Christine Friberg shares about the nonprofit’s important mission and how our community can best support its efforts.

What is the mission of She Climbs Mountains?

She Climbs Mountains is a nonprofit that serves women and girls who have experienced the loss of a mother at any age. Through workshops, gatherings and a mentor program in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities, the organization is committed to encouraging adult and youth daughters to explore the myriad of emotions and experiences that accompany the loss of a mother. Our community encourages women and girls to grieve openly, share their stories, ask questions, nurture themselves and one another, examine the loss of their mothers, and seek joy in a secure environment with the goal of creating a safe and loving sisterhood.

What inspired you to launch this organization?

When I was 15 years old, my mother died after a battle with ovarian cancer. In the years that followed, I felt a deep loneliness as a grieving young woman not knowing anyone else who had experienced such a loss. I was constantly searching for connection in books and articles, and I even followed an online support group but was too nervous to reach out and connect.

In 2014, I developed and began facilitating workshops and hosting monthly gatherings through a local yoga studio. Then in 2017, I launched She Climbs Mountains. Most recently, we launched Girls Rise Up, which offers no-cost programs for girls ages 8–18 who have experienced the loss of their mothers. My hope is that through our organization women and girls who are grieving the loss of a mother will find comfort in knowing that they are not alone and that healing is possible through sharing stories and being in a community.

Photography provided by She Climbs Mountains

Do you see She Climbs Mountains expanding to other areas in the future?

Expansion of She Climbs Mountains is not currently in the works, though seeds have been planted in both the Chicago and Milwaukee areas. I have friends who live in both cities and are connected to the organization, so I believe there is a real possibility of growth when the timing is right.

What has been a highlight for you since starting the organization?

Certainly, the launch of Girls Rise Up was an extremely meaningful experience and truly a dream come true. For me, the understanding that this community brings connection and healing to women and girls who are grieving is tremendously important and the most meaningful part of this work.

How can the community best support She Climbs Mountains?

The most significant way that the community can support She Climbs Mountains and Girls Rise Up is to share about our programming with women and girls who have experienced the loss of their mothers. Following us on social media is a great way to help grow awareness of our organization. Financial support is always welcome, and donations can be made on our website.

Purchase “Wilderness” by Abbey Holden, with a portion of proceeds benefiting She Climbs Mountains.

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