Growing up on the East End comes with more than its fair share of ironies. It’s a beautiful place to call home with endless beaches and colorful sunsets. But it can also be an extremely lonely place — especially if you’re young. Issues of depression, sexual orientation, struggles at home, the need for friendship can all weigh heavily on the minds of teens.
But up until now, there hasn’t been much of an outlet here for teens to discuss the issues and find a soft place to land — a true haven where they will not be judged and mocked, but supported and loved for who they really are.
The Reverend Christine Grimbol, or Pastor Chris as she was affectionately known, knew how to talk to kids. A survivor of childhood abuse herself, she bared her soul to the teens she recruited for her youth group. In them, they saw not a parent or a teacher — but a friend. Through her, teens found a way to imagine their lives full hope — a vision she was not as fortunate to have at their age. When Pastor Chris died in 2000 she left a void for the youth of Sag Harbor.
But with the founding of The Christine Beth Rannie Grimbol Foundation for East End Adolescents, which opens next Monday night at the Old Whalers’ Church, the youth of Sag Harbor have new reason to look ahead. We are so pleased that Pastor Chris’ husband, Rev. William Grimbol, and the many people who have helped him in this effort are so dedicated to carrying on her work. We know that, like Pastor Chris, they will be able to reach teens where they live and make a meaningful difference in their lives.
Bill Grimbol recalled that kids trusted Pastor Chris because she would tell them her story and was unafraid to take them on that journey. In the end, she would reassure them by saying, “You’re enough — you’re more than enough.”Â How many of our lives would be different today if someone had just thought to say those simple words to us at a time when we needed to hear them most? How many lives will this new foundation touch simply by reaffirming that crucial message to our sons and daughters when they are reaching out for support?