Knowing her daughter would not want her to be sad, Roxanna Green is taking action.
Four months ago today, 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green became the youngest victim of the Jan. 8 Tucson shooting.
And though the timing is coincidence, the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation is up and running just in time for Mother's Day.
It's a foundation fueled by a mother's love.
Green is the founder and president of the nonprofit, which has a mission of helping fill in the gaps left by cuts in school funding.
The first project in Christina-Taylor's memory will be a new playground at her school, Mesa Verde Elementary, where the equipment is old and outdated.
The Allstate Foundation donated the $120,000 cost of the project after hearing Green talk on a radio program about ensuring her daughter's legacy. The Greens donated another $50,000 from their daughter's memorial fund to buy interactive whiteboards and computers for Mesa Verde.
That leaves nearly $200,000 more in a fund that Green plans to use for local projects that reflect her daughter's interests, values and dreams.
Of particular concern to Green are state budget cuts that have slashed music, art and physical education at many schools. Christina-Taylor loved the arts and sports, and Green believes they are crucial to a child's development.
Green has chosen to focus on Tucson not only because this is the community where her family lives, but also because it is the place that opened its hearts to them after the shootings.
"Improving playgrounds, helping teachers, getting backpacks for less-fortunate kids, those are the kinds of things we'll be doing," said Green, a registered nurse.
And she'll be doing it all in the name of her only daughter, an extroverted little girl who brimmed with excitement on the morning of Jan. 8. Christina-Taylor, a brown-eyed third-grader who had just been elected to her student council, wanted to meet her congresswoman that day. She'd planned on talking to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords about the BP oil spill and about what it's like to have a career in politics. Giffords was critically injured in the shooting and is recovering at a rehabilitation hospital in Houston.
"People asked me why we didn't call this the Green Family Foundation, or a name like that," said Green, whose family includes husband John and 11-year-old son Dallas, "but I want this to be about Christina-Taylor. We're going to do everything in our power to make sure her legacy endures."
In the meantime, some days are worse than others.
Holidays are difficult. On Easter, Green had a tough time when she saw all the little girls dressed up at church. Though Christina-Taylor was an avid athlete and the only girl on her Little League team, she also loved to dress up. Shortly before she died, she'd designed a redecoration of her bedroom in pink and black, modeling it on one of her favorite movies - "Breakfast at Tiffany's."
On that same theme, Green has designed pink-and-black pins in the shape of a baseball with the initials CTG. The foundation will sell them as fundraisers, along with Christina-Taylor Green patches and bracelets.
When Green feels her grief surge as on Easter morning, she thinks about her daughter.
"She was amazingly happy all the time. If she ever felt a little down, she'd snap out of it, and I know I have to do that, too," Green said. "It helps me heal to give back, and doing it in my daughter's name gives me a lot of joy."
Green's work to ensure her daughter's legacy follows a path cut by several other local moms who have lost children. Read their stories on Pages A8-10.
HOW TO HELP
To learn more about the nonprofit Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation, visit www.christina-taylorgreen.org
Donations and/or orders for Christina-Taylor Green patches, bracelets and pins may be made by email to email@example.com or by going to the website.
"Improving playgrounds, helping teachers, getting backpacks for less-fortunate kids, those are the kinds of things we'll be doing."
Mother of Christina-Taylor Green
Contact reporter Stephanie Innes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 520-573-4134.