Annette March-Grier4

Annette March-Grier, executive director of Roberta’s House in Baltimore.

The executive director of a Baltimore-based grief and loss counseling center was selected as one of 10 finalists for CNN’s Hero of the Year, a worldwide competition honoring those who give back to their community.

Annette March-Grier, executive director of Roberta’s House in Baltimore, was announced as one of CNN’s Top Ten Heroes on Oct. 2

“I was really awestruck and surprised; I did not imagine that Roberta’s House would make it to the top ten,” March-Grier told the AFRO. “I was humbled in the fact that CNN actually felt as though the work that we do was significant enough that it should be recognized for such a status.”

The yearly broadcast of “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” highlights everyday people who are changing their communities and the world. In Baltimore, March-Grier has been an advocate for addressing the damaging effects that losing a loved one can have on the lives of individuals.

Roberta’s House hosts seven programs for adolescents and adults suffering with grief.  The center is a safe space serving more than 500individuals each year who learn how to express themselves in healthy ways, develop positive coping skills, learn lessons behind loss and create memories of their loved ones to empower their futures.

Outside of the community, the organization touches at least 1,000 more people each year through its summer camp and support training programs for churches and professionals. Launched this year, the Survivor Advocacy Program trains individuals who make visits within 24 to 48 hours after a homicide to provide grief counseling and other resources to related victims.

“Being able to see people transform in just a short period of time from being depressed, hurt and angry to finding a desire to live and grow with positive memories is the greatest reward,” said March-Grier.

As a finalist for the Hero of the Year honor, March-Grier will receive a $25,000 grant and free organizational training from the Annenberg Foundation, including practical guidance in fundraising, communications and management of volunteers.

If she wins the CNN Hero of the Year, Roberta’s House will receive a $100,000 award—money she said will be used as seed funding for a brand new center that will be developed over the next three years. The winner is selected by an online vote.

“By voting, we all can take action in making a difference,” said March-Grier. “This is an opportunity where everyone in Baltimore can play a role in supporting the work that we do—we all, as a community, have to take charge in healing our community.”

Voting for CNN Hero of the Year can be accomplished at www.CNNHeroes.com and via the CNN app through Sunday, Nov. 16 at midnight Pacific. “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” will air on Sunday, Dec. 7 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN, and will be simulcast on CNN International and CNN en Español.