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Post-Giants murder hits close for Peninsula mom: Tim Griffith Foundation working to prevent violence and promote healing
September 28, 2013, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal

Stacey Redman

Tim Griffith

When Stacey Redman learned of a Dodger fan’s killing near AT&T Park Wednesday night, the Redwood City woman immediately thought of the slain man’s mother.

When she heard the victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, her mind flashed even more keenly to a similar night nine years ago when she was the mother heading to that facility because her 21-year-old son was fatally stabbed after a San Francisco Giants home game.

“What went through my mind was how senseless and ridiculous both of them are, the fact that people take life so lightly they’ll kill over someone hitting a car or wearing another team’s jersey,” Redman said.

Last week, Redman marked the ninth anniversary of her 21-year-old son Tim Griffith’s murder outside the then-called SBC Park on Sept. 17, 2004. It was the same night Barry Bonds made history with his 700th home run and the night everything changed. Redman lost her son after two young men confronted he and his friends but, twisting the tragedy into hope, she also gained a future preventing similar needless violence.

In 2005, Redman founded and now chairs the Tim Griffith Foundation, a nonprofit which has raised more than $500,000 through events like golf tournaments and its upcoming annual gala for programs of violence prevention, grief and loss. A child’s death, she said, “leaves a hole in your heart. It gets softer but it’s there. The foundation definitely helped me,” she said.

Redman has a sociology degree from San Francisco State University but, having moved into a business career, the thought of nonprofit work or establishing a group never crossed her mind until her son’s death.

The foundation in 2008 also opened Tim’s House, a halfway facility to help young men transition from substance abuse rehabilitation programs back into the community, and launched Meadowlark Retreats. The unique weekend retreats, which this month marks its seventh semi-annual event, gives mothers a safe place to grieve, heal and connect with other women coping with the death of a child.

Redman went in search of something similar after Griffith’s death but found groups aimed at general grief rather than specifically the murder of a child. The small-group retreats are a place of pampering and sharing, where women can talk about their children to others who understand that, with time, the “normal” world wants less to hear about it.

The next step is expanding the retreats for fathers, she said.

The foundation also funds solutions to violence like the Transition Program, a joint effort between the Acknowledge Alliance and the county’s Office of Education, which helps students expelled or on probation navigate back into mainstream public school and graduate. Faced with familiar triggers and potential rivals, fewer than 50 percent of these high-risk student with violent backgrounds and gang affiliation continued on. With the Transition Program, the rate has turned into 80 percent success and the pilot has expanded to multiple schools.

At the time of his death, Griffith was similarly straightening out his life, having just graduated days earlier from the Bridges rehabilitation program. As he and his friends left the game, he bumped into a car carrying Rafael Cuevas and Jeffrey Skifich. After a brief exchange of words, Cuevas stabbed Griffith multiple times while Skifich allegedly beat his friend, Carlos Ortega. The men fled but were later apprehended. Griffith died and became labeled as the first violent crime victim linked to then-named SBC Park since it opened in 2000.

In the stabbing’s wake, the Giants dedicated a game in his memory much as they do now in the name of fan Brian Stow who was severely beaten on opening day 2011 outside Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Cuevas was convicted four years later of second-degree murder and sentenced to 16 years to life in prison.

And Redman began the long journey, never ending really, that she knows another man’s mother and loved ones will now travel. In August, Tim Griffith would have been 30 years old and the milestone certainly didn’t go unnoticed.

“It’s so weird. Sometimes it feels like yesterday,” she said. “And sometimes it feels so long.”

More information on the Tim Griffith Foundation, its programs and events is available at www.remembertim.org or www.timgriffithfoundation.org. The Tim Griffith Foundation Ninth Annual Gala is Nov. 9 at the San Mateo Elks Club to raise money for Tim’s House and other grant recipients. Single tickets are $80 and the event includes food, wine and an auction.

michelle@smdailyjournal.com

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102

 

 

Tags: redman, griffith, foundation, death, retreats, night,


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