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News and Updates

Maintaining the Spirit of Give Local York
Posted: 6/1/19 by Michelle Fox (Administrative Director)

The question is often asked of our staff, "How can I support Olivia's House?" Of course, that question can be answered in a number of ways, based not only on the giver's interests, but also on the needs of our mission. 


Recently, a diverse array of local nonprofits were spotlighted during this year's Give Local York event.  Maybe you heard Olivia's House featured on WARM 103.3 or spotted our Give Local event, highlighted in the Hanover Area Chamber newsletter.


Give Local York's big fundraising drive has ended, but there is still so much you can do to support Olivia's House!  There's always a need that goes beyond monetary donations, and doing small, practical tasks can be a huge help. For example, both our York and Hanover centers have a Healing Garden of Hope that requires regular attention (but not a green thumb!) to maintain the tidy and welcoming appearance that greets our daily visitors.  Just pulling weeds and watering flowers would make all the difference.  Even dropping by once a month to run the vacuum cleaner at either of our centers would be a big help.  You might also consider raising funds for our next Walk to Remember.  Your effort would help to support the no-cost programs at Olivia's House, while you and your team have fun giving back to your community.


Your invaluable gift of time helps so much to support our mission!  Even the donation of one hour of your time and energy can provide an immeasurable gift to Olivia's House.  Though the Give Local York event is over for now, please consider continuing to support the work we do to serve our local community.  We need you!

A Special and Personal Senior Project
 Posted: 5/1/19 by Leslie Delp, MA (Founder and Bereavement Specialist)  
It isn’t very often that we can see the fruits of the labor that goes on at Olivia’s House. When a child who has been through our programs returns to share their wisdom and thank us for the hard work of helping them to heal, it is so rewarding! Recently, our program alumna, Emily, emailed me to share that she was now a Senior in high school and wanted to do her Senior Project with Olivia’s House. In her words, she wanted to “give back”! We met at the York center to discuss her interest in creating a video for the children that would underscore how helpful the Hearts Can Heal program was in helping her to cope with her mother’s death. In an effort to help herself heal from the tragic death of her mother, Emily was able to normalize some of the challenges of the bereavement process, all while sharing some knowledge that newly bereaved families might embrace. Check out Emily’s video in memory of her mother, Ann Marie.
The Long and Rewarding Road to Licensure
 Posted: 4/1/19 by Julia Dunn, M.Ed. (Program Director) 

    “I want to be a therapist!” This is something that we in the helping profession hear quite often. Though always grateful to bring fresh faces out of academia and into the therapeutic work force, we wouldn’t be doing our due diligence if we didn’t shine light on the real experience of pursuing (and achieving) the goal of becoming a licensed therapist.

    Program Director Julia Dunn knew from elementary school that she wanted to be a therapist. But it wasn’t until she was in graduate school that an advisor sat her down (or should we say, Julia sat them down) and listed the steps she would need to take. In order to bill insurance for therapy in the state of Pennsylvania, one must be licensed, which is a process that continues long after graduate school ends. Julia quickly learned that in order to become a therapist, a job that is often practiced individually, she would need to become autonomous in her pursuit.  The first hurdle presented itself when Julia discovered, through navigating the Department of State’s ever-changing website, that her graduate school curriculum did not contain all the classes required for licensure. To have trusted in the system and assumed that her course load met the state’s standards would have left Julia unable to apply for her license. She would have had to go back to graduate school to complete the additional courses (which any full-time employee knows is not an easy feat!). Once again, diligence and curiosity served her well, and she was able to incorporate the extra coursework and graduate with her cohort in 2015.

     Once Julia had completed her Master’s degree, the journey toward licensure began. Textbooks were put on the shelf, and a study book for (yet another) standardized test took their place. The NCE, or National Counselor’s Exam, evaluates your knowledge on everything you’ve learned in psychology since undergraduate school. You’d better hope you still have your notes from Psych 101!  Therapy is an ever-swirling mix of theory and practice, and the NCE must ascertain that you have a secure foundation of knowledge before you begin acquiring licensure qualifications. 

With a passing exam score, Julia moved on to the ultimate stage of preparation: accruing 3,600 hours of supervised clinical experience working with clients. Those hours can take anywhere from two to five years to accumulate and involve expensive, weekly meetings with a licensed supervisor. Julia began her undergraduate degree in Psychology in August of 2008 and is proud to say that as of April 1, 2019, she is officially a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Pennsylvania.

The journey toward licensure is long, and the process can get confusing at times. Diligence, perseverance, and support within the field are the keys to earning the long-awaited title. We are thrilled to learn of others considering the career path of Licensed Professional Counselor. For the next generation of therapists-to-be, the most important question is, “Are you ready for the journey?”

You're Invited : 5. 3. 19
  Posted: 3/1/19 by K.C. Delp (Executive Director) 
While shoveling the snow at our York Grief Center this past month, I couldn’t help but think about the wonderful event we had planned for National Children’s Grief Awareness Day in November of 2018. We unfortunately had to cancel it because of the "beautiful white stuff!” It goes without saying that weather is very unpredictable; however, we think we may be safe in rescheduling the event for Friday, May 3rd! 


This event is a very special one for many reasons, and we hope you will consider attending. The Rice Family Foundation gifted Olivia’s House $50,000 to renovate our three-car 3 car garage, and while it took over two years to complete (and now three years to officially celebrate), we are ecstatic to cut the proverbial ribbon along with the Hanover Chamber staff and the Rice Family. We are excited to properly thank the Rice Family Foundation and the MANY people who helped to make our Workshop the beautiful success that it is. We have chosen Friday, May 3rd, 2019 from 5 to 8 p.m. as the date and time you need to circle on your calendar!


Why May 3rd, you ask?  Because that day has been designated as Give Local York Day, and we will be participating, as we did las year, but this year we will be in Hanover! The ribbon cutting ceremony, along with a big ‘ol block party style open house, will take place in our parking lot! We have ordered a cotton candy machine, booked a DJ, organized games, and made plans to grill hotdogs and of course serve Utz chips!!! Please check out our event page on Facebook and come out to celebrate our beautiful Workshop renovation and enjoy some party food and games while visiting with our Olivia’s House family!


It isn’t often that we can honor generous community members while celebrating our role in a countywide day of giving. Please join us; you won’t want to miss it!

A Most Precious Gift
 Posted: 2/1/19 by Michelle Fox (Administrative Director)

As we continue to adjust to the New Year, it is always an exciting time to meet new and eager faces of volunteers who are looking to jump-start their resolutions by giving back to the community. One particular person, who now happens to wear many different volunteer hats at Olivia’s House, entered through our doors seven years ago on a cold, January day. His name is Gary Merica. Gary followed his passion to work with grieving children and elected to attend our 12-hour Companion training which afforded him the opportunity to volunteer in our Hearts Can Heal program. From there, he evolved into a seasoned Companion, Board Member, and our “go-to” volunteer who will do anything he can (and we mean anything!) to support Olivia’s House.


A few years ago, Gary kept us abreast of his “Countdown to Retirement.” Once Gary was able to retire, he began to peruse his passion for writing. He started a part-time gig of writing a column for a local newspaper, and because of his growing relationship with Olivia’s House, he dedicated one of his articles to us. Like many volunteers, it is hard to put into words their experience at Olivia’s House, so here is an inside view from one of our longstanding outstanding volunteers, Gary Merica…


A few days ago I was standing in line at the grocery store, becoming more and more impatient at how long it was taking to check out. Another customer behind me complained that it was taking so long because there were too few lanes open, and I all too easily joined in the collective complaint about our terrible fate. It was only on the drive home that I realized how ridiculous and, frankly, callous my moment of woe and self-pity truly was. I had just come from a store that is mere miles from my home, a store with shelves stocked to the brim with food, finding everything I wanted, having my groceries scanned and bagged for me – and yet I was so shallow that I felt inconvenienced by a short wait in line. 


This realization reminded me that I was lucky; there are some parents that can’t afford to even feed their children, and some children that no longer have a mother or father to care for them.


This brings me to the heart of this column. I have briefly mentioned in prior columns my affiliation as a volunteer with Olivia’s House. Olivia’s House is a grief and loss center for children, with two locations in York County – one in York and one in Hanover. Their mission is to support grieving children and families, and to facilitate healing through grief and loss education. Leslie Delp, a therapist who specializes in bereavement work, is the Founder of Olivia’s House. She started the Hearts Can Heal program in 1996, running the groups out of church basements. Currently, Olivia’s House has two physical locations: the York center opened in 2003, and the Hanover location in 2013.


Olivia’s House is indeed a most precious gift. First and foremost, it is a gift to the children and families who are grieving after the loss of a loved one. The programs that are designed by the professional staff and facilitated by a cadre of trained volunteers have a positive impact on the lives of these families and begin the lifelong process of healing. I have seen this healing first hand, and am in awe of the power that this well-designed program has when delivered through the hands of a group of caring people.


Secondly, Olivia’s House is a gift to the entire York Community. Life throws many challenges our way; few more difficult than a child’s loss of a parent or other loved one. Being in the position to support grieving children and bereaved families not only contributes to their healing, but also serves a greater good for us all. In the troubled times in which we live, kindness, love, and caring for one another contribute to a greater sense of community and help us to create a better world.


Olivia’s House is a gift that is received well beyond the borders of York County. Recognized as one of the premier programs of its kind, the professionals at Olivia’s House are regularly consulted by other communities throughout the nation who have suffered traumatic loss – including the Nickel Mines and Sandy Hook tragedies. The staff also provides guidance to others on how to establish a similar program in their community. I purposely chose to use the word “gift” throughout this column, because that’s exactly what the services provided by Olivia’s House are. The Hearts Can Heal program, as well as all of the services provided by Olivia’s House, is done so at no cost to families.


I’m certain that I speak for all the many volunteers at Olivia’s House; it is a most precious gift for us. We feel honored and privileged to support this wonderful mission, and we find that, by contributing to the healing of grieving children and to the betterment of our community, we get more in return than we give.


I’ll end by asking a favor. All of the great work accomplished by Olivia’s House is conducted by a small staff and a group of volunteers, and is funded solely through the generosity of community contributors and via fund-raising. During the season of gift giving, and throughout the year, would you kindly consider adding this organization to your gift list? There are so many ways to give – financial, time, and many others.

As I like to do, I’ll end with a quote from someone brighter and more articulate than me (a rather low bar). This from Forest Witcraft: A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the