The InspirANGELS of Olivia's House
Posted: 11/1/19 by K.C. Delp (Executive Director)
When George Foley asked Olivia’s House Founder, Leslie Delp, “What do you need?” she quickly responded, “I need a house!” Leslie, well known for her passionate and direct approach, worried that she may have been a bit too honest in the moment. George took a breath, looked Leslie squarely in the eye and, with schoolboy charm, said, “Is that all? I’ll get you a house!”
Bert Ochterbeck walked through the Olivia’s House doorway a week after the ribbon cutting bearing a gift, one of his renowned pieces of stained glass art. That same piece still adorns our front door. Over the years, Bert created more than a dozen other stained glass art pieces to grace the windows of Olivia’s House.
George and Bert became fast friends as they dedicated one solid year working side-by-side to renovate our property on George Street! Ergo, it was only fitting that these two men be honored together as the latest inductees to the InspirANGELS of Olivia’s House. Both men inspire others to be better. Both men inspire our staff to reach further than we thought possible. And both men hold special places in the hearts of everyone who loves Olivia’s House.
It is with sadness that Bert was inducted posthumously, but we all know he was there in spirit as we proudly displayed some of his beautiful stained glass art. George was the epitome of wit and charm as he shook hands and shared memories with his Olivia’s House family, Bert’s relatives and many of his own friends and family who attended the induction!
We appreciate Al Kuhner who served as our host for the special event. The food and spirits were plentiful, along with smiles, memories and love! Sincere thanks you to everyone who attended and to all who continue to INSPIRE.
Our Amazon Wishlist
Posted: 10/1/19 by Michelle Fox (Administrative Director)
In this new and convenient era of online shopping, where else can you purchase groceries, toiletries, and fashion with one quick click? The answer is Amazon! Whether you're splurging on a late-night shopping spree (impulse purchases, anyone?) or exploring a friend's wedding registry, Amazon is the ultimate one-stop-shopping experience.
With the holidays fast approaching, a time when our community rallies together to support our mission, the staff at Olivia’s House has created an Amazon Wish List to make things easier for you! Similar to the wish list found on the Olivia’s House website, the Amazon Wish List provides direct links to our most needed items. Whether it’s cleaning products, craft supplies, a Roomba for our newly renovated Rice Family Foundation Workshop, or workbooks for the children in our programs, everything is at your fingertips.
One of the greatest perks of our Amazon Wish List is being able to access it through Amazon Smile. If you are an Amazon member, you can easily link your account to Amazon Smile by going to smile.amazon.com. Of any purchase you make (even if it’s during a personal Amazon binge!), a percentage of your purchase total will be donated directly to Olivia’s House. A win for everyone!
If you or your family are interested in supporting a charitable organization this upcoming holiday season, we strongly encourage you to preview our Amazon Wish List. Every item, whether big or small, is a huge help to the mission, and we are tremendously appreciative of the gifts our community provides to the families we serve!
A Special and Personal Senior Project
Posted: 9/1/19 by Leslie Delp, MA (Founder and Bereavement Specialist)
On a rare occasion, we have the privilege of seeing the seeds of healing that are planted at Olivia’s House grow into a beautiful flower. We are certain that there are many flowers out there, but we must trust that they are blooming without actually seeing them.
Recently, one such seed that was planted seventeen years ago blossomed, and we witnessed an exquisite flower in bloom. Rachael, a program graduate from 2003, came to visit us at Olivia's House. At the age of thirteen, Rachael was in the first group ever to be held in the house and came through the program with her aunt following the deaths of her parents and sister. She vividly recalled during our recent visit that the building renovations were not complete as the program took place. Rachael is now thirty years old and married to Steven, who accompanied her on her trip to visit us. Steven was excited to learn about Olivia's House and gave credit to our mission for helping Rachael to grow, thrive, and become the outstanding person she is today. Rachael is a living example of how our programs work to help children find hope for growth and strength in their future.
Rachael found her name on the Tree of Life in the family room. She also brought along her touchstone, which she has kept since it was given to her in week one of the program. Rachael and Steven live in New England, where she is a pastry chef making cannabis-laced baked goods for breast cancer patients. She spoke to us of finding great comfort in helping others.
Seeds planted long ago in the work of Olivia's House come to fruition in program graduates such as Rachael, who is living a life that makes us proud of her. More importantly, her family members in heaven are, we think, looking down with pride, love and smiles.
The Workshop Series
Posted: 8/1/19 by Julia Dunn, M.Ed., LPC (Program Director)
If you’ve ever been to Olivia’s House, you know that we consider our “House” to be a living, breathing part of our mission. Therefore, we are forever evolving and improving how we utilize both of our centers to better serve the community.
In the past year, changes came in the form of renovating and developing our Hanover Rice Family Foundation Workshop. While the new space was ideal for use in our regular programming, we also saw that it gave us the potential to expand our services to the community. Thus, the idea for The Workshop Series was born.
Though Olivia’s House is known as a “Grief and Loss Center for Children,” we have always served the community through a family-focused modality of education. A bereaved child affects the entire family dynamic, and parents/guardians are often the first level of support their children have access to.
If this is your family’s first experience with grief, supporting your child may not come instinctually. Fortunately, we now offer The Workshop Series as a means to educate the adults in the world of a bereaved child. And, like all of the services provided by Olivia’s House, there is no cost to attend!
This summer we piloted our first three sessions of The Workshop Series, and you can be sure there is more to come. We have been able to gather a group of adults with similar questions and concerns to enjoy an evening of learning what to expect from a bereaved child of any age, and how to best support their bereavement.
It’s a blessing to be able to provide this service, and we are grateful, as always, to the community for taking advantage of this important learning and healing opportunity. Don’t forget, you can check out the Workshop Series and register yourself (and a guest!) via our Programs and Services tab on our webpage. We hope to see you at our Workshop in the future!
Georgia On My Mind
Posted: 7/1/19 by K.C. Delp (Executive Director)
In 2017, Olivia’s House received an incredible gift. An anonymous donor bequeathed us her estate, with the caveat to “take care of yourselves too.” Accordingly, our Board of Directors encouraged the staff to get out of town, take time away from the grief center, enjoy each other’s company, gain perspective and be inspired. Thus the staff retreat was born. After our very successful and restorative inaugural trip, the Board recognized the benefits of addressing our staff's vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue and declared the staff retreat an annual tradition.
If you follow our Facebook or Instagram accounts, then you undoubtedly saw photos from our third annual retreat in Atlanta, Georgia. "Southern hospitality" doesn't even begin to describe the grace, warmth, and beauty our staff encountered in Atlanta!
During our brief stay, we were able to network with our dear friend and filmmaker, Tamlin Hall. You may recall my earlier article praising his film, “Holden On.” While visiting with Tamlin, we discussed his advocacy in the mental health community and his vision to produce a television show (with an Olivia’s House episode).
We also met with renowned suicide expert, Elaine Alpert. Over one lengthy, deliciously authentic Italian dinner, we brainstormed the foundations for a potential online module that would blend our expertise in grief and loss and her expertise in trauma. It is remarkable and gratifying to imagine that a staff retreat could result in the genesis of a new program service.
Michelle, Mom and I learned the business model and history of The Coca-Cola Company, while Julia rejuvenated in Atlanta’s “cat café.” Of course, in typical Olivia’s House fashion, we even took an opportunity to educate our favorite UBER driver on how to explain the concept of murder to her two-year-old nephew.
The highlight of our trip was our behind-the-scenes tour of the Georgia Aquarium. We learned about their world-class facility, their sustainability model for their nonprofit business and most importantly, met some of their sea lion friends: Saffy, Peaches and Katie (pictured).
We hope you can understand our need to close the center for a few days each year, so as to turn inward and refresh ourselves. The annual retreat allows our staff to receive the benefits of physical, mental and emotional revitalization. As always, we deeply appreciate the support of our loving, generous community.