The Power of Snowflakes
Posted: 1/1/20 by Leslie Delp, MA (Founder and Bereavement Specialist)
Snowflakes are often considered a likelihood in January. When they first appear on the scene they are welcomed, especially around the holidays. It always surprises me how our attitude about snowflakes change as the winter progresses. We are ready for spring almost as soon as we open the calendar on January 1. A single snowflake is harmless, but a multitude of snowflakes in the form of a “weather happening” can bring traffic to a dead stop and will surely cause long dormant aches and pains for those who shovel!
At Olivia's House, we have quite a few sidewalks, a parking lot and some steps that demand that we get to work each time it snows. This year, we have received a generous donation that will cover the cost of clearing the snow, a task that previously has fallen to our staff.
Thank you to our community for the gift of snow removal. We appreciate, more than you know, not having to dress in snow shoveling gear to come to work, then change into our business attire once the shoveling is complete! K.C. is usually the one who is encumbered by this task, poor guy! Those of us on the staff who cover all the work of the grief center while he is shoveling also are grateful! This year, because of our generous community, we say to the snowflakes, “Bring it on!”
Community Grief Education
Posted: 12/1/19 by Julia Dunn, M.Ed., LPC (Program Director)
When Olivia’s House was first built, our founder, Leslie Delp, was charged with coming up with a name for the mission she had created. Fast forward twenty years, and we are known not only in the community but also all over the country for the work we do. Because of this, it’s not at all unusual to receive a call from a local school district asking us to come in and make a presentation, whether it is to staff, students, or parents. It is an honor to share our wisdom with the community, and we are always grateful to those who call upon our expertise.
In the upcoming weeks, we will be presenting on various topics in the community. One of these presentations includes speaking to the parents and guardians of students at McKinley School about the effects of trauma, both the parent’s past trauma as well of that of the child’s. It is well documented that clinical trauma changes the makeup of a person’s brain. When a traumatic event has taken place, it is crucial to attend to the mental health of the person involved. Our goal is to educate the community on what to be aware of and what steps to take in seeking treatment and support.
We will also be on a panel at the United Way to share with their staff the ways that we support the community. We want other professionals to be aware of what we do so that we can all work toward a healthier community. We are so grateful to the professionals in the community who rely on Olivia’s House for bereavement needs. That’s what we are here for!
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.