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News and Updates

The Workshop Series
 Posted: 8/1/19 by Julia Dunn, M.Ed. (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.


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?”