The mission of Erin's House is to provide support for children, teens, and their families who have suffered the death of a loved one.

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Contact Info

5670 YMCA Park Dr. West
Fort Wayne, IN  46835

260.423.2466


Info@ErinsHouse.org

Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

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Copyright © 2018 Erin's House for Grieving Children a 501(c)(3) organization · All Rights Reserved · Privacy Policy

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

ARE YOU ... 

  • Okay with being present to another person’s pain; without trying to take the pain away?

  • Comfortable listening with the heart; without analyzing with the head?

  • Able to walk alongside someone on their journey; without leading?

OR MAYBE YOU ... 

  • Enjoy making others feel at home?

  • Always greet others with a warm smile and a kind word?

  • Work well with a team of 3-5 individuals?

OR DO YOU ... 

  • Love sharing the joy of reading with others?

  • Enjoy chatting with people and helping them find new resources?

  • Consider yourself well-organized?

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

  1. What is your occupation?
    I am a Commercial Banker and Vice President at Centier Bank; I’ve been in banking for almost 12 years.  Basically, I assist businesses with their cash needs, whether that is borrowing money, opening deposit accounts, sending funds electronically across the globe, or even finding ways to invest excess cash.

     

  2. How long have you volunteered at Erin’s House?
    It’s a little fuzzy, to be honest!  I think I began in 2010 with 6- to 9-year-olds.  I was with that age group for several years, eventually moving to my current spot with 10- to 13-year-olds.  I began in the days of the Parkwest facility, then through the short stint in Georgetown, to our new beautiful facility.  And I actually provided the loan for its construction!

     

  3. What age group do you facilitate? 
    I’m with a wonderful group of 10- to 13-year-olds.

     

  4. What is your favorite activity to do with the kids? 
    I don’t know that I have a particular favorite, but I do tend to joke around with the kids and be relatively active with them. 
    I certainly enjoy rough-housing in the Volcano Room or playing a game outdoors when the weather permits (Grief Kickball is a pretty big hit), but I also really enjoy allowing them to enlighten me when we have some time in the Quiet Room.
     

  5. Why do you volunteer at Erin’s House? 
    I lost my dad in 2008 after a long struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease.  At the time, I was 32-years-old and I had a career, a strong family, and a great network of friends.  Despite having a robust support network, saying goodbye to my dad was easily the most difficult thing I had encountered at the time, and in all honesty, it’s still the most challenging hurdle I’ve faced in my life.


    Having spent a number of years as his care-taker, my dad and I formed a very close relationship (one of the brighter aspects of an illness such as his).  We spoke very candidly about his future, and one of the last things my dad and I discussed was whether I would give him my blessing to stop the fight with his disease.  We were best friends, and I miss him tremendously to this day.

    Despite having everything in place that I needed to “weather the storm” after his death, there were some very challenging times in the years that followed.  Given my experiences, I wanted to help someone else walk through their grief.  A friend (Tom Trent) introduced me to Erin’s House about a year after his death, and after some soul-searching, I thought it was the perfect place to lend a hand.

    I can’t imagine the struggle of losing a loved one at the ages of our Erin’s House kids, and I am amazed at their resilience and strength.  Erin’s House truly is the “happiest sad place” I’ve ever known.
     

  6. Besides helping at Erin’s House, what else do you enjoy doing in your free time? 
    I spend a lot of time as a volunteer for the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Brightpoint.  Aside from that, my wife (Kim) and I love spending time with our dogs (Max & Pete) and travelling when we have the opportunity.  When the weather gets warmer, we’ll always make time for some hiking, with our latest favorite being Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado.


    I’m fortunate to be able to pursue one of my favorite hobbies on a pretty regular basis:  cooking!  My wife is kind enough to be my taste tester and food critic, and generally just putting up with whatever my latest idea happens to be.

  1. What is your occupation?
    I am a member of the full-time faculty (Associate Professor) at what was formerly known as IPFW (soon-to-be PFW), in the Department of Psychology. I am a developmental psychologist who teaches “womb to tomb”—that is, I teach courses on child development, adolescence, adulthood & aging, and death & dying. I also teach introductory psychology as well as a foundations course required for psychology majors. Teaching is my primary domain of work at the university, but I also do research (when I’m able) regarding aspects of social and social-cognitive development during adolescence and emerging adulthood. I’m interested in how individuals’ perceptions of themselves and others (and, their perceptions of how others perceive them) influence their social behavior and sense of self.
     

  2. How long have you volunteered at Erin’s House?
    I completed the facilitator training in early 2016, and have been an active volunteer since then—but my sense of connection with Erin’s House goes way back. When I began teaching my Death & Dying class at IPFW in 2002, Erin’s House was a place I’d bring my students for a “field trip,” and to learn more about how children and families experience and cope with bereavement and grief. For a time, students in the class could elect to do a service learning project at Erin’s House for their class project. I was always envious—I had wanted to be a volunteer from day one, but my life just didn’t allow for it then. But I’d like to think that for all those years I wasn’t able to be AT Erin’s House, I helped others become aware of it and the amazing work that goes on there. Many of my former students are or have been volunteers.
     

  3. What age group do you facilitate?
    I work with a fantastic group of 10- to 13-year-olds, and have the best co-facilitator ever.
     

  4. What is your favorite activity to do with the kids?
    Well, I don’t really have one! I just really love talking to them. When they share something about their person or their experience, that is very special to me. We have a really large group, so sometimes that is hard. I do enjoy when we do an activity that they are into—our group right now seems to like art projects.
     

  5. Why do you volunteer at Erin’s House?
    I teach that death is a part of life, and experiencing the death of a loved one is an experience we all have to go through in our lives. It’s always hard, and it always hurts. Almost everyone knows this—at least in their head, if not fully in their hearts—but our culture does a very poor job of preparing people to cope with this part of the human experience, and we don’t teach people how to support  others who are grieving in any systematic, informed way. When you have these experiences and you are young—still developing—they are a major risk factor for problems in development. I volunteer at Erin’s House with the hope that by being an open, compassionate, listening ear, and a supportive, warm presence, I might provide a little help to kids who’ve had to face a very big, very sad life event. Seeing the work that goes on at Erin’s House—of the staff, the volunteers, but especially the kids and their families—is inspiring for me. I volunteer at Erin’s House for the same reasons I went into higher education—I want to play some small, positive role in as many lives as I can, and I love it.
     

  6. Besides helping at Erin’s House, what else do you enjoy doing in your free time?
    Well, if I’m not at home enjoying time with my own amazing 13-year-old daughter, and I’m not at work, then chances are I am at the barn or on my yoga mat. I come from a fairly long line of “horse people”—I grew up around horses and showing them in competitions, and I am the proud owner of a beautiful Appaloosa-Percheron crossbreed named Daniel. My daughter and I ride him (she shows him in hunter-jumper competitions), and I just love being around him, grooming him, and talking to him (he’s a great listener!).