Impact Stories

We Are All Connected: Lisa Dean

December 22, 2020

Lisa Dean has been a friendly face at Judi’s House since she and her son Oliver attended programs at Judi’s House after the death of Lisa’s husband. Lisa has continued her involvement with us as a Companion Volunteer, listening to and supporting children and families enrolled in our programs. She has not missed an opportunity to be part of the program since completing her volunteer training.  Recently, Lisa and Oliver have been busy lending helping hands during COVID by preparing care packages and assembling program supplies. Thank you, Lisa (and Oliver), for allowing us to be part of your journey and for the care you have shown to families we serve.

How did you first become involved with Judi’s House?

I first learned of Judi’s House after the death of my husband, Bart, in 2009. At the time, my son, Oliver, was 5 ½ years old and my family needed a place to help us heal. Judi’s House provided support, tools and hope during these very challenging times. I wish it existed when I was a teenager and experienced the death of my mother. Oliver and I learned that we are not alone in our grief and that grief is not about letting go, but about holding on in a different way. Judi’s House holds a special place in my heart and has shown me that we truly are all connected! I understand and empathize with both the children and the spouses, and I am so grateful to be part of their journey and healing, just as others were there for me and my family.

Please describe your volunteer role(s).

Since 2017, it has been my honor to serve as a Companion Volunteer working with children attending grief support groups. During the groups, I assist grief counselors as the children learn how to talk about and process their grief. Together we explore coping skills that will help them throughout their life. I am amazed at their continued courage and bravery each week. Additionally, Oliver and I volunteered at Memorial Programs, wrote helping hand notes of support, and cleaned supplies in anticipation of in-person groups returning this fall.

What would you tell someone who is considering volunteering with Judi’s House?

Judi’s House is a special place which offers the support needed for families to grieve and to gain new skills; knowing that you are not alone and finding hope is what Judi’s House does so well. If this mission speaks to you, I say go for it. My weeks are brighter because of Judi’s House and yours will be too. I truly believe we are all stronger together and giving of your time or talent sends a strong message to children and families that they are not alone in their grief.

Why do you volunteer?

I grew up watching my mother involved in causes and issues she cared about, and I learned at an early age the importance of taking care of myself and my community. My childhood prepared me for a lifetime of working alongside others to create a more equal and just world. For me, volunteering is part of my DNA. It is one way I seek purpose and meaning from my experiences, while honoring my mother’s memory.

I believe it is my responsibility to instill this value of engaging with the community and supporting one another to my son Oliver. We spend time together each month delivering Meals on Wheels with Volunteers of America, helping with special projects at Judi’s House and served as overnight volunteers for 22 months on behalf of women seeking sanctuary. It is through our actions that we show our gratitude for the support we received during challenging times.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities with Judi’s House!

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