When families close with The WARM Place, we give them an opportunity to tell us what The WARM Place has meant to them. This is some of what I have learned at The WARM Place.
The WARM Place has meant that two amazing people, Dr. John Richardson and Peggy Bohme, founded The WARM Place in 1989. Peggy taught me that our work here is all about the children. We may lose our way, but when we come back to the children we are on track again. It’s always about the children.
It has meant progress in how we work. When I started at The WARM Place, the tools of the trade were a telephone, a Polaroid camera, pen and paper. My first reports were hand-written. I shared an office with 5 other people and the pre- and post-session area in a large converted attic area. We may not have had windows, but the joy of working with grieving children was always there. Now there is the internet, better computers, Pinterest, smart phones, smart TV’s, and smart people who know how to use all of these to bring supporters, volunteers, and families together. I learned that it takes all of us on staff working together to run a successful organization.
I learned that a very active board of directors is a very successful one. We have a board that is also personally interested in the staff. I felt that especially when my husband, Terry, was going through cancer treatments several years ago. The expressions of concern that I received from the board mean a lot to me.
I learned that my husband would always be my number one supporter and my daughter inspired me when she chose to become a counselor.
I learned about volunteers. Interns are a special kind of volunteer that spend a semester with us earning credit toward the completion of a degree in counseling. I think of an intern as a gift that I open at the beginning of the semester and we see what’s inside. It is the place that I am reminded most that we are each different and each of us has our own special gifts.
I think of Aiken Drum, the brownie, from Scottish literature, when I think of our volunteer house parents. Aiken Drum cheerfully helps those who take joy in their work. I see such joy in the faces of our house parents as they greet and serve our families.
Volunteer facilitators are there most directly helping our children, connecting with them, forming that important relationship with our children.
Monitors are the eyes and ears of the evening group time and the encourager for our facilitators.
Policeman—it is very comforting to know that you are here and that we are safe. You see that families come and go safely and you are the last to leave in the evening.
I learned that it takes all of us. And, of course, we are all here for the families.
-Kathy Telger, WARM Place Counselor