Payton Shirley Cropped

Volunteer Spotlight: It’s All About Your Perspective

We are so excited to introduce you to a spectacular young lady! Payton Shirley attended The WARM Place as a teenager after the death of her mother. Her experience at The WARM Place influenced her so strongly that after closing, she was counting down the days that she would be able to return as a volunteer facilitator and make a direct impact in the lives of children that were also grieving the death of a loved one. She is a positive ray of sunshine, and we are so fortunate to have her as a part of our volunteer family! We hope you enjoy getting to know a bit more about her.


Tell us about yourself!

My name is Payton Shirley, and I am 20 years old. I attended Tarrant County College and work as a server at Lazy Dog. I have 2 older brothers and the best dad anyone could ask for. When I’m not working or at school I am hanging out with friends and family, working out, or trying to find new things to bake and cook!


How has your experience as a former WARM Place client impacted/influenced your volunteering?

The night I closed I knew it wasn’t the end of my WARM Place journey. Something in my heart told me that I would be here again just in a different way. I got to really know my facilitators and loved every single one of them. I was able to see that they were volunteering out of the kindness of their hearts, and we were all able to share moments of silence just in awe of a really powerful group. I loved getting to see all of us grow together and I knew I wanted to be a part of the WARM Place and help kids with their grief journey, even when my chapter was over. Some of those facilitators made a forever impact in my life and I want to do the same for other kids like me.


If you could describe the impact of The WARM Place in one word, what would it be, and why?

One word to describe the impact the WARM Place had on me would be perspective. Going in there I had such a hate for the world, I was angry, I felt hopeless, broken, and had given up on the idea that I would ever be happy again.

My first group I told myself that I wasn’t going to like it, I wasn’t going to be here long, and that no one could help me. That night everything seemed to change for me. I was finally surrounded by kids who thought and felt the same things as me. I felt true authenticity and love from complete strangers. The more I kept going the more I started to see the world differently. I was able to realize that what happened to me was terrible and no one should have to go through it, but it is possible to take something awful and turn it into something beautiful. I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I was able to learn that it’s okay to be happy and laugh, to be sad and to cry, because my feelings are valid, and I am no longer alone.

Because of The WARM Place I now see the world as a beautiful place and want to live every day of my life as if it were my last.


What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering at The WARM Place?

DO IT! Every other Thursday I leave group feeling all the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. I wish I could volunteer as a full-time job because the joy it brings me is like no other. It is such a beautiful place to be and I would recommend it to everyone to volunteer! 


Are you interested in becoming a WARM Place Volunteer like Payton? We would LOVE to have you! Click here to learn more. 

Katy Roussey

Katy Roussey

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