Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Word from Jacqui Brown, Program Coordinator

The snow and cold winds did eventually arrive in Kansas, as we knew they would! Please be careful on the slick icy roads as you travel from work, school, holiday shopping...

January is just around the corner and I am getting ready for the weekend training for new volunteer facilitators for Three Trees. We do not yet know where this training will be held but I do know that we are ready to welcome you!

This next initial facilitator training is on January 10th and 11th. It is a very important weekend where you will join others and start to tread the sacred ground of companioning grieving children and their caregivers.

If you have spoken to any of the staff at Three Trees about becoming a facilitator and you have not heard from us please call. There are some administrative hoops to jump through and a preliminary interview with me before you are enrolled.

Georgia Ahern and I are looking forward to training you. You will become part of the heart of Three Trees; a dedicated group of volunteer facilitators who are excited to mentor you through your first Ggoups. Your journey with us will be life changing.

"Each time we meet a new bereaved child, we tend to rethink the whys of human existence and, ever so slightly, amend our life philosophy so that it incorporates what we learn from this child." ~ Alan D. Wolfelt, PH.D.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A few photos...

January Groups?: 12/7

Yes, in spite of everything, we are planning on conducting the groups starting in January. In November, Renee Cristiano, our former program coordinator, made the initial contact with families leaving messages. (Thanks Renee!) Jacqui then met with families and scheduled them in groups. She reports she has several families signed up for the Tuesday group starting 1/13 and a couple for the Thursday group starting 1/22.

As of yet, we have not confirmed the location for these groups. We are in the process of determining that now and hope to have a location determined within the next week or so. Check back for the update!

Thursday Group & Project Linus: 12/4

As the winter refuses to ripen we are glad of the continued warm days because we know they will not last. Three Trees continues to hold Groups at Eastminster Church which continues to make us welcome, but like the inevitability of warm days disappearing, our 2008 Groups at Eastminster are coming to an end.

With the end of each Group night, goodbyes are said in very many ways.

At the Thursday Group last week we gave each family a very special handmade blanket. These blankets are made by our local Project Linus organization which makes blankets specifically to comfort children. Each blanket they make for Three Trees has knots tied around the edges and as the fingers tie the knots a good wish, thought or a prayer is said for the family who will receive the blanket.

We said goodbye to one of our incredible teens on Thursday because he is traveling to be reunited with a family member in a different town. As he took his Linus blanket with him we told him to remember all our love and hope go with him and that the blanket will always be his piece of Three Trees and a reminder of how valuable he is. His story has been added to ours and he is forever a precious part of Three Trees.

Thank you Project Linus for being such an integral part of our mission. Your blanket makers will never fully know what a blessing they are! ~ Jacqui

Gift Registries Established: 12/1

To make it simpler to let you know our current in-kind needs and to allow us to track purchases, we've set up gift registries at both Target and Wal-Mart. Both registries can be accessed in the store or on-line. Of course, gift cards to Office Depot, Office Max, Hobby Lobby or Michael's would also be greated appreciated.

The Target registry is set up as an organization wish list. To access, select "Wish List" and then key in "Three Trees" as the organization name. The WalMart registry is also set up as a "Wish List." To access this registry key in "Three" as the first name and "Trees" as the last name.

Building 800: 11/18-25

On November 18, our insurance company released the Three Trees site so salvagable items and debris removal could begin. They officially concluded their investigation of the physical site however their statement as to the cause of the fire has not been released.

Service Master was hired to restore whatever items we wanted to take and to remove all the debris. Katie, Georgia, Jacqui, David and Jeri were all involved in determining salvagable items. Not much was removed due to smoke damage. Some items we took include craft items in sealed containers, a few pieces of furniture, some of the ceramic hearts on the mosaic, some books, We also took a few original painting in the hopes they can be restored.

All items were removed prior to Monday 11/24, the day Service Master came in to start their work. Amazingly enough, all burned, smokey, ruined items were removed in only 1 1/2 days. The last time I visited the office was the day before Thanksgiving. If I didn't know better, I would never have believed what it looked like before. What I saw was a burned out and empty shell. Sad as it was to see, I felt like a chapter of the fire was closing and now it was time to focus on the future.

Committee Working on Site Location: 11/17

The Three Trees Board appointed a volunteer committee to research options and make recommendations as to where our new office should be: the current 800 building or another location. This committee is led by Jerry Jones (board member) and others on the committee are Patrick Ahearn, Allan Dunne, Jim Hattan, Ross Way and Wendy Prue. The committee met on Monday 11/24 and have been working individually since that time. They will meet again prior to the board meeting on 12/17, at which time they hope to give a preliminary recommendation to the Board.

Independent Fire Investigation: 11/14

Our insurance company made the decision to hire an independent fire "cause & origin" expert. This is primarily because of two factors: 1) the preliminary ruling from the Wichita Fire Dpt that the fire's cause was 'accidental due to a probably candle' and; 2) the possibility of subrogation from other insurance companies. On Friday, 11/14 David Wheeler (our board president) spent several hours at the office with this expert. David reported it was very interesting and the "this guy definitely knows his stuff." He looked at, took photo’s of, and even smelled parts of the office where the fire started. Based upon his investigation, he believes he knows what caused the fire rather than going with a probably theory. It will be interesting to learn what his actual report reveals.