Do you ever have that feeling when you walk into a place you know you are exactly where you are supposed to be? I felt that way the moment I walked into the doors of Ryan’s Place. Several months ago I went searching for a charity that served children/families and that doesn’t have the same fundraising opportunities as some of the other well known charities in our area for a community project I’ve been working on. My friend Darren, who works for United Way, sent me a list of a few he knew fit what I was looking for and that would put additional funding to good use. I would have never thought that would lead me to a not for profit grief counseling center.
I met with Kristin (from Ryan’s Place) at The Electric Brew, shocking I know. I practically live at The Brew. We instantly hit it off and my heart knew this was the organization I wanted to work with. A few weeks later my husband and I attended a dinner with kids/families in the program and some of the facilitators. I got the opportunity to speak with Rex Gleim (one of the founders) and many other wonderful volunteers and staff at Ryan’s Place and witness first hand the wonderful services they provide there. These people felt like family to me. I knew I was exactly where God wanted me to be. Click here for the blog post on our visit.
Grief is something that affects every one of us at some point in our lives. My first experience with grief was when my Grandma Porgie passed away when I was a freshmen in high school. I was crushed. I cried for days and I still tear up as I write this. The loss still feels so close even 20 years later. I’ve lost many other loved ones over the years but had no idea there was a place to go to get help through the grieving process and find that hope that can sometimes feel so distant after losing someone close to you. Some of these families have lost their parents, children and siblings and I can’t imagine the pain and sorrow they are trying to process. Ryan’s Place has wonderful programs to bring those who are grieving together. They help hold each other up when they are feeling down and they support each other.
Suppressing grief is dangerous and the financial burden after losing someone doesn’t always allow for counseling through traditional avenues nor is that always the best method, this is where Ryan’s Place comes in. All of their services are free. They provide services to not only families and children in Elkhart County and surrounding areas but they also provide services in our school systems. Too often in the current state of our world, our children are experiencing grief at a very early age. While kids are resilient, we as compassionate, loving human beings are not naturally equipped with how to process grief in a healthy way and it can be different for everyone. Many can feel very alone and hopeless and that can turn into a lot of other negative impacts in their lives if the grief is not addressed. I’ve seen it happen. Someone I loved very much went down a very destructive road and I stood by not knowing how to help him nor did I know there were places he could go to get help and for free. Anyone who has ever been a part of Ryan’s Place will tell you the pure blessing this organization is to our community and to those they serve.
If this moves your heart I urge you to donate any amount you can to Ryan’s Place. They operate on a VERY small budget and you won’t find any fancy offices or high end bells and whistles in the space they occupy. It’s a simple yet loving space. They are located in 203 N. Fifth St. in Goshen inside the brethren church. Go check them out yourself and see what I am talking about. I’m sure they’d be happy to give you a tour.
I know today is a day that brings an abundance of emotions for most of us in America and while we spend our time posting about how we will never forget the tragedy that happened on American soil years ago, just think about those who lost loved ones that day and those who have lost children, parents, siblings and are trying to cope in the midst of pain, sorrow and darkness. They need our support and this is one way we can show up and say I support you and I love you, so I’m going to see to it that you have the care you need to find hope and light at the end of what can be a very dark path.
Here are a few of the loved ones I am missing…I’ll never forget!
So, as this blog post promised, here and above are a few photos from the Charity Fashion Show that I hosted at the Downtown Goshen Theater last Friday. I am proud to announce we raised over $4,000 through business sponsorships and anonymous giving. The event was a hit and I look forward to doing it again. It feels good to give back to my community and meet so many wonderful people doing amazing things. I feel blessed they let me be a part of it. We even made the front page of the Goshen News (above), whoot, whoot. Click here to read the article. A huge thank you to all those who gave, participated and volunteered, there is no way I could do this without you and I am so thankful to have each of you in my life. You can learn more about Ryan’s Place by clicking here or following them on social media here.