What is your favorite thing about working with your group & co-facilitator?
“My cofacilitator and I get along really well which makes planning our group nights really fun! 1st-3rd graders are a lot of fun and they LOVE working on expressive arts activities! They are so creative when it comes to expressing their thoughts, feelings and emotions. It’s fun to watch their faces light up when they realize they have something in common with the kid sitting next to them. Once they connect, they feel a special bond with each other. That is the magic of Fernside!”
~ Katie Pellegrini, Fernside Volunteer since 2011
Katie first attended Fernside’s peer support groups at our East Side location with her mom, Suzie and twin brother, Marco, following the sudden death of her father in the Spring of 2009. Katie was just 14 years old. She remembers that Fernside was always a comfortable and safe place for her to talk about her feelings after losing her dad. “I loved attending my Fernside support group and remember never wanting to miss a group night! My group was really close as most of us had lost our fathers, so we all had something in common to start. I loved playing grief Jenga and Expressionary. I made an ornament with a letter to my Dad in it that I still put up on my tree every year.”
When Katie was a student at Anderson High School, she returned to Fernside to volunteer as a member of our teen PIT (Philanthropists in Training) Crew. She helped out at our monthly New Family Orientations, welcoming and touring new families. After a few years, Katie returned to serve as a volunteer greeter at our Downtown location. She was the perfect person to welcome families and volunteers as they arrived for group as her energy and bubbly personality are unmatched!
In 2017, after graduating from Ohio University, Katie went through our Facilitator Training Program so she could lead a twice-a-month support group in our Evening Program. She’s been facilitating groups for 1st-3rd graders at our East Side location for the past three years!
In addition to the hours Katie has donated as a direct service volunteer, she also joined our Fernside Classic Committee last year so she could spend even MORE hours donating her time and energy to grieving children and families. Katie was instrumental in securing sponsorships as well as assisting with auction items. “Being on the committee, I realized that there are people who don’t get to work directly with the kids. I’m able to share the impact from the kid’s perspective and contributing that to the other committee members who work hard to raise money for Fernside was really meaningful.”
Thank you, Katie, for understanding the true meaning of “giving back”. Your compassion and enthusiasm make all the difference to the children and families served in our community!