Employee Impact: A Source of Comfort to Children
This post is part of a series that highlights Regence’s unique Executive Board Placement program, which works to match company employees with nonprofit organizations looking to grow their board of directors. A key part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility approach to giving, the board placement program has become one of the most impactful ways Regence strengthens local communities and supports employees in their own volunteerism. Through the board placement program, and the corresponding funding that complements an employee’s board service, Regence supports employees to serve the greater good.
At the Willow Center for Grieving Children, children and their families find support when they are grieving the loss of a loved one. Angie Blewett, Director of Claims Services, in Lewiston, Idaho, was asked to join the board at the Willow Center because of her long-standing commitment to helping children in Lewiston.
How did you get involved with the Willow Center?
AB: I had been involved with many community programs over the years through my kids’ participation in school and sports. My name was given to the board at the Willow Center and a board member contacted me and asked if I wanted to help the organization.
What do you do as a board member?
AB: Last year I was the board chair and currently I serve on the executive committee and focus quite a bit of time on finances and fundraising. We explore different types of programs to determine what activities would help support our community.
Have there been any projects that you’ve been able to help drive?
AB: One of the most emotional programs we do at Camp Erin is called Love Lights. The children decorate a Love Light with anything that reminds them of the person that passed away. At night we go to the lake and each child has the opportunity to say something about that person and then we light the Love Light and put it out on the lake. It helps the child remember that their loved one is not forgotten, and I find that it’s very therapeutic as the child goes through the grieving process.
What types of programs does the Willow Center provide?
Angie Blewett: The Willow Center provides free group support to children, teens, and their adult caregivers who have experienced the death of someone close. The groups are coordinated by mental health professionals and trained volunteers in three areas: to promote the expression of grief and loss; to help with the understanding of death, loss and the process of grief; and to decrease feelings of isolation associated with grief. The Willow Center is the only children’s bereavement program in the region.
Have you seen the impact that the organization’s work is having on the children in Idaho?
AB: I remember one child whose sibling had committed suicide. When we first met with the family, they were apprehensive about participating. After a period of time, we noticed a positive change in the child’s behavior and were told he was doing better in school. Our services helped the family deal with their grief and they found so much benefit that they now help other families who are in similar situations. Knowing that what we do makes that kind of impact inspires me.
What is your view of the board placement program and Regence’s support of your time with the Willow Center?
AB: I feel so fortunate that Regence allows me to help at the Willow Center because it shows me what is really going on in my community. I take pride in the fact that I’m representing Regence and I’m glad that the people in my community see that Regence is a part of our community. I believe it is important for our employees to volunteer since it helps build stronger communities.
For more information about the Executive Board Placement program, please contact Alison Arella at (503) 414-7849 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.