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Helping Families Through Tragedy... Our Mission is to:
1. Love God and Love People
Ellie understood the two simple commandments of Jesus.
Matthew 22:37-39, "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’"
2. Organize, Maximize, and Deliver Goodwill
Ellie’s parents, Todd and Kristen, recall an experience that led them to Ellie’s Way:
"The visitation took hours and we appreciated the outpouring of support and condolences. We were just trying to survive and our friends, family, and community were doing their best. We learned that everyone wanted to help in some way, but they didn’t know what to do, and we certainly had no idea what we needed. "
Ellie’s Way will deliver a comprehensive plan and assist with implementation to maximize the goodwill that exists in our communities following a tragic event.
3. Empower Communities to Help Those in Need
Communities have the resources to help their neighbors when a tragedy occurs. They just need to be organized and implement a good plan. Ellie’s Way will use social media and technology to empower local communities and networks of caring people to provide assistance to those in need.
We provide support to families in tragic circumstances in the following ways:
Our definition of the initial response phase is from notification until one week after the Memorial service. In most cases, the family and community are in shock and do not have a comprehensive plan. That’s where Ellie’s Way steps in.
There is so much goodwill that needs to be organized, maximized, and delivered when unexpected tragedies occur. People want to help, but don’t know what to do. Families need help, but don’t know what they need.
We will form a team of three Ellie’s Angels that will provide initial response coordination, identify short-term needs, coordinate support on special days, and provide ongoing support and resources. Ellie’s Way will partner with the family’s church, other local churches, and service organizations to provide assistance.
The Ellie’s Angels team will work closely with a Support Director identified by the family. Our goals are to streamline communication, logistics, donations, preservation of memories, funeral planning, practical help (meals, errands, yardwork), and education in the initial response phase.
After the initial response, we want to be there for the long haul, providing long term support.
Long Term Support
As time goes on, the family can be forgotten as most people continue on with their normal lives. There are still many ways that the family can be comforted. Ellie’s Way will educate family and friends about the complexity of grief and encourage implementation of a long term support plan.
There are many meaningful things that can be done. For example, planting a tree, writing letters, embroidering blankets, purchasing wristbands or T-shirts, mowing the lawn, walking the dog, and communicating on a regular basis, to name a few. Volunteer sign ups are easy to use for many tasks such as meals, childcare, and communications.
Ellie’s Way has found volunteers with unique skills to provide gifts such as poems, enhanced digital images, personalized bracelets and necklaces, care baskets with books and embroidered blankets, prayer scarves, and much more.
We are building a contact database of people that have experienced loss and want to help others. This database also contains professionals that want to serve such as clergy, lawyers, doctors, therapists, and celebrities.
When appropriate, we will attempt to connect the family to available support groups such as GriefShare, Stephen Ministry, or Compassionate Friends. We will look for appropriate groups for all family members.
We have learned that serving others and finding meaning in our loss, while remembering our little Ellie, has helped us walk through the valley of grief. It is our hope that many more will follow us along that path, turning tragedy into love and service.
Grief Education and Resources
Ellie’s Way seeks to further grief education and provide resources to the families involved, friends, community, and the public.
Unfortunately, it is not likely that anyone is prepared for a tragedy. The intense feelings are overwhelming for all involved. There are many resources available. Through our blog and email newsletter, we will provide insights and share what we’ve learned.
The Ellie's Way website has many resources including blog roll and website directory and grief related poems, stories, music, quotes, etc.
- Todd Nigro
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