What a pretty girl’s name for a very beautiful place.
I was invited by the Founder and Bereavement Specialist, Leslie Delp, to visit her premier freestanding, independent grief and loss center in early December. Usually when I go on a discovery adventure I do some preliminary research so that I can ask meaningful questions and get the most out of a visit. But this time, I just jumped in the car and drove over the Susquehanna River to York, PA. It was only a 22 mile trip from Lancaster but it was as unfamiliar to me as a trip to another state. My GPS guided me through the downtown area to the northern edge of the city. The beautiful house on North George Street was a pleasant surprise and the minute I walked in, I sensed a feeling of comfort and warmth.
Leslie and I quickly engaged in a conversation and I immediately felt like I was talking to an old friend. We shared a background in education and personal loss, but more than that, her straight forward, practical approach was right up my alley.Questions and answers volleyed back and forth and I was glad that I did not come with any preconceived notions. My heart filled with joy as I listen to her describe her mission. Olivia’s House facilitates healing though grief and loss education. In just a few minutes into my visit, it was abundantly clear to me that Leslie understood children and knew how to meet their needs.
I was given a complete tour of the facility and with each section I could see the pride in Leslie’s eyes and the dedication to her vision. Rooms were carefully age-appropriately designed since services are offered to children as young as three through eighteen and also for adult family support. I loved the butterflies made from tiny thumb prints on the wall in one room and recognized the quote stenciled near the deep blue star studded ceiling in the teen spiritual center, “Perhaps there are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy”. ( Eskimo proverb) I too used this same quote in the journal section of my book.
We walked over to the adjacent building where I met the very enthusiastic Executive Director, her son, K. C. Delp. In addition to tending to the financial details, he used his stagecraft design background to decorate all of the rooms to perfection. I picked up on a definite family atmosphere on site that afternoon and I am sure is felt by all who enter.
After my 90 minute visit my head was swirling with all of the details and a sense of excitement for the discovery of such a wonderful treasure in my own backyard. This community based facility provides a no-cost safe and authentic program for children. They have recently expanded their vision to a newly opened Olivia’s House in Hanover, PA.
Leslie truly knows what she is doing and does it right. Her warmth and compassion are genuine and I can’t wait to make another visit in better weather to see their beautiful garden in bloom.
Loss will knock on each one of our doors someday. If your family or a loved one’s or friend’s could benefit from this kind of support, I hope you will keep in mind this incredible facility that is waiting to open its doors to children and their families with a variety of programs and services.
God bless you Leslie and thank you for opening up my eyes to a special place. I will be back!