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More Than 25 Years of Stories

Below are 25 of the thousands of stories from The Dougy Center

Izetta and Pan

Izetta and her son Pan first came to The Dougy Center in June of 1983 after Pan’s father died from a heart attack. Pan and Izetta were one of the first families to participate in the program. At the time of Pan’s father’s death, Izetta was studying with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross who directed her to contact Beverly Chappell for support. Less than a year after joining a support group, Izetta worked to develop The Dougy Center program with the help of founder, Bev Chappell. She introduced many of the ideas that are still utilized today, such as the Volcano Room, which has padded walls, a punching bag and soft things to throw. Her son Pan became the first ever teen volunteer and facilitated in a children’s support group for a number of years.

Jenny, Pat, and Laurie

Jenny and her brother, Pat, came to The Dougy Center with their mother Laurie after their father and husband died in a train accident on New Year’s Eve of 1984. After attending a support group for two years, the children closed and Laurie came back three months later as a volunteer. Jenny worked closely with Bev Chappell as a young teenager and attended numerous speaking engagements on behalf of The Dougy Center. Jenny and her brother were part of the original 20/20 video production. Jenny also came back to be a part of the reunion video, Safe Haven, that was filmed ten years later. Laurie continued to volunteer her time in a number of different support groups and served on the Board of Director from 1987 to 1993.

Margie, Collin, Caitlyn, Cameron, and Colby

Margie came to The Dougy Center in 2001 with her three children, Collin, Caitlyn, and Cameron after her husband died in an avalanche while hunting in Wyoming. At the time of her husband’s death, Margie was pregnant with their fourth child Colby, who joined a group with his brothers and sisters when he turned three.

Brennan

Brennan joined a teen group at The Dougy Center after her mom died from breast cancer three days after Brennan’s 12th birthday. Three years later Brennan came back to The Dougy Center as a volunteer in a group for children who experienced the death of a sibling. After ten years of living in different parts of the country, Brennan returned to The Dougy Center as the Program Assistant and a volunteer in a teen group. She recently changed roles and now works in the Development Department. Brennan continues to volunteer her time as a facilitator in the Young Adult Group.

Jacqueline and Kiah

Jacqueline and her daughter Kiah came to The Dougy Center after Jacqueline’s brother Brenen died from cancer. Jacqueline participated in the Young Adult Group and as a parent in Kiah’s peer support group. Shortly after closing from the Young Adult Group, Jacqueline completed the volunteer training and became a facilitator for adults in the Healing from a Suicide Group. Her daughter Kiah, who once said she wanted to set up her room to be exactly like The Dougy Center with art, volcano, and playroom areas, can be found creating artistic works for the program.

Dan

Dan joined a children’s group at The Dougy Center when he was ten, three years after his father died by suicide. Dan attended group for three years before closing in 1993. Thirteen years later Dan came back to become a volunteer facilitator and has worked with both teens and children. Dan can most often be found with three or more children hanging off of his tall frame, pleading for him to play with them in the Volcano Room.

Amber

When she was twelve, Amber’s mother died from cancer. Two years later she joined a Teen Group at The Dougy Center and participated with her father for two years. Shortly after closing from her group, Amber took the volunteer training and began facilitating in a Children’s Support Group. Amber can most often be found sending the children into stitches of laughter and creating a ruckus in the Volcano Room. Amber closed from her group this summer as she is heading to Western Oregon State University for college in the fall.

Cheryl and Amber

Cheryl and her daughter Amber first came to The Dougy Center over fifteen years ago after their husband and father Jon died in a train accident when Amber was three. Cheryl returned as a volunteer facilitator in 1995 and has been a facilitator in the same group for the past twelve years. As a teenager, Amber volunteered her time as an artist for the Benefit for a number of years. Cheryl, who recently joined The Dougy Center staff as the Administrative Assistant, continues to facilitate in the Siblings Peer Support Group.

Judy, Kate, and Rian

Kate came to The Dougy Center with her mother Judy after her father and best friend were killed in a plane crash that Kate survived. Her older brother Rian, who was in college on the east coast at the time of his father’s death, completed the volunteer training in 2004 and continues to facilitate in the Young Adult Group.

Lisa and Helen

Helen and her mom Lisa joined a group for children who have experienced the death of a sibling after Helen’s sister Jean was killed by a log at the beach. Helen attended the Siblings Group until she was old enough to join a Teen Group. A few months after Helen closed from the Teen Group, Lisa decided to become a volunteer facilitator. Lisa, when she’s not running marathons or competing in cyclocross races, can be found co-facilitating one of the Adult Support Groups for caregivers of grieving teens.

Clair, David, and Judy

After her husband died unexpectedly from a cocaine overdose, Clair brought her two children, David and Judy to the Healing from a Suicide Group. David was one of the children in the 20/20 video that spread the word about The Dougy Center across the country. Ten years later, David returned to The Dougy Center to be a part of a reunion video entitled Safe Haven that included four other people from the original 20/20 production. In 2001, after the tragic events of 9/11, Clair decided it was time to take the volunteer training. For the past six years, she has facilitated in the same Monday night group.

Melinda and Nick

Melinda came to The Dougy Center in 1998 with her son Nick when her husband and Nick’s father died by suicide. Five years later, Melinda returned to The Dougy Center to be a volunteer. As a facilitator, Melinda worked first with the Middlers Group for children ages 11 to 14. After starting a graduate school program in counseling at Pacific University, Melinda changed to a Teen Group where she facilitates the Adult Support Group.

Dale, Joel, and Spencer

Dale brought his two sons, Joel and Spencer, to The Dougy Center in 1998 after his wife and their mom died from emphysema. Joel was one of the first to participate in the new Middlers Group for children ages 11 to 14. After closing from The Dougy Center two years later, Dale returned in 2001 to become a volunteer Adult Group facilitator in the Siblings Group. In 2002, Joel decided to take the volunteer training and became a child facilitator in the same group as his father. This marked the first time that a parent and child were volunteers in the same group. While Dale continues in his volunteer role, Joel has since graduated from high school and joined the Air Force in Washington D.C.

Molly and Jim

Molly joined a Teen Group with her father Jim, after her mother died from a sudden heart attack while driving her to school one morning in January, 2003. Six months after closing from her Teen Group, Molly took the volunteer training and became a child facilitator in a group for children who had a parent die from a long term illness. Molly’s poetry about her grief was published in Yesterday Mourning, a collection of writings and artwork by Dougy Center participants. She is currently a college photography student in San Francisco. At last year’s Benefit, she sold her powerful and moving photographs as part of the children’s art auction.

Krystal, Tony, and Kathryn

Krystal, her younger brother Tony, and her mother Kathryn came to The Dougy Center after Krystal and Tony’s father died by suicide in 1993. Krystal attended the Healing from a Suicide Group before changing to a group for teens. Twelve years later she returned to The Dougy Center to complete a semester long internship for her undergraduate degree in Public Health from Portland State University. In the last year, Krystal and Kathryn both graduated from Concordia University’s graduate program in education and are working as teachers in the health and physical education fields.

Lisa

Lisa first came to The Dougy Center as a participant in our Young Adult Support Group after her mother was murdered in 2003. A year later she closed from that group and took the next volunteer training in April, 2005. She now facilitates in a group for children who experienced a sudden death. Lisa also volunteers her time helping at the Benefit auction as well as selling Boxster tickets at the Portland Auto Show.

Diane, Ryan, and Shawna

Diane and her two children, Shawna and Ryan, first came to The Dougy Center in 1989 after their father and her ex-husband died from cancer. They joined one of our peer support groups in 1990 and participated for a year. Diane recalls that at her last group, she told the facilitator that she would definitely be back someday. Just last year she fulfilled that promise and accepted a position on the Board of Directors.

Meghan, Stephanie, and Linda

Meghan and Stephanie first came to The Dougy Center with their mother Linda after their father and Linda’s husband died in a drowning accident. Both girls were a part of the original 20/20 video production that aired in 1992. Tragically, Stephanie also died in an auto accident in November of 2000. Two years later, Meghan returned to The Dougy Center to participate in the 20/20 reunion video entitled Safe Haven. In that video, Meghan described how her experience with The Dougy Center as a child helped her to deal with her sister’s death later on.

Gail and Casey

Gail and her daughter Casey first came to The Dougy Center in 2003 after her husband died by suicide when Casey was seven. While participating in the Healing from a Suicide Group, Gail also agreed to join the Board of Directors, bringing with her a first person perspective on how our program serves children and families. Gail and Casey co-authored a poem entitled “David Dad Happy Sad” that was published in the journal Yesterday Mourning.

Emily, Katy, and Phil

Emily and Katy came to The Dougy Center with their father Phil after their mother and his wife died unexpectedly from a blood clot. In addition to being a part of the Teen Support Groups, both Katy and Emily participated in the first partnership adventure with Outward Bound and spent five days sleeping under the stars and rafting down the Deschutes River. This year, both girls are members of The Scarlet D’s, The Dougy Center’s first ever Teen Theatre Troupe, that has created an original performance about seven teens’ experience with grief and loss.

Barb and Bob

Barb first came to The Dougy Center with her children after her first husband died from cancer. Barb and Bob met when Bob’s first wife was dying from cancer and Barb was the hospice nurse assigned to their family. Many years later, Barb, in her leadership position with Willamette Falls Hospice, became instrumental in forming the collaboration between her agency and The Dougy Center to offer services to families at Walker’s House, The Dougy Center’s program in Canby. Bob and Barb are also volunteers in a Children’s Support Group at the Canby location.

Zach

Zach first attended The Dougy Center when he was 16, six months after his mother and grandmother were killed in December of 2004. Zach, now 18 and getting ready to graduate from high school, participates in one our Teen Support Groups. Zach is known in his group for his calming presence and love for music. During his time at The Dougy Center, Zach participated in a collaborative 10 week writing workshop with Write Around Portland and is currently a member of the Scarlet D’s, our Teen Theatre Troupe. After graduation, Zach is hoping to come back to be a facilitator in one of our support groups.

Ben, Martha, and Greg

Ben came to The Dougy Center with his parents Martha and Greg after his older brother was accidentally shot by the police during a hostage situation in 1992. While at The Dougy Center, Ben told his facilitator that he needed to spatter paint. From that inspiration, we created the Splatter Paint Room where kids can hang paper on the walls and splatter with their paint brushes. Ben closed from his group in 1995 and returned to The Dougy Center as a volunteer facilitator in 2000 when he was 16 years old. Two years later Ben closed from his volunteer group and moved to Colorado for college where he recently graduated. Martha and Greg have also volunteered their time speaking publicly about The Dougy Center.

Seth

Seth and his sister Danielle came to The Dougy Center with their father Chris after their mother and his wife died from complications from diabetes. Seth, who was 12 at the time, attended one our support groups for a little over a year and closed in 1993. Seth is currently signed up to take our volunteer training in June of 2007 and will bring his compassionate nature and enthusiasm for the Volcano Room to his work with grieving children.

Leah, Jacob, and Harris

Leah and her younger brother Jacob, along with their father Harris, joined a group at The Dougy Center after their mother died from a dissecting aorta which resulted in cardiac failure. When the family closed almost two years later, Leah left with the intention of returning as a volunteer. Fifteen years later, her schedule finally allowed her to fulfill that promise. She completed the training in the spring of 2006.