Who: Dee Mclain
Job Title: Revenue Accountant
My week volunteering through the EpicVolunteers program was a fantastic opportunity to work for a cause that is near and dear to my heart. Two and a half years ago my baby granddaughter, Caroline, was stillborn when my daughter was six months pregnant. My daughter, her husband and I experienced sadness and found little that could provide comfort. The hospital where Caroline was born had very few resources or recommendations for organizations that could provide loss support to our family and we didn't know how to move forward without her.
Then, that November, my daughter, Elizabeth, found Molly Bears – a nonprofit organization that makes weighted teddy bears for families experiencing pregnancy and infant loss. Molly Bears weights teddy bears to the exact weight of a child who passed away and decorates those bears with special requests to remind parents of their baby. It is the only way that a parent can feel the weight of their own child in their arms once again.
When my daughter received her Caroline Bear a few months after Caroline was born, it was the first thing in a long time that brought our family a sense of peace. It was like having a small part of sweet Caroline with us again. A few short months later, my daughter and I began working as volunteers for Molly Bears, creating and sending bears home to families of loss.
Based on our own family’s personal experience, we felt that it was important to reach families as early as possible – to let them know that their baby matters and that there is support available for grieving families.
During the week that I did my EpicVolunteers work, my daughter and I visited hospitals, prenatal support groups and birthing centers across Colorado. We stopped into Labor & Delivery units, delivered cookies and goodies to nurses’ stations and talked about Molly Bears with counselors, therapists, doulas…anyone who would listen! We brought bears for nurses to hold and feel because feeling the weight of the bear (similar to a baby) in your arms really brings life to a Molly Bear. During these visits, we delivered information to nurses, who would then be able to pass Molly Bears information along to grieving families before they even left the hospital.
Each day, my daughter and I set up meetings and made visits from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs and everywhere in between. By the end of the week we were exhausted – both emotionally and physically – but it was a week that was beyond worth the work that we did.
Because of EpicVolunteers and the opportunity that I was given by Vail Resorts, hundreds of nurses, parents, grandparents and families know about Molly Bears now. Because of that week, there are families who will be told from the start that their baby matters, that they aren’t alone in their grief and that there is support out there.
EpicVolunteers provides Vail Resorts employees with the opportunity for enriching Experience of a Lifetime through 40 hours of paid time off to volunteer. Participants can select nonprofits in their own backyard, across the country or even abroad, lending talent and energy to worthy causes while learning of important social and environmental issues. Employees are encouraged to apply for EpicVolunteers at any time during the year. Applications will be accepted on the 15th of every month, as long as the application is submitted at least three months prior to the project. If accepted, volunteers will hear by the 15th of the following month and attend an EpicVolunteers training the month before their project. Click here to apply.