“Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.”
Educator, Writer, Theologian
Social workers Amy Rowe and Tim Polakowski are following that advice. They are translating their greatest shared passion into a reality. The two are on a mission to launch the Monarch Grief Center, a stand-alone grief and bereavement center. Rowe and Polakowski, working together at an end-of-life organization, have been acutely aware of the need for such a center that could provide ongoing support and resources for those experiencing a loss.
Rowe said she started talking about such a center with her mentor and good friend, counselor Bill Roman, 10 years ago. While the concept lay dormant, Rowe never lost the vision.
“I was in a meeting with Tim and happened to share my dream with him. We both knew that there was a gap in the community. There is no centralized location for resources to help those experiencing grief,” Rowe said. “Many local organizations offer wonderful grief services but they may be hard to access and they are not the main purpose of those groups. Helping people deal with every kind of loss is our objective.”
“I agreed there is a great need, but at first the idea of launching such a project was daunting to me,” Polakowski related. “But then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It became my passion as well. That night I couldn’t sleep for the excitement I felt. I knew I was in.”
The two were encouraged when their not-for-profit designation took only three weeks to finalize after they were told the process could take months. “We felt it was a sign,” they said.
With their 501 (c) (3) designation in place, Rowe and Polakowski are busy raising awareness and funds for their project. “We do want this to be an operation supported by the community,” Polakowski stated. “And, while funding is always an issue, we do not want finances to be a roadblock to those in need of the services that will be offered.”
Those envisioned services include individual grief counseling for adults and teens who have experienced the death of someone significant to them. Support groups offering a safe, trusted place to experience and cope with grief with other issues are also planned. “Many times those experiencing grief feel so alone. With the center, people will realize they are not alone. We also want to develop a library and serve as a resource center along with offering educational tools for those needing them as well as raise awareness in the community,” Polakowski said.
Their immediate plan is to identify the appropriate space and see their vision. “We liked the idea of our name, Monarch Grief Center, and its symbolism of transformation,” Rowe stated. “Death doesn’t have to be scary, and like the Monarch butterfly, beautiful things can come out of death. The Monarch Grief Center is about helping people experiencing loss accept and find that beauty and experience peace.”
Rowe and Polakowski have established http://www.monarchgriefcenter.org for those wishing to provide financial support or to learn more about the concept.