Monthly Archives: February 2016

Open Hearts: Interview with Lauren Henn

Oh, how we love Lauren Henn! This mover-and-shaker lives in New York City and she is always on the go, traveling to exciting places, spending time with family, and serving on behalf of causes she loves. She inspires us with her fiery personality, her fierce loyalty to her loved ones, and her passion for the children in Ghana. Lauren ended up traveling to the Care Center in honor of her dear, dear friend, Seth Yetter, who died due to a heart defect when he was 25 years old. Lauren talks to us about Seth and the Social Center built in his honor, the impact the TAL children have made on her, and her favorite yoga class ever.   Tell us about your sweet friendship with Seth—how you met, the fun times you shared, the memories you have with him. Seth was my first friend on the track team when I came to Wake Forest for college. I transferred during the middle of the year, so when I showed up on the track people were a little confused. I was a hurdler and the coaching staff was trying (but failing) to turn Seth into a Decathalete, so we ended up training together […]

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Empathy Cards

You just got the news: someone you love has suffered a horrific loss. You feel overwhelmed with emotions, unsure of how to even start expressing your concern for your family member and friend. You want to do something (link to post that we shared about the NY Times article) and you need to start somewhere, so you head to the store to pick out just the right card to send. You’re planning to write a long letter to your loved one, letting them know how much you care about them and the ways you want to help. But you get to the card aisle and the options are so…blah. They’re generic and half-hearted. What now?   We stumbled upon a line of empathy cards that expresses every thought we’ve ever had when we’ve wanted to console a loved one. Emily McDowell launched a line of cards “that wasn’t yet represented in Greeting Card World, and that’s what we most like to do here: identify universal, emotional truths and observations on being human, and turn them into products that help people feel understood. We make cards for the relationships we actually have, not the ones we wish we had, and we’ve made it our mission […]

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Grief Energy: Interview with Nan Deal


We have another wonderful interview to share with you. Nan Deal and her family have been involved with Touch A Life for several years after the loss of their 12-year-old son, Connor, who died suddenly from complications with pneumonia. In his memory, the Deals built the Connor Creative Art Center, an amazing building at the Touch A Life Care Center where healing takes place through therapeutic art programming. They travel to Ghana annually to introduce new projects and programs, and they’ve partnered with us in our Art Healing endeavors to help bring more Art Centers to similar organization around the world. We asked Nan some questions and she gave us some powerful answers. Read on to learn more about her story, her passion for art, and her advice for those who are grieving. How have your life and your journey been transformed by the amazing work you and your family are doing through the Art Center in Ghana? Our lives were forever changed when our Connor passed away. The grief journey is a very long and difficult one. It was very important for me to find Connor’s voice and legacy soon after our loss. It was crucial that it was […]

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How to Be a Friend In Deed


We read this compelling post in The New York Times and even though it was shared over one year ago, it has stuck with us ever since. The premise of the piece is summed up by the author, Bruce Feiler: “Our instinct is often to say to a friend who’s suffering, ‘Let me know if there’s anything you need.’ While well meaning, this gesture unintentionally shifts the obligation to the aggrieved. Instead of offering ‘anything,’ just do something.” Just do something. This phrase impacted us so profoundly. In this day and age of technology and social media, it’s easy to think that if we send a loving email, write a thoughtful text, or comment on a Facebook status, we’ve done our job; we’ve provided consolation and help and hope. Those little bits of encouragement can be helpful, to be sure, but when our loved ones are suffering and grieving, more than anything they need our presence. Sometimes they need us to help with errands—walking their dogs, picking their kids up from school, stocking their refrigerators—and other times they need us to just be there, to sit with them in their suffering, often times in silence, and pray and think and listen. Read on to […]

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Bringing Hope: Interview with Jan Osborn

Photo by Nancy Borowick

In addition to compiling links and articles here in this space, we hope to provide inspiration by sharing interviews with individuals and families who have lost a loved one and have turned to service as an outlet for healing. For our first interview we want to introduce you to Jan Osborn, an amazing volunteer and fundraiser who has blessed Touch A Life more than she knows. Jan and her husband, Scott, lost their son, Zachary, when he was two years old due to Kawasaki’s disease. They have two other sons, Alexander and Nicholas, and their family has been highly involved in Dallas-based charitable work for many years. Jan serves on several boards and is a well-loved member of the community; she gives so much back that when she had a project that she personally wanted to fund, her Dallas friends rallied around her to raise support to build Zachary’s House, the newest dormitory at the Touch A Life Care Center. Since Zachary’s House was officially opened in May 2015, Jan has been at the helm of many exciting projects at the Care Center, including some innovative sewing initiatives and programs for vocational training. We spoke with Jan about her experiences serving with Touch A Life and she provided […]

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