Today at Rotary



By Nora Peace March 18, 2015

March 18, 2015 Rogna Jurecko and Clint Cable, Cable Orthodotics

“One in 20 children will loss a parent before graduation from high school.” The Highmark Caring Place

Present today were, Nora, Larry, Perry, Matt, Joe L, and Clint.

Today at Rotary Rogna Jurecko came and spoke to the club about the Highmark Caring Place and the Highmark Caring Foundation. The Highmark Caring Foundation was the brain child of some early Pittsburgh Icons including Fred Rogers.

Originally the purpose of the foundation was to raise funds for insurance for uninsured children. Together with partnerships with organizations such as the Steelers this goal was achieved and eventually the funding for uninsured children in Pennsylvania became a state funded program know as CHIP. The Highmark Caring Foundation then went on to fund Care Coordination for the sickest of the sick children in Pittsburgh. Again, over time other organizations filled this void and the Highmark Caring Place found a new focus when they were handed the reigns of The Center for Grieving Children.

The need to care for grieving children and their families has grown and the Highmark Caring Place now has four locations where they provide their services. The locations are downtown Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, and Warrendale.

The Highmark Caring Place runs and oversees grieving programs that are primarily 20 to 18 week in duration, meeting every other week, and are made up of cohorts of 20 to 25 families. The cohorts are categorized as adult and children’s groups. The adult cohorts are organized by the type of loss; spousal, child, mixed loss ( loss not as immediate- such as an ex-spouse, sibling). The children’s groups are organized by developmental breakdowns; infants-K, six to nine, ten to twelve, and the teen room.

The introductory cohorts conclude after the 20 weeks with a quilt project. Each participant completes a square that are then assembled together with the help of volunteers and the group has a Quilt Dedication and Photo event. Rogna emphasized that when you have this type of loss it is extremely helpful to be with other that can relate to your loss and that is what makes their program successful in helping the participants they serve.

The program is provided free of charge to the participants and run by volunteers. The programs are overseen by professions with a minimum of masters in a social services degree. The program is 90% funded by The Highmark Caring Foundation and addition funding comes from the Steelers and other organizations. Our club presented Rogna with a check for the Highmark Foundation in the amount of $200.00.

In other business we discussed Monday’s event at Sterling Ziegler’s house. Remember to tell Clint Cable if you can make the event. There will be pizza, beer, and a great presentation from an American WWII hero from right in our community!