Dean Conklin has been a dedicated volunteer facilitator at Dougy Center for 34 years! He recently decided to take a step back and close from his group, and though we will miss Dean dearly, we are extremely grateful for all he has done for our community. As a volunteer, Dean has helped countless kids, teens, and adults find support through their grief — including our Executive Director Brennan Wood (pictured above with Dean), who was in one of Dean’s groups when she came to Dougy Center as a 12-year-old after the death of her mom.
We asked Dean about his experiences at Dougy Center, and here’s what he had to say:
What led you to become a Dougy Center volunteer?
Ten days after my eighth birthday, my dad died. For 40 years the topic rarely if ever came up. The old “Elephant in the Parlor,” everyone saw it, no one mentioned it. At age 48 I saw a TV piece on Bev Chappell and Dougy Center. Over 30-odd years it has been my second home.
Can you share a story or memory that has been especially meaningful to you?
I could go on with memories, but one that my fellow facilitators may appreciate occurred at an in-service. We had the opportunity to ask a former teen participant about her perspective on the program. I asked something like, “As an older person, how do you see me?” Her answer, “You are my heroes.” WOW!
Thank you Dean for all of your years of dedicated support for kids, teens, and their families who are grieving. To learn more about Dean's story, listen to his interview on this Grief Out Loud podcast.