The Vanderstelt Family
The Vanderstelt Family~Emily
Former participant and now super star goalie Emily Vanderstelt decided that she wanted to give back to the place that helped her and her family when they needed it. Through her “Saves for Seasons” campaign she raised $270! Each time Emily had a shut out she would receive a donation – and with 27 shut outs it didn’t take long to accumulate a nice donation to Seasons Centre for Grieving Children.
Emily, now aged eleven was just six years old when she joined the program at Seasons Centre. Emily came to Seasons because her baby brother Ben died in 2009, just before she turned five. Emily’s Mom, Kristin, shared with us that until the moment her brother died Emily was a happy, caring and compassionate child. Gradually in the days and weeks after Ben’s death Emily regressed, she became angry and lashed out at everyone around her, refusing to do the simplest tasks such as brushing her teeth. Her parents, Kristin and Brian, didn’t know what to do and sought help. They took Emily to a therapist who explained that she couldn’t give Emily what she needed as she felt that Emily needed to be with other children who understood how she felt, and that is when they found Seasons Centre. When Emily joined group her parents noticed changes. After every group Emily would bring home the activity she had completed that night and place it on a shelf where she kept all of her activities. Each one was a reminder of a lesson that she had learned in group. Emily was able to explain her behavior, she learned to talk about her emotions and when she was having a bad day she would ask ‘how many more sleeps until I go to Seasons’? Emily got back to being the little girl that she was before Ben died. To this day Emily still has a collection of activities that she completed at Seasons Centre. One activity that happens with young participants is called The Feelings in My Body. With the help of a volunteer buddy they create an outline of their body and use words, colours and pictures to show the different sensations in their body that are triggered by their emotions, then they talk about what those emotions might be. Emily left group in 2012 feeling ready to walk her path without group. The Feelings in Her Body still hangs on the back of her bedroom door as a reminder every day of the lessons she learned in her time in group. In 2014 Emily approached us to ask if she could give back, and we are so grateful to hear about Emily’s success and to be a part of her desire to give back.