Introducing Kara Durgin, our new Program Manager

Longtime Inheritance of Hope supporter Kara Durgin upped her involvement with the organization just as the pandemic struck.  The two-time onsite retreat volunteer refused to be sidelined when service opportunities moved online, and instead showed up for our families through both Hope@Home™ Weekends and Hope@Home™ Groups. 

Kara (right) volunteering at a NYC Legacy Retreat®

Kara’s background as a high school English teacher gave her automatic rapport with our young adults group, but she got as much out of the weekly meetings as they did, “When my high school classes went online, it often felt like I was just delivering a daily monologue,” she laughs.  “In the Tuesday young adults group, it was lovely to meet with people who wanted to be on Zoom and wanted to interact. I love that group–they are such special people that are so so fun to spend time with.”

Kara now looks forward to working side-by-side with many of those same folks as IoH gears up for in-person retreats.  Young adults who were served by IoH as kids are some of our very best volunteers, and as Kara begins a new role leading our onsite retreat team, she hopes that even more will come back and serve!

A native of Nebraska, this former University of Minnesota diver has also lived in Joshua Tree, California.  She, her husband, and two teenagers are settled in Rochester, Minnesota, where Kara first heard about IoH when Co-Founder Kristen Milligan spoke at a bible study.

From that very first introduction, Kara knew IoH was something special, “With any organization,” she explains, “it’s the people that make it. IoH is an easy ‘yes.’  It is authentic, genuine, and full of loving, transparent people who are hoping to provide some joy to people facing really hard stuff.  Nobody would ever want anyone to be in this situation, but it is such a treat to be part of something that can take a tragedy and turn it into something so much more.”

Which is exactly what she will do in her new position.  Kara doesn’t like the term “in charge,” but she will be managing our onsite event teams and pulling together all the many details that go into a Legacy Retreat®Although a self-described “book nerd,”  Kara is recharged by the unique atmosphere at retreats, “I love getting to meet people, and getting to spend intense time with people. I’m wired to do certain things and I feel like retreats are one of them.  The energy, relationships, face-to-face love that you get to give people.  I love all of that.  I love the pace, the excitement, and the creativity of pulling together all the details.”

While it’s hard to pin her down on her favorite part of a Legacy Retreat®, Kara especially enjoys the Welcome Dinner, when families first arrive and start to get an idea of just how much they are already loved.  “They get to see that we have very intentionally thought about things to do and ways to honor them.  They haven’t gotten to experience anything like that,” she says. 

Kara’s philosophy (center; back row) is to “meet families where they are at and love them where they are at.” She looks forward to being part of the team that will grow Legacy Retreats® into personal events that help families create memories and legacies that no one else provides. “What we offer is unique,” she says. “No one else does it.”
See for yourself the intentional love and one-of-a-kind experience that we describe as a Legacy Retreat®.

Know a young family who could benefit from a Legacy Retreat®? Apply or refer now >>