Not only do we have a new staff member to introduce, but with the addition of Tessa Martinson to the Inheritance of Hope (IoH) team, we are also introducing a new offering–Hope Hubs™!
Tessa will be leading IoH into new territory: ongoing in-person groups. “This will be the first time families have the opportunity to do life together through IoH programming,” she says. “This is going to help families make connections and to really show up for each other–with a meal at someone’s house, with a visit after a treatment, or meet up at a playground with the kids.”
Envisioned as a balance between structured curriculum and flexible support, our pilot program will be held in the Washington, D.C. area, but plans are in the works for more Hope Hub™ locations. Tessa expects that each group will develop their own unique personality, and has already had conversations surrounding what families are looking for, “We want to build a culture of listening and providing families what they really need instead of what we think they need.”
However, Tessa has a good idea of what families need, being part of an IoH family herself. In August 2018, Tessa, her husband Jon, and their two children Gentry and AJ were scheduled to attend the Orlando Legacy Retreat®. Jon had been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, and his health was declining quickly. So quickly, in fact, that they were unable to travel and Jon passed away in October. Tessa and her children instead went to an IoH C.A.R.E. Retreat in January 2019, a weekend designed especially for families whose loved one passed away before their scheduled Legacy Retreat®.
“The biggest thing about IoH to me,” she shares, “is just being remembered. Whether it was my birthday, or the anniversary of Jon’s death, or out of the blue a “Happy Thanksgiving” message, we were not forgotten. It wasn’t a one time event. IoH is a relationship and a family that is there to walk alongside you for the whole journey. When you feel like life goes back to normal for everyone else but your life is anything but normal, IoH understands that and IoH is there.”
Tessa has found that this unique culture translates into people wanting to stay involved in IoH. Recently, as she has been calling DC-area families and volunteers, it hasn’t been a hard sell at all for her to find folks willing to serve. And, after saying “yes,” they all say the exact same thing, “Thank you for calling me.”
Tessa wants families to see Hope Hubs™ as a useful complement to Hope@Home™ Groups and Hope@Home™ Weekends, and take advantage of everything IoH has to offer. For anyone who is not quite sure, she would encourage them to give us a try, “One thing I have realized and appreciated is the sense of community in IoH, and that you are not walking this road alone. Everyone’s journey is different,” she explains, “But, for example you know what it’s like to be a caregiver or lose your person and then have to look at the little people in your life and know you have a big responsibility. A responsibility to raise them and honor your loved one’s legacy while also forming a new family legacy. For me, IoH has meant purposefully living while giving us a community of people who get it.”