Giving Back to Grieving Families
Volunteers mend a broken heart.

To ensure no child in Michigan grieves alone.

Throughout Michigan, hundreds of families are dealing with the loss of a loved one at any given time. Ele’s Place, a healing center for grieving children and teens was founded to serve the hurting families. Nearly thirty years ago, Betsy and Woody Stover established the organization following the death of their infant daughter, Helen Louise Snow Stover. The Stover’s realized that their three children were grieving the death of their sister, but not in the same way they were as parents and adults. Out of community need, the Stover’s, along with mental health professionals and concerned volunteers, started Ele’s Place in Lansing, Michigan.
GreenStone team members have been volunteering at Ele’s Place for years. Cheryl Carlton, senior loan documentation compliance specialist, and Ananda Worden, customer service representative, both have volunteered numerous hours throughout the last decade in different capacities.
“In 2003, I started volunteering over the summer at Ele’s Place as a front desk receptionist,” recalls Ananda. “I wanted to get involved and give back to the organization that had given my family and I so much support. Since then, I have participated in several Ele’s Place Run events to stay involved.”
At age nine, Ananda lost her father suddenly to a heart attack. It was Ele’s Place that helped her process the emotions following the tragic event. Time spent at the center allowed Ananda to transition her grief into inspiring people to achieve their goals, just as her father did for his students at Michigan State University.
Cheryl Carlton has been volunteering weekly for the past decade. After her children all graduated from high school, Cheryl was looking for a way to give back to her community.
 “My role is to greet the families as they come in and set up a potluck dinner.  Having dinner ready for the families is one less thing they need to worry about one night a week,” says Cheryl Carlton. “The families get to know you and depend on you to be there to help with their grieving process. 
“My daughter, Becky was a volunteer there and said it would be a perfect fit for me, and it was and still is,” Cheryl adds. “Volunteering has helped to keep me grounded.”
At GreenStone we believe it is important for our employees to get involved in local service activities, because the areas where we work are the areas where both our staff and our customers live. Getting involved in the community and interacting with neighbors, friends, colleagues and customers is an important part of GreenStone’s four core values:
Customer First • Deliver Quality • Get Involved • Do the Right Thing
“I’m very appreciative of the time I get to use volunteering at Ele’s,” says Cheryl. “GreenStone has been very accommodating with an alternative work schedule so I have time to get home and prepare for my Wednesday evening at Ele’s, as it can be a very heavy night.”
“I can only think of one answer to why I value volunteering in the community, and it is a quote that reminds me of my father,” Ananda adds.“Margaret Mead said it best: Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”
Thank you Cheryl and Ananda for exemplifying GreenStone’s four core values through your time spent at Ele’s place.
Please visit the Ele’s Place website for more information and ways to become involved!



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