Wodiska, Lorraine

Lorraine Wodiska, PhD, ABPP, CGP, FAGPA

It started with a question over a family dinner from my brother-in -law. In your will, are you leaving everything to your children (Of course!), or are you going to do something more meaningful with a part of your wealth? What about funding a scholarship? Or leaving a legacy? Would your children miss that money?

Not being wealthy, this struck me as a question with possibilities I had not imagined. And so, I considered if or where I wanted to contribute to my community. I felt empowered to make a small difference. I thought about my values. Maybe the Group Foundation?

Why the Group Foundation? I believe Marsha Block, CAE, CFRE, CEO, knows the answer to this question. It starts in August 2005. When I volunteered with the Red Cross for the very first time, it was to be a front-line mental health worker in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. The conditions were reported as dire; New Orleans was essentially closed down (except for the National Guard and some access with Red Cross and FEMA), and there would be no services—no water, no electricity, no beds, no goods and services, extreme heat, and still-standing flood waters. Truth be told, I was scared; I had not volunteered with the Red Cross before now; I did not know what to expect; the news was frightening, and my family thought I should not go. I wavered. Out of nowhere, Marsha called me and said she knew I would be going to assist and assured me that AGPA would have my back. How did she know me? How did she know I was going to Louisiana? What could she do? Marsha promised I could choose anyone in AGPA to be on call for me as a consultant 24/7. At that time, I chose Trish Cleary, MS, LCPC, MFT, ADC, CGP, and was in touch with her when needed—any time and every time. Trish always answered the phone. She always spent time with me. What more is there to say? What other organization does this? (By the way, I continue to assist the Red Cross annually offering Disaster Mental Health Services. Bonnie Buchele, PhD, CGP, DLFAGPA, is my current 24/7 consultant, and I owe her my enduring gratitude as well.)

The next time I saw Marsha, I expressed my deepest appreciation for what she had set up for me. As a result, I asked about leaving money to the Group Foundation in my will and the possibility of setting up a Legacy Foundation. I checked with my attorney, and at the next AGPA Connect, we met with AGPA's attorney Bruce Hopkins to start that process. Ever since, AGPA is my top priority in terms of giving. I know where the money goes. I know what the money does. I know who the people are. I know I want to be of assistance.