Volunteers from Indiana District’s Critical Incidence Response Team (In-CIRT) were requested in late January by Alicia Levitt, assistant principal at Emmanuel-St. Michael’s Lutheran School in Fort Wayne. The school’s beloved preschool teacher, Michelle Wolfer, had died of cancer. Mrs. Levitt asked specifically that comfort dogs come as well.
We were able to arrange with Lutheran Church Charities in Illinois for three comfort dogs and their handler to be in both buildings the two school days after the funeral. As small groups of children came into the assigned room, the handlers stayed with the comfort dogs while IN-CIRT volunteers and school staff talked with the children.
If your congregation, school or community experiences a “critical incident”, call the District office during business hours or Dave Ebeling anytime (812.322.6503) to activate a team. A critical incident is any event that significantly impacts the school, church or community: It might be weather-related, a death, some legal action, a fire or break-in. Twenty seven (27) IN-CIRT volunteers are trained and certified to be of assistance to children and adults.
NOTE: The attached photo shows two young ladies and one of the comfort dogs. Permission has been granted to distribute it.