By PETE DELEA
Daily News-Record 1/21/20
The Sadie Rose Foundation, which was formed about a decade ago to help grieving families suffering from the loss of a child, named Mount Crawford resident Vonda Driver as its new executive director this month.
Driver took over the organization Jan. 1 as it transitions from just helping those suffering from child loss to people grieving the death of other loved ones and friends as well.
She has been a longtime volunteer for the Dayton- based organization and served three years on the nonprofit’s board of directors.
While she hasn’t suffered the loss of a child, Driver said, she’s seen first- hand how the foundation helps people.
“If you don’t have a support network, it’s a good place to go,” she said, adding that there are team members who have suffered a loss who are prepared to help. “This is a safe place where people can come and let their grief out and learn how to cope without being judged.”
Driver takes over for the group’s founder, Regina Cyzick-Harlow, who stepped down as executive director in August to spend more time with her family.
In June 2007, the Grottoes resident lost her daughter, Sadie Rose, 17 hours after being born.
Her family and friends were right by her side for emotional support, but she yearned for an understanding her closest loved ones couldn’t provide. She needed to talk to someone who also lost a baby. She needed someone who understood her pain.
At the time, there wasn’t an established resource. So, a year after Sadie Rose’s death, Cyzick-Harlow and her husband, Lee Harlow, founded the Sadie Rose Foundation to support parents who lost children.
Cyzick-Harlow plans to continue to volunteer with the organization but said it needed a full- time director to guide its future.
She said Driver was an excellent choice.
“She has drive,” Cyzick-Harlow said. “Her enthusiasm is contagious. She’s been to every fundraiser we’ve had.”
Driver will start part time, working one day a week until funds are raised for her to become a full-time director.
One of their tasks is to raise funds through grants and corporate donations, while also organizing the foundation’s events, including the upcoming pancake supper on Feb. 15 at the Dayton Church of the Brethren.
She will also be recruiting people to sign up for the $300 Club, a fundraising initiative that asks individuals, businesses and churches to commit to $300 a year or $25 a month.
Driver also plans to boost the organization’s volunteer base. Those interested in volunteering can visit sadierosefoundation.org.