In September 2018, Oakwood residents Ben and Carrie Hay unexpectedly lost their precious 17-month-old daughter, Luella. Deep in grief following this tragedy, they had the opportunity to attend a grief retreat in Wisconsin with other bereaved parents. The experience was so valuable for them, Ben and Carrie decided they wanted to offer it in our area to other grieving parents. Their log cabin home was the perfect setting, so they moved out in February 2021 and started renovations for it to become Luella’s Lodge. Meanwhile, Carrie and Ben formally incorporated their organization as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Luella’s Lodge is dedicated to providing support and resources to families grieving the death of a child. They provide overnight holistic retreats for grieving moms, dads, couples and families as well as other opportunities and events for folks to gather and grieve together including their “Yoga for Grief” series and memorial art projects. Sitting on 8 private, wooded acres of land with a pond and abundant wildlife, Luella’s Lodge is the ideal setting for grievers to feel safe and welcome.
Ben and Carrie joined the Community Foundation’s Community Solutions Incubator in 2020 to receive training, mentoring, and support as they co-founded their new venture. “The Community Solutions Incubator helped us feel confident in the steps we were taking to become a nonprofit, including consultation on our bylaws and board members, educational series on varying relevant topics and being an email or phone call away any time we had a question,” stated Carrie, who serves as the organization’s volunteer executive director. Luella’s Lodge graduated from the incubator in 2022 and as an alumnus, will receive 1:1 mentoring later this year.
Plans for Luella’s Lodge in 2023 include upcoming retreats in May and June. Their Grieving Couples’ Retreat is May 19-21. It is currently full, but couples can be added to their waitlist in the event of a cancellation. They have a Grieving Dads’ Retreat June 23-25 with space available.
Are you interested in getting involved with Luella’s Lodge? Here are ways you can support their efforts:
- Lead activities for grievers including art projects, yoga, outdoor exploration, or other activities for which you have a talent/passion. Reach out to connect on how you can help!
- Volunteer to bring meals to retreat guests, help with yard work, or support the organization with fundraising. Fill out a volunteer application if you are interested in joining their volunteer team.
- Businesses can Sponsor a Retreat to support Luella’s Lodge and spread the word about what they do.
- Make a financial contribution to support Luella’s Lodge. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, donations are tax-deductible to the full extent provided by law.