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Highmark Caring Place to honor Erie volunteers

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June 22, 2009 | Erie, Pa. —

More than 6,300 hours dedicated to help grieving children and families
The Highmark Caring Place will recognize 121 volunteers on Thursday, June 25 at the Ambassador Banquet and Conference Center. These individuals have collectively volunteered more than 6,300 hours — an average of nearly 50 hours each during the past year — in support of grieving children, adolescents and their families at the Caring Place facility in Erie.

"The Highmark Caring Place sessions for grieving children and their parents or guardians are available at no cost to any grieving family in the community and are conducted, to a large extent, by trained volunteers," said Highmark Caring Place Director Terese Vorsheck. "Their support is integral to the program's success as they create a safe place where children and their families can know that they are not alone in their grief and understand that hope and healing are possible."

Caring Place volunteers serve a variety of roles, including group session facilitators, food servers, family greeters, quilters and more. Volunteers who work directly with grieving children and adults in group sessions complete an extensive 26-hour training session.

Volunteers who will receive special acknowledgement at the event for their five years of service to the Highmark Caring Place in Erie include:

  • Sandy Balkovic
  • Paul Bates
  • Pete Frisina
  • Judi Dymski
  • Chris Nichols
  • Vicki Waite
  • Connie Zinger

Since 2006, the amount of volunteer time individuals have contributed to the Highmark Caring Place has increased by more than 2,000 hours.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the Caring Place, contact Tami Petrucelli at (814) 871-6934 or

About the Highmark Caring Place
The Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families, offers services at no charge to any grieving child and their family. The Caring Place operates four facilities in Pittsburgh, Warrendale, Erie and central Pennsylvania. Since the opening of the first Caring Place facility in 1997, the program has served more than 30,000 family members and community partners. The Caring Place is supported by Highmark Healthy High 5, a children's health promotion initiative of the Highmark Foundation. For more information about the Highmark Caring Place, contact 888-734-4073 or visit

Highmark is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:
Kaitlin O'Brien
Highmark Inc.