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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Starfish Foundation Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts, Culture & Humanities, Counseling, Mental Health, Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: To raise funds for scholarships to assist individuals to attend programs for emotional healing, including providing programs for military veterans to heal the emotional wounds of war.

Target demographics: trauma survivors and military veterans

Geographic areas served: USA

Programs: Healing Warrior Hearts and scholarships to programs that aid emotional healing.

Community Stories

102 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A friend introduced me to this incredible organization nearly a year ago and I am forever indebted to her and the organization! Patricia and other staff members helped me understand the depression and PTSD of the military sexual trauma I'd experienced and started the healing process I desperately needed.To continue my healing and help others do the same, I have volunteered for many of the program's supported by Patricia and the Starfish Foundation and find them to have impeccable integrity, compassion and a true gift for helping people deal with the toughest of situations with excellence and elegance!Because of my involvement with this organization, I am finding new joy every day and the courage to live life fully!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It has been an honor to volunteer for the Healing Warrior Hearts program. The program, developed and run by Patricia Clason, is so well organized and effective in transforming the wounded spirit. To see the transformation the veterans go through from the start of the retreat to the end is phenomenally rewarding. Walking in, their spirits are low and their hearts are guarded. By the end of the weekend, they have bright eyes and smiles and their joy is palpable. It's been such a rewarding experience for me to give back in this way to those who have sacrificed so much to serve this great country of ours.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My mother and father are both Veterans and I was able to spend time volunteering as Staff to provide healing to people who have had the same experiences as my parents. It has helped me to gain insight into the environment that I was raised in and the similarities between other Veterans with PTSD and my Mom. This has helped me to understand myself and other people. Consider attending a Retreat. I have a very loving second family there

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I met Patricia Clason in October 2015 after being referred by my therapist to Taking It Lightly, with the hope that I would begin my journey of finding peace after being a victim of repeated childhood abuses. I was extremely nervous to attend the retreat; however, it wasn’t long before it became clear how much Patricia and her staff sincerely cared about the participants and the process. They provided a safe, confidential environment for me and the others to share our stories. I quickly felt immersed in a powerful energy of love, understanding, and patience. I left that weekend with courage and hope that the grief and shame that plagued my life could fade, and that healing was possible. Patricia is an amazing person who truly makes a difference in our community every day. The Starfish Foundation has helped hundreds of individuals, including veterans, through the Healing Warrior Hearts program, find hope, joy, and peace. Healing is a process, and now I truly believe I am worthy of the effort. As a result of my experience, I am honored to staff weekend retreats in order that I might help others find healing and hope too! Kudos and love to Patricia and the many volunteers who work tirelessly to make these retreats, and healing, possible!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

After doing my initial Retreat in Sept 2014 I have staffed all Healing Warrior Heart Retreats since then. I am the Vice President of the Starfish Board and I am forever grateful to the people who were there for me when I needed to find my joy! I will do whatever I can to help others. please consider this Community if and when you are ready to do the work that is necessary to find your joy.

Previous Stories
3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience at Healing Warrior Hearts , (MST) was the most effective therapy I have done in 23 years. The Instructors and staff made me feel like I mattered, which is sometimes a struggle when in the throes of Depression. A Heartfelt Thank you to all for the hugs, love, support and for being so instrumental in my healing. Strongly recommended for anyone who needs to empty the " crap" collected over time and in all the years struggling with PTSD.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am forever grateful for the Starfish Foundation Inc. and the work it allows clients to do. For myself it allowed the healing process to begin and continue. I grew up in a highly abusive and violent environment having experienced real trauma. I have been part of the Center For Creative Learning family since my Renewal weekend in 2005. Sometimes I am the student and sometimes I am a volunteer each time pealing back a layer of the trauma. I found a safe place to process, a safe place to discover innocence and a safe place to be me. At the Center I learned a deeper personal value and worth. I am worthy of connection and have a sense of love and belonging. Because of the Starfish Foundation Inc. each time I drive the 300 miles one way, I am able to navigate my life with more love and less shame than the time before.

They say a picture is wroth a thousand words, the first one represents how I felt showing up at the Center in 2005. The second represents the freedom I now feel having done and continue to do the work that the Starfish Foundation Inc. allows it's clients to do.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of being a volunteer for Healing Warrior Hearts and a witness to the program, designed specifically for veterans and the issues that they face. I have seen many veterans wholeheartedly speak of the quality of this program & I have seen it for myself. I am touched beyond words to have played my small part in what takes place to serve those who have Served.

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Had it not been for the Starfish Foundation, I would not been able to experience the Taking It Lightly weekend. This resource was vital for me to experience personal and professional growth in my life. It provided me with essential maintenance for my life & I am so eternally grateful.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Starfish Foundation, and the programs it sponsors, are Lifesavers. I was suffering from trauma that I didn't realize I had, but that was impacting my life very negatively. The taking it lightly weekend opened my eyes and heart to what life could be like. That was 15 years ago. I have since been happily married for 14 years, finished graduate school and have a professional job, and I couldn't of done it without the work and the volunteers in this program. I highly recommend it.

3 Ellen's P.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As founder and Chairman of the Board of Veterans for Diversity, Inc. I was involved with developing a retreat for veterans. After participating as a staff member and observer in a Healing Warrior Hearts retreat, I decided that rather recreating another retreat to offer financial support to Healing Warrior Hearts. I learned that the retreats were run by volunteers and no one received compensation from participating as staff or instructors. A registered therapist is in attendance to handle any issues that evolve from participants attending and having additional problems beyond the scope of the retreat. Also, I found the retreat very interactive between participants and staff keeping the classroom atmosphere to a minimum and allowing the veteran to open up and work on issues from their military service.
In developing a partnership, I approached the Starfish Foundation to see if this was a feasible solution to both organizations. Because they handle multiple programs they showed me how they separated funds that are designated for each program and how funds were distributed. Knowing funds would go to where they were designated we formed a working partnership to financially support the Healing Warrior Hearts Program.
Since the partnership, I have staffed and been a supervisor within the program. Members of our organization have both been participants and staff members during Healing Warrior Heart retreats. The retreats have been so effective that I have received emails and phone calls from VA staff members to learn more about how the retreats are positively impacting veterans, as veterans have been talking to them about the positive reinforcement the retreats have given them and how they feel better about their transition from military to civilian life.
To a veteran or military person having issues with survivor’s guilt, PTSD, MST or even solving couples issues from military service, I highly recommend Healing Warrior Hearts as a solution. For more information you can go to our retreat site at http://www.noveteranleftbehindusa.org .

3

Former staff

Rating: 1

This charity raises funds primarily touting their work with veterans, yet uses the bulk of their funding for scholarships at for-profit retreats that pay their founder and owner. She then uses the participants as volunteers for future retreats. While I do think both of these retreats have been and are helpful to many, I do find this business practice disturbing. They do not currently have a professional therapist on staff who is guiding these experience. While Patricia has many years doing these seminars, she is not licensed nor has any formal education for this work. Another participant ended up stalking me, and she did not assist me in getting him to stop, and in fact invited him to participate in another retreat where there were at-risk participants who were not warned. NOT okay.

Comments ( 1 )

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patricia 08/31/2016

The information in this review regarding the use of funding is inaccurate. Funds for veterans' programs is kept separate from funding for programs for other trauma survivors. The programs attended by trauma survivors do have a licensed professional on staff. The closing comments in this review are grossly inaccurate and we will gladly clarify if so requested. The only person who might "qualify" to make the closing comments denies having written this review.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Best thing I've done for my marriage and self. The ALL VOLUNTEER Staff is coming to us from a place of Love and acceptance! Long time trauma Survivors who have found a way to get up and thrive! I'm so grateful for each of them. I have seen my Daughter go through Healing Warrior Hearts and succeed. As well as my granddaughter's who did Taking It Lightly~Renewal. I am looking forward to Staffing in the future and watching many more lives be set free! I would encourage anyone who has healing to do, do the work that is necessary to find joy again!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a reluctant participant in a couple's weekend in Katy,Texas. My wife was already a graduate of a Military sexual assault (MST) Weekend and was volunteering as staff for subsequent weekends. We had both been struggling with PTSD as a result of her rape in the Marine Corps. During the course of the weekend I was able to feel and fully process the events that had affecting my life for 20 + years. A GIANT wt. was lifted and I felt closer to the person I used to be. I have since staffed myself to help others as I was so profoundly helped.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a Veteran and a mental health service provider who became acquainted with this organization through professional avenues. I went into it with the intention of staffing a weekend. Within the first few hours with the participants, I realized I was similar to them and had a need for further healing. I decided to participate that weekend instead of staffing. The weekend retreat was an incredible emotional release of pain that has been building up over the decades. I learned more about myself in one weekend then I have in months of counseling. Besides the emotional healing, I was connected to an incredible support system and a fantastic mentor. In fact, it has been two years since my retreat weekend and I continue to stay involved in Healing Warrior Hearts through volunteering at events and staffing other weekend retreats. I am about to complete my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with several years of experience with trauma treatment. This organization's work is comparable to anything I have seen!!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to the Starfish foundation after volunteering for Healing Warrior Hearts in 2015. I was at a turbulent point in my life, and all of the amazing volunteers and programs the foundation offers have been life-changing. There is a sense of not just community, but family. I was able to participate in Renewal- A weekend of healing for sexual trauma victims. The Starfish foundation paid for the course, since I am not in a good financial situation. Thanks to the help of the Starfish foundation and the Center for Creative Learning, I feel more "me" than I even knew was possible. I have been given a new sense of hope and fallen madly in love with life, and learned to love myself. Lives are forever changed thanks to the foundation.

7 Sarah295

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went into this weekend with the mind set of it being a last ditch effort at finding something, anything that would help us. My husband was so far beyond skeptical i'm surprised he went. He was convinced it would be "lovey dovey hippy ish". But because we really want to make our marriage work, we decided to give it a go. I won't lie, i felt awkward & out of place at first, as did my husband. I wouldn't give anyone more than a hand shake. I did go into it with an open mind though, and was willing to go outside of my comfort zone & try things that have seemed to have helped so many people in the past. I did & said things i wouldn't have ever done or said. As did my husband. We left the weekend with a new love for each other. A more open mind, a fuller heart & hugging everyone!! It was truly amazing!

Also, we had to bring out four children to the hotel with us. I had a friend that came down to provide child care, but that didn't end up working out. The staff members saw the stress we had because of how uncomfortable we felt leaving out children with the childcare we had set up. They went out of their way to watch all FOUR of our children for us for the entire weekend. Our children were in great hands. They thoroughly enjoyed their weekend as much as we did. They formed bonds just like we did. We have since received a gift from two of the people who watched them. Which truly meant so much to me. It was a small meaningful thing that reminded them of our children. They also included our children in our graduation ceremony, which was amazing.

The people we met there were some of the sweetest, kindest, most supportive & most loving people i've ever met. To be surrounded by people that truly care about you, for not other reason than because they want to help you; that's a feeling unlike any other feeling in the world

I truly can not wait to attend another weekend. My husband will be attending one in just a few months & i am jealous. I also can't wait until we can staff a weekend & be the love & support for other couples like us.

Please give these weekends a try. Go in with an open mind. You will truly be amazed by how it will effect you, for the better.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I cried for the first time since the war. I learned many new techniques on how to handle my PTSD and TBI. I learned new language to help me understand me and the new world I came back to. I am still involved now as both a participant and now have staffed to help my fellow veterans and it feels great.I view my life differently and desperately need this organization to stick around and help me become a better me as I participate and peel more layers of my onion off.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

We were at the end of our marriage with no hope in sight. The couples weekend changed our lives as well as our marriage. Where there was no hope we now see hope. I could t recommend this event enough. I've told every military couple I know what a wonderful and heart opening experience we had. I am forever grateful for what they did for us.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Healing Warrior Hearts was the best program i have been to since I got back from Iraq I hope the work continues to heal our veterans. Thanks SSG FLOYD PETERS US A Ret

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Skeptical would be an upgrade to how I felt about another resource that was supposed to help me deal with the hurt and anger related to the sexual trauma I experienced in the military but Thank God I trusted my friend Kim's recommendation! Having just a glimpse of how it changed her more than decades of previous resources had, I decided to give it a chance. The Healing Warrior Hearts retreat was expertly organized and staffed by the kindest, most professional people! Patricia and the other instructors along with the volunteer staff were incredibly attentive and insightful into what my issue was and how to help me release it! The intro to neuroscience helped me understand that I've basically been "checked out" for nearly 15 years, that I've been blaming myself and living with shame. Now, I'm learning to recognize the dysfunction and depression that have been holding me back and find new ways of responding to all of that so I can enjoy life and my family while helping others do the same. Forever grateful, Dianne

7 Kimberly116

Client Served

Rating: 5

HOPE~ Life provides many stepping stones for our hearts to heal in creating the path of the journey to recovery we all may take. Every now and then, you have the opportunity to cross a bridge. I attended Healing Warrior Hearts/MST Weekend Sep 11-13, 2015. For the first time I was able to learn how to not simply cross a bridge, but to build it, strengthen it, and trust in the positive energy and support of the participants and staff who built it with me -- knowing I will never again need to feel alone on my journey. Thank you for welcoming me home, allowing my warrior heart to know healing, leaving me with more than possibilities, yet with an everlasting HOPE~