by Gwen Schuit, CEO
I will turn their mourning into joy, give them consolation, and bring happiness out of grief. ~Jeremiah 31:13
At some point in life, death will touch each of our hearts and wrestle with our deepest emotions…that happened to all of us who knew Olivia Cunningham, who confidently led Home Based Services with kindness, patience, compassion and gentleness. Those she worked beside and those supported by the Team Members all said Olivia was so kind and giving of herself. Nothing was ever too much for Olivia and she supported others in every way with a joyful spirit. She was a vibrant woman and her beautiful smile was contagious.
When she began her career at Friendship Community, she supported Individuals as a Direct Support Professional. She was then promoted to a Program Manager and she managed one of our homes and the Team supporting the Individuals living within the home. She further extended herself by offering to take other responsibilities to support other Program Managers. They said she was always training or teaching others in such a kind way. No question was silly and if you weren’t sure of how to do something, you could feel comfortable to approach Olivia for assistance. She mentored youth in her church and young women who simply needed a trusted friend. She thought so much of Friendship Community, she encouraged her brother, Fox, to work with us as a Direct Support Professional while attending College and now her husband, Caleb, is a wonderful addition to our Leadership Team as the Associate Director of Facility Services. Her spirit continues on in our organization. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5. We experience deep sadness over this senseless loss of our cherished friend, Olivia Katelyn Miller Cunningham, but the God of all comfort who walks with us on our journey through life also helps us to celebrate those who we have been so privileged to know. We have been blessed to start an Educational Fund in Olivia’s memory so that our Team Members will be able to continue to learn, grow and develop and then just as Olivia did, train others to foster competence and confidence.
The Olivia Cunningham Education Fund Olivia Katelyn (Miller) Cunningham had the breath of life taken from her on April 16, 2019 in a Tennessee shooting. She was loved, respected and appreciated by her co-workers, Team Members and Individuals served. She was known for her dedication and always exceeding expectations. Her deep faith guided her life and the light of God radiated through her infectious smile. The Olivia Cunningham Education Fund will offer a way to honor Olivia’s memory and provide support for Friendship Community employees to pursue educational opportunities. Requests will be considered for educational expenses related to coursework such as academic degree programs, certificate programs and training courses and seminars. Contributions are appreciated to help fulfill employee educational goals.