At United Tissues Resources we love to highlight our employees and show how much we appreciate their hard work and commitment to our donor families. This month we would like to shine a light on Jenifer Pirtle.
She grew up in the Dallas area and moved to Austin ten years ago, graduating from UT with a BA in Sociology. She spent eight years in education and youth development and later began doing crisis work as a domestic violence advocate and mental health professional.
Jenifer has been with UTR for two years now as a Donor Family Advocate, which means she coordinates bereavement support for families who have been referred to UTR for potential tissue recovery.
She provides families with grief resources, such as supporting grieving children or grieving a suicide loss. The death of a loved one often creates new or additional responsibilities and needs. These might include becoming a sole caregiver or handling financial strain. Jenifer connects families with resources to manage those issues and is always available by phone or email to fulfill requests for specialized grief resources.
As an advocate, Jenifer strives to meet each family wherever they are, and provide a safe space for them to explore and determine their grief/bereavement-related needs. Jenifer has found that her value is demonstrated simply by listening and providing validation to those dealing with loss.
“One of the most gratifying aspects of my job is informing donor families of the impact that their loved one’s tissue donation has had. I’m humbled by the fact that I get to communicate this knowledge, and learn of the comfort that it brings to families; learning that their loved one lives on through others and the healing made possible by their precious gifts. My hope would be for every donor family to know how deeply appreciative that we and our community are for their generosity. I want them to feel that we honor their loved ones through the work that we do.”
– Jenifer Pirtle
Not only does Jenifer deal with families and people one on one, but her department also coordinates donation-related events, such as seminars on navigating grief during the holidays. It recently hosted a workshop that taught yoga as a possible therapeutic practice to deal with grief.
The Donor Family Advocate department recently created a Donor Family Facebook Group, which is an online space for donor families to connect with and support one another in their grief journeys. It’s a great way to stay connected with upcoming UTR events, such as our annual donor family ceremony on April 23rd. If your loved one was a tissue donor and you’d like to join the Facebook group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-206-1122 for more information.