March 19, 2024

The Onsite Foundation: Bringing People Together to Heal from Trauma

Author Aly Semigran, Content Specialist

One of the key principles of coping after experiencing trauma, according to the National Center for PTSD, is having strong social support. They explain that a positive support system “plays a crucial role in helping people recover from threat, trauma and adversity,” and individuals can often find value in reaching out to “others who have had similar experiences.”

In response to the need for communal healing amongst those who have experienced mass trauma, The Onsite Foundation created Triumph Over Tragedy, a program aiming to support survivors through services led by mental health professionals and deep connections with other survivors.

“[It] isn’t something that ever goes away,” explains Deanna Wantz, the Executive Director of The Onsite Foundation, adding, “You grow your life around trauma and build community.”

Based out of Cumberland Furnace, Tenn., the mental health services workshop programs typically run four to six days. Programs include focus areas from healing for bereaved parents to healthy love and relationships for individuals and couples, making Onsite, as Wantz describes it, “a really unique type of treatment center.”

Wantz says she has seen that happen firsthand at Onsite. “You see people come to campus, and their eyes are tired and sad, and then when they find their healing community, they see what’s possible again.”

“We know that when people are working together in a group therapy setting, it can make the healing process go even deeper,” she says, adding, “Someone can look at another human being and go, ‘Oh, you get me, and you understand exactly what I’m going through.’”

That promise of a better tomorrow has struck a chord with those who recommend grants to The Onsite Foundation. Wantz argues that the therapeutic process doesn’t just impact one person. Its profound ripple effect moves through families and communities alike. “[Donors want to] help someone move towards that.”

Wantz shares that unrestricted and long-term gifts from donor-advised funds (DAFs) are especially important when it comes to their work. (Wantz estimates the organization receives roughly 30 grants from DAFs per year.)

She points out that while tragedies and traumas are unpredictable, donors who provide unrestricted funds allow the organization to “respond quickly and generously” to people that need their help so that they can focus on their healing.

Photo courtesy of Theron Humphrey