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Gratitude GenerationNicki Sutherland and Erin Kerpel are two of the five Founders of Gratitude Generation. This nonprofit provides community service opportunities in the Chicago area for children, families, and organizations. Nicki is the Executive Director of the program and a former English teacher. Erin is the Director of Programming and a former school psychologist.

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 Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Erin Kerpel and Nicki Sutherland’s inspiration for founding Gratitude Generation
  • Gratitude Generation’s first volunteer events
  • How volunteering impacts givers and recipients 
  • Erin Kerpel talks about Gratitude Generation’s initiatives during the Highland Park shooting 
  • The power of gratitude and kindness for children and teens

In this episode…

Gratitude is essential for healing, support, and personal growth. How do you begin practicing gratitude? You can start by signing up for volunteer events, whether big or small. Today’s guests share the efforts their nonprofit makes in expressing gratitude.

According to Erin Kerpel and Nicki Sutherland, teaching kids the value of gratitude at an early age is crucial. Gratitude Generation’s volunteer events allow children and families to participate in food pantries and random acts of kindness. Through community support, children learn to influence others by making a positive difference in their lives. 

In this episode of The Coping Podcast, Dr. Leigh Weisz hosts Nicki Sutherland and Erin Kerpel, two of the five Founders of Gratitude Generation, to talk about how they cultivate gratitude through their nonprofit. Nicki and Erin also share the value of allowing kids to appreciate what they have and how they can help those who lack basic needs.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Coping Partners.

Coping Partners is a mental health practice dedicated to helping children, adolescents, and adults manage various challenges including anxiety, divorce, behavioral issues, relationship problems and much more in the Chicago suburbs.

Our practitioners are devoted to building on our clients’ strengths and bolstering weaknesses.

To gain insight and tools for getting unstuck check out our website at CopingPartners.com, email us at support@copingpartners.com.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:01

Welcome to The Coping Podcast where we share strategies for coping with the stressors of life, especially the difficulties of parenting. And here is your host, Dr. Leigh Weisz.

Dr. Leigh Weisz 0:15

This is Dr. Leigh Weisz. I am the host of The Coping Podcast where I feature top experts on topics like raising healthy children, parenting and so much more. Past guests include therapist Ben Kessler, dietician Lara Field, trauma therapist, Dr. Michelle Cutler and neuro psychologist Dr. Lisa Novak. This episode is brought to you by Coping Partners. Coping Partners is a mental health practice in the Chicago suburbs dedicated to helping children, adolescents and adults. We help manage various challenges including anxiety, divorce, behavioral issues, relationship problems, and much more. Check out more episodes of our podcast and our website at copingpartners.com And you can contact us with any questions you have. Just a quick disclaimer, the information provided is for educational and informational purposes only. This is not intended to provide mental health treatment and does not constitute a client therapist relationship. The information provided is not a replacement for being assessed and evaluated by a licensed professional and is not intended to replace mental health or medical advice. So before introducing today’s guest, I just wanted to give a big thank you to David Kerpel, a wonderful family law attorney who I have collaborated with on cases because he introduced me to his wife Erin, who’s one of the founders of Gratitude Generation. Nicki Sutherland and Erin Kerpel are two of the five founders of Gratitude Generation, a group that provides community service opportunities to the Chicagoland area and helps the recipients as well as the volunteers. Nicki is a former English teacher and the Executive Director. And Erin is a former school psychologist, and currently the Director of Programming. So thank you both so much for being here. Thank you for having us. I know whenever I tune into the news, whether it’s local news, or the national news, I find it fairly depressing. And I know that despite that feeling, we each have to do something in our own small way to to do good into this world. And I just want to say I’m so happy you’re here today, because I think you’re not only doing good, but you’re also teaching kids how to make positive impacts themselves. So I’m so grateful for the work that you’re doing and that you’re here today to be with us.

Nicki Sutherland 2:48

Thank you.

Dr. Leigh Weisz 2:49

So tell us a little bit about how this all began. Where did this idea come from?

Nicki Sutherland 2:55

Yeah, the idea stemmed from a single Facebook post by one of our co founders, Lisa Sanders, a she posted on this big moms group here in the Chicagoland area. And you know, pretty much said, you know, my daughter, she’s acting spoiled, I want to teach her how to give back. Anybody else want to get together do an event. And you know, we can teach our kids how to give back. There were hundreds of moms that responded to this Facebook post. And all, you know, had the same feeling we we tend to think I think as parents that we’re all just dealing with this, you know, one thing with our child when we all are going through the exact same thing. And so that really resonated from the Help on Facebook post is she put together a meeting, and at the first meeting, there were about 22 of us around a big table. Nobody knew each other. And there were all these ideas going around the table. I met Lisa for the first time that night, and was sitting across from her and just looking around. And after all of that I like looked at her and I was like, we need to start a nonprofit. We could do some really cool stuff here. And so it just it went from there. And you know, this one little idea. And we did a first event where we got kids involved in giving their toys back to others. And it has spiraled. And it has spiraled with really cool events, mostly because of Erin here. And she has just this creativity and brilliant knack for finding really unique ways to partner with other organizations.

Dr. Leigh Weisz 4:36

Wow. That’s amazing to see. Like you said one idea in one Facebook post, right? And how, you know, when you get enough like minded people with that passion, you’re able to really make a difference. And I’m sure that thought resonated because, right in most in most areas where people have a lot, you know, it’s hard, it’s hard to not raise spoiled kids and you You know, I say that lovingly, you know, like, oil doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It could be that they’re what’s the word that they’re, that they’re, they have gratitude for all the blessings they have. But it’s very hard to not also lose sight of the big picture and how much we all do have. So what a wonderful idea.

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