Welcome to Caregiver Collaborative!

We’re Erin and Laura, the co-founders of Caregiver Collaborative.

We met during orientation at grad school where we both studied to become social workers. We became fast friends, who bonded quickly when we realized we worked in the same school district and a shared love for sarcasm and coffee. Like most grad programs, the schedule was intense and the more time we spent together, the closer we got.

Throughout grad school, Erin and Laura worked together on several projects. In one project, Erin had to pretend to be Laura’s therapist and ended up convincing her to move in with her boyfriend (who is now her husband!) In another assignment, Erin had to write a pretend grant for a new program. In this fictional program,  Erin wrote about creating an organization aimed at supporting caregivers, based on an idea she had in high school and a vision she has had since college. In the proposal, she named Laura as one of her business partners.

Since that assignment, Erin and Laura have talked many times about actually building something together. We had a desire to fulfill a need, to build something from the ground up, and do something meaningful.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, we saw caregivers struggle in new ways. It became clear that now is the time.

Caregiver Collaborative was born out of a desire to connect with other caregivers who don’t feel like they fit into the “mold” of what a caregiver is.

We designed Caregiver Collaborative to support non-traditional caregivers – children, young adults, siblings, friends, and neighbors – who provide some level of care for someone struggling with their mental or physical health.

Non-traditional caregivers are especially susceptible to feeling lost, isolated, and burnt-out. Rarely provided the opportunity or resources needed to be fully prepared for their role, many caregivers find themselves feeling overwhelmed by the many tasks that now rest on their shoulders. In addition to potentially providing tasks like medication administration and tasks for daily living, many caregivers also find themselves navigating complex medical and insurance systems, making financial decisions for the person they care for, keeping other family members and friends up-to-date, and so much more.

Finding information and support directed at non-traditional caregivers is hard to come by, and finding the information you need can quickly become overwhelming and like just one more thing on your already very full plate.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Caregiver Collaborative exists to make sure that you get the information, tools, and resources you need to find hope and strength in your abilities, broken down in a way that is simple to understand, and directed at those that don’t feel like they fit into the typical mold of what it means to be a caregiver.

We’re looking forward to sharing more about why we feel so passionately about serving this population and helping provide them the resources they need to thrive inside their caregiving role, and out. 

Our goal is to help caregivers feel supported, understood, and inspired to take time for themselves.
We want caregivers to find hope and strength in their abilities.

Meet the team behind Caregiver Collaborative

Laura Zook, Co-Founder

Laura is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked in mental health for over a decade. During this time Laura has provided direct care to adults with mental illness, implemented health and wellness programs, and managed care coordination and integrated wellness programs. Through her work she has seen the ups and downs of caregiving and learned how to support people as they support others. Laura has witnessed the power of caregivers. It didn’t take long to see that many caregivers were putting their own needs at the bottom of the to-do list, and that’s if they made the list at all. When this happens the caregivers burnout and the quality of the care they provide is impacted. Laura is passionate about helping caregivers understand the importance of caring for themselves and helping them feel less alone on their caregiving journey.

Erin Martin, Co-Founder

Erin is a licensed social worker who has more than a 30 years of experience as a caregiver and more than a decade of experience in helping mission-driven organizations develop programs that support people in accessing the resources and support they need to thrive. Erin is a caregiver for her father, who lives with Multiple Sclerosis, and cared for her mother, who lived with another autoimmune disorder for several years. As a child of parents with chronic illnesses, she knows firsthand how challenging it can be to find communities that make you feel seen, heard, and connected. Erin is passionate about creating space for those who don't fit the mold of what typically caregivers look like, and being sure they find time to pursue their own dreams while caring for their loved ones.