Like the statue of Atlas that stands in her office, Leslie DelGigante says too many people carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.

Like the statue of Atlas that stands in her office, Leslie DelGigante says too many people carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.

To help people shrug off stress and find inner tranquility, the Westerville resident and interfaith minister has opened Peace House, a nondenominational nonprofit facility that will offer people services and therapies aimed at helping them find peace.

"Peace radiates from the individual to the family, the community and the world," DelGigante said. "We all have peace inside of us."

At Peace House, which opened in April at 4443 N. High St., DelGigante offers sessions that use music, stretching, breathing or relaxing for peace.

She's also licensed in reiki, a touch-based therapy aimed at healing through energy.

She offers both one-on-one and group discussions for those dealing with grief, loss, anger and depression.

"We hear a lot about stress in our lives," DelGigante said.

But too often, she said, people are too busy to notice or cope with what's bothering them.

For DelGigante, who has lived in Westerville for 30 years, founding Peace House is the culmination of her life experiences.

For 25 years, she worked as a volunteer for La Leche League. After training to use music therapy at people's bedsides in 2003, DelGigante sought to become a minister in order to be able to take her therapy a step further.
For two years, she studied through The New Seminary in New York City and was ordained in June 2008.

Her training as a minister helps to shape what she does at Peace House, DelGigante said, though the organization is not religion-based.

Through Peace House, DelGigante also plans to offer workshops for specific groups of people, such as those who want to lose weight and veterans returning from service in Iraq or Afghanistan.

For veterans, DelGigante already has created a program titled "Warriors Reclaiming their Inner Peace" (WRIP). DelGigante said she was driven to create the program after she heard someone else talk about starting a similar program.

That person never moved on the plan, DelGigante said, but she knows of the needs of those returning from war through news reports and through personal accounts of a friend whose son has served.

"The idea was sort of planted in my mind," she said. "I felt a personal tie."

DelGigante has two information sessions planned for those interested in the WRIP program, one at 4 p.m. Saturday and one at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Peace House also will be open at 7:30 p.m. each Tuesday for those interested in learning about its programs.

Moving forward, DelGigante said she would like to extend Peace House's services to include ceremonies to commemorate different occasions in life, both joyful and painful, such as coming of age, divorce and empty-nest ceremonies.

"We are so busy today that we don't often recognize that we are in a community and mark the things that happen to us," DelGigante said. "We already do it with birthdays, weddings, funerals. We don't do it with much else."

More information about Peace House can be found online at www.peacehousecolumbus.org.