You may have heard us say before that our volunteers are the heart of our program, and it would not be possible without them. We have over 200 volunteers who make our peer support groups happen, and twice a year we welcome a new group of volunteer facilitators into that fold. Volunteer facilitators dedicate two nights a month to lead our groups and make our program possible. New volunteer facilitators make a one-year commitment to serve our groups. This consistency is vital to the children in our program, and we recognize that’s quite a commitment! Their commitment begins with training- twenty hours spread over two evenings and three Saturdays- all in one month’s time. These amazing members of our community are just THAT devoted to helping the bereaved children who come to groups at The WARM Place. On February 24, we “wrapped” our spring training and welcomed nearly 30 new volunteers into our WARM Place family!
Now that we are halfway through March (can you believe it?!) our new facilitators are working with their veteran volunteers to learn the ropes, to bond with our families and to begin their journey as companions to children who are navigating their grief. To these new volunteers, we say “WELCOME!” Your presence, time and heart are truly invaluable gifts to The WARM Place and to our clients.
Many people assume that our volunteer facilitators are required to have a background in counseling or social work- and that isn’t true. While some of our volunteers do have backgrounds in related fields (or are attending school for related fields), many are “alumni” who used to bring their children to The WARM Place or attended our groups as children themselves! In our latest training, we had four alumni in our training group of 27. Many others are school teachers or administrators (active or retired) who have seen the impact grief has on children in their day to day lives. Others still are people who have experienced firsthand the challenges that come with grief and wish to help others know that they are not alone. Some of our volunteers have not experienced a significant death loss in their life, but have a compassionate heart for children and desire to help them in any way they can.
If you’re reading this and thinking “Wow! Maybe I could do that…” I would say to you- Yes! You CAN do that! We will host our next round of facilitator training in September of this year and are accepting applications now.