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Helping Children & Families

How do volunteers help the children and families?

Grieving children often feel alone and afraid, heart-broken and overwhelmed. They need support, both from other children who have also experienced the death of a loved one, and also from caring adult volunteers who provide a safe space for the members of the peer group to share and express themselves.

The volunteers create a community of safety and trust, within which the children and adults find hope and healing in the midst of their grief.

Paper sign that says, This is my dad and I miss him and he is my hero.

The children and adults help each other through their sharing and listening and accepting. But that sharing would never occur except within an atmosphere of safety and care. The volunteers in each group provide that safety for the children and families; they are the ones who make it comfortable for the families to share so freely.

The volunteers provide a place where children and adults can talk about the tough stuff, where they can talk about the things they can't talk about at school, or with friends, or even within the family. They provide a place where kids can cry if they want to, or to be angry, or sad, or happy.

The volunteers' simple presence — the families seeing the same faces from week to week — goes a long way in providing an anchor in a chaotic period in their lives. As the children's grief is shared and expressed, the volunteers support them by being companions in their grief. Mostly this means simply walking beside them, allowing them to do their necessary grief work, without having to do it alone.

The Caring Place offers peer support groups, not therapy or counseling. The volunteer's role is not to try to "fix" anyone. In walking the path of grief with the families, the volunteers are with them, allowing them to talk, to feel, to interact, not interact. The volunteers allow them to be who they are, without having to try to be anything specific at all.