OUR VOLUNTEERS MATTER
As a peer-to-peer based organization, our volunteers are critical to our organizational success. We rely heavily on their lived experience and their unique loss-specific perspectives to help facilitate our groups and services. Read how some of our volunteers feel about their journey from participant to program support.
"I have been volunteering for BFO/HP since 2007. I have many reasons why I choose to become a volunteer for BFO and continue to serve this organization. First, I believe in the good work this organization does in educating the public on the different effects bereavement has on a person's life. Second, the most important motivation is to give back the kindness and understanding that my family and I received. My daughter, husband and mother died within a five year time period. I attribute my ability to cope with their deaths and obtain the help my children needed to find their own unique ways of expressing their grief to the supportive staff and other groups members who shared how they handled similar situations to mine.
My favourite part about volunteering with BFO is watching people change in positive ways as a result of attending groups. I have witnessed individuals first attend a group unable to share their feelings and or share their personal stories of loss. Over time they begin to verbalize their pain and seek support from others. It is an honour to be a part of their transformation.
I would like participants to remember that a person gets over a cold. Cold symptoms fade overtime and you return to your old self. However, bereavement is a lifelong adjustment and is unique to each individual. No matter how long ago the death occurred it is normal to miss the physical relationship you had with your loved one. It's important to remember on holidays, birthdays and anniversaries to be gentle with yourself and to accept that feelings of sadness are both normal and natural.
As soon as you say the words "I am a volunteer for Bereaved Families" you are a role model for how a person continues to live despite losing a loved one. A suggestion I would make to new volunteers is to accept that during the first few groups you will be nervous. Do not be afraid to admit that as others are probably feeling the same way. It is by being genuine with your feelings that new members learn by example. Most importantly do not be afraid to ask your co-facilitator for support and guidance."
— Kathleen Baranik, Volunteer