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Stories from Volunteers

What Volunteers Say

How do the volunteers know what to say?

Many people who think they might want to be a Caring Place volunteer ask this question. People want to say the right thing, give the correct answer and help the children and families feel better.

There are two answers to this question. For one thing, volunteers complete an intensive 26-hour training program, which provides them with an understanding of how children grieve and how the Caring Place program works. New volunteers work with experienced volunteers and learn by watching and doing. All volunteers are supported by Caring Place staff, before, during and after each meeting.

But on the other hand, it's important to understand that what helps those who are grieving is not what we say but what we do. Simply being there makes a real difference. Our words are less important than our presence.

The Caring Place does not provide therapy, so no one expects volunteers to counsel the families. The Caring Place provides peer support to the children and adults. The volunteers' role is to create an atmosphere where the children and adults can support each other.

Volunteer and boy sitting outside

Simply asking — and really caring about the answer — "How did your day go?" can be the most important thing a volunteer says all evening. For the children and families grieving the death of a loved one, listening goes a lot further than all the words we might think to say.

Being there — our presence — is the biggest gift we can give.

What others have to say

At the Caring Place, our volunteers are the heart of our program. They come from a wide range of backgrounds and have chosen to give their time to the children and families for a variety of reasons. Take some time, meet some of our volunteers, discover why they chose to volunteer and learn what they love about the Caring Place.

Here are two featured stories from Caring Place volunteers talking about what it's like to work with the children and families in their grief.

Read additional stories from our volunteers:

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If you are also interested in stories from children and teens, visit In Their Words.