MEDIA RELEASE: BFO needs volunteer facilitators to meet demand and increase capacity

Kitchener, ON: Bereaved Families of Ontario – Midwestern Region (BFO-MR) is currently recruiting volunteer facilitators for its peer grief support programs in an effort to meet demand for service and increase the organization’s capacity to reach more individuals.

“As a peer support organization, the work we do would not be possible without the support of our volunteers,” says Jaime Bickerton, BFO-MR Executive Director. “We are at a critical point where we need to build our roster of group facilitators to ensure uninterrupted access to grief support.”

With the exception of its programming for children and teens, all BFO-MR groups are led by individuals who have also experienced the death of someone in their life. Being able to talk about the person/people who died and discuss coping strategies among a group with shared experiences is at the foundation of peer support.

“We have been very fortunate to have a core group of volunteers who have provided support for many years, but it’s not sustainable to continue relying on the same people year after year,” says Bickerton. “Given the heavy emotional aspect of this particular role, it has been challenging to recruit enough volunteers to maintain the status quo let alone foster the growth needed to enable greater access to grief support. Our ultimate goal is to offer in-person and virtual options for all programs.”

BFO-MR is currently recruiting peer support volunteers for:

  • Program for parents grieving the death of an infant
  • Program for parents grieving the death of a child
  • Living with Loss (mixed-loss group for adults)
  • Living with Loss by Substance Use (group for adults grieving a death by drugs or alcohol)
  • Good Grief (program for teens)

A virtual information session is being held on January 31 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. for anyone interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer facilitator. Registration is required (https://bfomidwest.org/donate/volunteer/information-session-registration/)

Facilitator training is a requirement for volunteers who apply to lead BFO-MR’s peer support grief groups. Training is provided over 2-3 days and combines both in-person and virtual aspects. Day 1 and 2 are required for all facilitators, with day 3 being a requirement for any volunteer who wishes to facilitate a closed program (i.e. program for parents grieving the death of an infant or child). Day 3 covers the closed format and story sharing aspects of the group. Spring training dates are:

  • March 20 (virtual) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • March 23 (in-person) from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

March 24 (in-person) from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.