Peer support facilitator

The peer-support model is what differentiates Bereaved Families of Ontario – Midwestern Region from other forms of grief support. All of our groups are facilitated by volunteers who are themselves bereaved. 

Along with lived bereavement experience, completion of our facilitator training is required in order to volunteer as a peer facilitator.

Our facilitators provide support for our Parents Grieving the Death of an Infant, Parents Grieving the Death of a ChildLiving with Loss and Living with Loss by Substance Use support groups.  

PLEASE NOTE: Our infant loss and child loss groups are facilitated by those who have also experienced the death of an infant or child.  Our Living with Loss by Substance Use group is facilitated by those who have also experienced the death of someone close from drugs or alcohol. 

Facilitator training content includes: 

  • Group structure, content and process 
  • Facilitation skills and exercises for both in-person and virtual settings
  • Scenarios
  • Boundaries and self-care 

Individuals will complete this training with a strong understanding of peer support, and gain the skills and confidence required to facilitate in a group setting. 

A few things to keep in mind before applying:

  • Be aware of your limitations and ensure you are in a place in your life where you are able to make a commitment to volunteering with BFO-MR. We require at least a one-year commitment.
  • Our facilitator training takes place over multiple days and you are required to attend each session.
  • All applicants are required to complete an interview prior to the training.

2022 Facilitator Training Dates

Our 20-hour in-person facilitator training will take place at The Family Centre in Kitchener (65 Hanson Ave.) on:

  • Friday October 14, 5:30pm-8:30pm
  • Saturday October 15, 9am-4pm
  • Sunday October 16, 9am-4pm
  • Wednesday October 19, 5:30pm-8:30pm

PLEASE NOTE: Attendance at all four sessions is required.

We have an urgent need for folks who have experienced a drug or alcohol related death in order to facilitate our Living with Loss by Substance Use group.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday September 30, 2022

This volunteer facilitator training program is made possible with support from:


Your grief experience can bring hope and healing to someone else. 

Hearing experiences, stories and coping strategies from a peer has a profound effect on people who are grieving and helps normalize the grief experience. You get it. You’ve been there. Please read stories about Crystal, Cecily and Cindy some of our amazing facilitators who turned their loss into a passion for helping others.  

We will guide you every step of the way. 

Just as you are not alone on your grief journey, you are not alone as a facilitator for our peer support groups. Providing grief support is a team effort. From training and mentorship to regular check-ins and opportunities to gather and share experiences among fellow facilitators, we are committed to supporting you. You will always work with an experienced co-facilitator and have the ongoing support of BFO-MR and mentors in your role. 

Our exceptional training program helps you gain skills, knowledge and confidence. 

Participants learn about BFO-MR philosophies, programs and structure, and complete the program with a strong understanding of peer support. Plenty of opportunities for discussion, questions and clarification are built into the curriculum to encourage comfort and confidence in your new role. 

You don’t need to be a grief expert. Peer support means bringing empathy and understanding. Trust your gut, your heart and your personal experience and you can help the healing begin. 

Personal, lived experience is what makes you a peer volunteer. You aren’t expected to have all the answers. You aren’t expected to “fix” anyone. You aren’t expected to know all there is to know about grief. As a facilitator you bring your experience into group. You encourage conversation, dialogue and an exploration of thoughts, feelings and emotions. You help others share their story. You help them understand they are not alone. 

Supporting others through their grief contributes to your own journey. 

There is no timeline for grief – it’s a path with twists and turns and while we get better at navigating it, there isn’t a final destination. For many of our facilitators, others’ experiences have provided an opportunity to consider their own journey with a new perspective. 

We could not do the work we do without our volunteers. 

We are a peer support organization. Without our volunteers, we would not be able to offer our programming in the community for parents, individuals and families who are grieving. Our volunteers are on the frontline, providing care, compassion and understanding.