Volunteer Family Guides

Find a shoulder to lean on. Volunteer Family Guides can help.

Helping Families of Workplace Tragedy

Each worker and family member who has been affected by a workplace tragedy is a thread in the quilt of life. Each thread, by itself, cannot stand alone, but when woven together provides strength. Although we are individuals, we are also connected in the fabric of life.

Volunteer Family Guides are family members who have been affected by a workplace tragedy and have volunteered their time to help others families suffering from a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease. Volunteer Family Guides go through on-site training to become peer support providers. They learn how to draw on their own “life story” to help another through their journey of healing.

Volunteer Family Guides meet together on a regular basis throughout the year to share and network by teleconference and at Family Forums. Volunteer Family Guides provide support to families by  listening on the phone, meeting in person for a walk (if geographically feasible), or chat via email. Along with peer support Volunteer Family Guides also link family members to other community organizations.

To connect with one of our trained Volunteer Family Guides, please email Kate Kennington, Program Manager – Family Support, at kkennington@threadsoflife.ca or phone 1-888-567-9490.


Become a Volunteer Family Guide

Volunteer Family Guide trainees, January 2014To become a Volunteer Family Guide you need to be far enough along on your journey that you are able to offer your support to others who may be just starting.

The next Volunteer Family Guide training session will be held in Barrie, January 26-31, 2017. If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer Family Guide, please complete a  Volunteer Application Form (PDF), and send to Kate Kennington, Program Manager – Family Support, at kkennington@threadsoflife.caPlease note that the form is a fillable PDF. Please save the file to your computer before completing using Adobe Reader. It may not work or save properly with other PDF viewers.


Volunteer Family Guide Training

In February of 2005, Threads of Life trained the first Ontario family members who experienced a workplace tragedy as volunteers – seven family members had a loved one killed as a result of a workplace tragedy and one family member has a loved one living with the outcome of a serious life-altering injury. The training program empowered these volunteers to become one-on-one peer support providers.

Using a 10-module Resource Guide that was developed in partnership with the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), the participants were taken through an in-depth training program that included:

  • principles of grief
  • active listening
  • story listening
  • communication skills
  • healthy coping skills
  • self-care
  • a snapshot of the legal and inquest process, and
  • an overview of how to work with existing community resources

As of 2016, Threads of Life has trained 59 Volunteer Family Guides
for one-on-one family peer support.

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