Not all of us have good supports after a workplace tragedy. And even if you do, there’s always value in growing that network of people you can rely on.

Cropped image of two people holding hands, while seated across from each other. A pair of hands with lighter skin tone are cupped and holding a pair of hands that appear to be more wrinkled, and with darker skin tone.A Volunteer Family Guide (VFG) is a person who has experienced a similar tragedy and is willing to offer a listening ear and a warm connection. They companion others with empathy and can relate to how you’re feeling because they have been where you are. They are someone who can listen and possibly share some valuable skills by drawing upon their own experience, in essence giving back or sharing what they have learned and how that helped them.

Although VFGs do not have an identical experience or share the same story as you, there are similarities. Your experience will be different in many ways, however there are many emotions two people can identify with along with how difficult it is to feel frustrated or alone at times. We have learned that giving advice does not help. Being isolated does not help. Having time to talk things out with someone who can be nonjudgmental can be more helpful.

A one-on-one peer support guide, like a Volunteer Family Guide, is able to listen and share some valuable tools with you while providing:
A safe place to share openly,
Guidance through exploring what path is right for you,
A two-way interaction that promotes a positive relationship and finding ways to cope.

You may be feeling uncertain of what the future looks like. Questions we often receive from families include:
When will we have more information and what does this mean?
How will I get through this?
How do I regain some sense of normal?
What do I need or what happens next?
I don’t know what to do, is there someone who I can talk to who understands?

You are welcome to connect any time to request a volunteer; it doesn’t matter if the tragedy is recent or several years past. We recognize there are many things that change over time with grief and loss.

If you would like to connect with a VFG please reach out to me by phone or email (1-888-567-9490 or [email protected]). And if you think you may be interested in becoming a VFG, please contact me for more information about future training opportunities.

Karen Lapierre Pitts
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