Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Listed below are some answers to frequently asked questions. Kara is a self-referral organization. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to connect you to the services that meet your unique needs.

Request Services: Call Us 650-321-5272 | Submit Online Form

Click to View Answers

1What services do you provide and in what languages?

Kara services offer emotional support and information to those grieving a death or coping with a terminal illness. Kara provides grief support services in the areas of:

  • 1:1 Peer Support – Individual support for adults provided by trained volunteers
  • Peer Support Groups – Support for adults, children, and teens
  • Community Outreach & Education –On-site crisis response services after a death and grief education training and workshops for schools and organizations.
  • Grief-Related Therapy – Fee based therapy for those whose loss is complicated by additional circumstances
  • Camp Erin – Overnight grief camp for youth ages 6 – 17, typically held in July

Services are provided in English and our newest service provision includes individual and limited group support for Spanish speakers.

Clients are typically seen by appointment. We do not offer individual drop-in appointments at this time. Drop- In Groups are always available and do not require an initial interview.

Request Services: Call Us 650-321-5272 | Submit Online Form

2Are there fees associated with your services?
Since 1976, Kara’s unique mission and valuable services have been empowered by the heartfelt generosity of the community we serve - donations from clients, volunteers, friends, staff, corporations and foundations. While we do not charge a fee for our peer based services, we suggest and encourage giving regular donations to support our continued work in the community (the availability of services, however, is never affected by one's ability to donate). Kara's therapy services are provided for a reasonable fee and our program staff will be able to discuss the fee schedule with you in person.

Request Services: Call Us 650-321-5272 | Submit Online Form

3Who Provides Kara Services and What Qualifications Do They Have?

Kara peer support services are provided by volunteers and staff with experience in healing from their own personal loss. Volunteers are carefully screened, trained and supervised by our professional staff.

Grief therapy services are provided by interns who have completed their course requirements and are working on their client hours for professional therapist licensing.

Request Services: Call Us 650-321-5272 | Submit Online Form

4What is Kara's Grief Related Therapy Program?

Our psychotherapy program is offered to bereaved adults, teens, children, couples and families whose loss is complicated by higher degrees of trauma, and/or additional relational or emotional circumstances. Our Director of Clinical Services and Clinical Supervisor of the Interns and Trainees in the Kara Therapy Program received her Marriage and Family Therapy License and her Doctorate of Counseling in 1989.Our program staff will be able to discuss this option with you. These services are fee based.

Request Services: Call Us 650-321-5272 | Submit Online Form

5How, when, and where can I go about obtaining services?

You can request services one of two ways:

  1. By visiting our website anytime of the day, you can click on Contact Us, located on each webpage. Simply fill out the form and hit the submit button. One of our program staff will get back to you typically within two business days.
  2. If you prefer to speak to someone, you can contact our office during business hours. Call Us 650-321-5272. Our office hours are: Monday - Thursday 9am to 4pm & Friday 9am to 1pm (Pacific Time)

During your initial phone call, you will be asked for some basic information about you and your situation. That information will then be passed on to one of Kara's program staff who will call you back. One of our program staff will get back to you typically within two business days.

Once a program staff member gets back to you, they will be able to talk with you in more detail to assess your individual needs and preferences. Sometimes a phone consultation is all that a client needs. If a client would like additional support from Kara, we schedule an in-person initial interview to determine appropriate services.

The initial interview generally takes about one hour. The purpose is to determine what specific service will best serve your needs, whether that is one-to-one peer counseling, a specialized grief group, a drop-in group, grief-related psychotherapy, referral to an outside agency or therapist, or some combination of these options. Drop- In Groups are always available and do not require an initial interview.

Services are provided at Kara which is located at 457 Kingsley Avenue in Palo Alto, as well as limited services in our meeting location on 3rd Avenue in San Mateo.

Services for children and families may be provided at our Kingsley location and/or our offsite location located in Palo Alto. On occasion, arrangements can be made to meet off-site for counseling services.

For those requesting services outside of the San Mateo/Santa Clara County area, we recommend you contact our office during business hours for additional referrals.

Request Services: Call Us 650-321-5272 | Submit Online Form

6What is Camp Erin and how can I send a child to camp and/or volunteer?

Camp Erin is a free, weekend grief camp designed for children ages 6-17 who have experienced the death of a family member or friend. Our 3 days and 2 nights at camp are filled with traditional fun camp activities combined with grief education and emotional support—facilitated by grief professionals and trained volunteers.

Parents of potential campers interested in sending a child to camp will be required to fill out an application form containing personal, bereavement and medical information. Because we want to ensure the best possible experience for every Camp Erin participant, each application will be reviewed in detail, and families must attend one of the scheduled group interview times. This will help us understand your child's particular situation, and understand what his/her needs at camp might be. Space is limited and camp availability is determined by the ages of campers.

Volunteers interested in serving as a camp counselor (or any special job working with the kids) must go through the required volunteer grief support training at Kara. They would need to submit a training application in the late winter/early spring and, if selected, attend all the spring training dates. The training dates and application are usually posted by late January.

View our Camp Erin page on this site.

7I have a loved one who needs help. Can you call them for me?
Kara is a self-referral organization. That means that when that person is ready to make the call, we ask that they contact us directly. We invite loved ones to be present when the person seeking assistance is ready to contact us for services.

Request Services: Call Us 650-321-5272 | Submit Online Form

8Can you help me talk to my child about the loss of their loved one?
Yes, we have trained youth and family program staff who can help support you in talking with your child or teen about a death. You can ask to speak to one of our staff members.

Request Services: Call Us 650-321-5272 | Submit Online Form

9How can I become a volunteer at Kara?

Kara is always looking for volunteers who would like to learn how to support others through the grief process. Our program volunteer training is typically held each spring (early March). Dates and the application process is posted on our website in January.

Office and event volunteers are also always needed. You can call us at 650-321-5272 to find out how you can be of support. These volunteer positions do not require the training sessions that our grief support volunteers go through.

If you are interested in an unpaid internship with Kara, you can contact us by phone or internet and provide us with your contact information. We will forward your contact information to our Director of Clinical Services and Clinical Supervisor.

Go to Our Volunteer Page

10How can I support Kara and/or make a donation in memory of someone special?

Kara accepts cash, check, credit card, bequests, vehicles, and transfer of securities donations. Our Federal Tax ID #: 942431483

You can make a financial donation to Kara by:

  • Mail....send your check to Kara, 457 Kingsley Avenue, Palo Alto CA 94301
  • Internet.... by giving through our secure online site by clicking on the DONATE NOW button.

  • Phone....contact our office to charge a donation to your credit card or inquire about a bequest, vehicle, or transfer of securities donation. We can be reached at 650-321-5272.
  • If your company has a matching gift program, you can specify your donation be sent to Kara.
  • If you are interested in legacy planning or bequests, please contact our Executive Director.
11If I am anticipating a death, can Kara help me?
Kara offers peer support for those anticipating a death within two years. If the prognosis is uncertain or beyond two years, consultations with Kara staff are available. Kara's support is available to those anticipating their own or another's death as well as caregivers.

Request Services: Call Us 650-321-5272 | Submit Online Form

12If I am a company/organization in need of help providing my staff with training and/or support in the event of a death, can Kara help me?

Kara offers the following grief specific services to corporations/organizations when a death impacts the workplace/organization:

  • Kara provides on-site crisis response management team to facilitate individual and/or group counseling support, depending on the specific situation and demands of the organization's culture.
  • Kara offers expert consulting services to management to construct performance outcomes and implement strategies for specific work groups, departments, teams, and employees impacted by the death of a co-worker.
  • Kara trainers provide both high-level overviews to executives and HRBPs, as well as comprehensive training programs for managers and supervisors on how to notify employees after a death in the company, talk/listen to bereaved co-workers, and manage employees in the early stages of grief.

Request Services: Call Us 650-321-5272 | Submit Online Form