Peer Support Volunteers
Our services are provided primarily by trained volunteers who have experience in healing from their own personal loss. With the aid of professional staff and ongoing training, Kara's peer support volunteers provide crucial service to those grieving in our community. Please consider joining the team of over 200 volunteers who serve Kara’s mission annually.
Peer Support Model of Service
At the core of Kara’s identity is the belief that during times of grief even the most emotionally healthy people need the empathetic support of others who have similar experiences. Guided by empathy, our volunteers and staff uphold a passion for serving as a very personal healing force in the community. Key to the success of Kara’s mission is our peer support model (adopted from the Shanti Model), which advocates listening, speaking, and acting from the heart in service to others. Our peer support model is a philosophy and a set of tools that our trained volunteers use to support and serve those who are grieving.
I benefit immensely. To accompany a person, as they move through their grief process, is profound – giving us the experience of what is involved in truly being human.
Volunteer Training Program
All of our peer support volunteers complete a 21-hour training program which prepares them to support and accompany others along the grief process. Continued requisite training is provided throughout the year in small and large group formats. All candidates must attend an initial information session and submit an application to be considered for enrollment.
Our training is designed in an intentional way that honors both the sensitive and powerful nature of grief and the participants taking part. Each training cohort has size limitations to ensure that participants receive adequate support throughout the training process. Due to these size limitations and the reverence for grief, we follow an application process. Each year we receive more applications than we have spots available in the training, therefore please note that applying to volunteer does not guarantee entry into training. Upon successfully completing the training and being invited to join the volunteer corps, we expect a minimum of a one-year service commitment to ensure that we are able to meet the needs of our clients.
Our annual training cohort is typically conducted in early March and information sessions are offered in January. Information is published in late-autumn. Sign up below to be notified about training updates.
A summary of our volunteer application process is as follows:
- Attend one informational meeting - to further understand the work that we do and the programs we offer.
- Complete an online volunteer application.
- If your application is considered for training, take part in an applicant interview.
- Interviewed applicants will be notified of their training status, and those invited to be part of the training cohort must attend all training sessions.
For Spanish Speakers, click here to learn about how you can serve the bereaved in our community through our Spanish Services Program.