Peer Support Group Facilitator - Volunteer Information

Bereaved Families of Ontario Southwest Region (BFO-SW) is a non-profit, mutual aid organization. We provide a safe place where members can talk about their loss, share their story, and express their grief. Our Peer Support Group Facilitators lead peer support groups for individuals who have experienced a loss through the death of a loved one; leading peer-to-peer support delivery with compassion and understanding in a non-judgmental environment. While not a counsellor, you bring the invaluable asset of personal lived experience, offering a unique connection to those in need. Your responsibilities include creating an environment where participants can openly share their emotions, fostering a sense of community and mutual understanding.

Our volunteers are the heart of our organization. They play a crucial role in creating a supportive and understanding community for individuals coping with loss. By joining our team, you will directly contribute to providing comfort and solace to those navigating the difficult journey of grief.

Summary

  • Journey alongside members as they navigate their grief and mourn the loss of their loved one;
  • Listen empathetically by giving your full attention to the speaker;
  • Establish and maintain physical, emotional, and social/cultural safety;
  • Connect group members with additional resources;
  • Promote, initiate and guide interactions that are characterized by equality and non-judgment;
  • Role model in the expression of authentic emotion and respectful, empathetic interactions;
  • Observe group members’ expressions and reactions;
  • Identify, intervene and help to resolve conflict;
  • Explore opportunities for growth and change;
  • Able to listen attentively to what participants are sharing, hold space for others, and be focused on supporting their grief experience.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Facilitators must be 18 years of age or older;
  • Having lived experience with death-related loss and being on a journey of healing is required to provide peer support to participants;
  • A minimum of a 6+ month commitment is strongly preferred; approx. 2 hours per month;
  • A background in Social Work, Counselling, Psychology, Thanatology, or related disciplines is preferred but not required;
  • Access to a computer device in a private, quiet room with internet (for virtual groups) is required; ability to travel within the London area for in-person groups is required;
  • Being able to demonstrate compassion, inclusivity, authenticity, adaptability, integrity, non-judgment, resiliency, reliability, and self-management;
  • A Vulnerable Sector Police Check will be required prior to facilitating groups (no older than 1 year; otherwise, the cost of the VSC will be reimbursed by BFO-SW);
  • Applicants must commit to an online volunteer facilitator training if selected as a successful applicant;
  • Experience with art or music therapy, yoga instruction, mindfulness, or other related self-care/healthcare modalities; any additional mental health support training such as SafeTalk, ASSIST, Mental Health First Aid would be beneficial but not required.

Volunteers Receive:

  • Thorough Online Volunteer Training: Volunteers are provided with in-depth online training to ensure they are well-prepared for their roles. This training equips them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their volunteer positions.

     

  • Shadowing Opportunities with Current Volunteer Facilitators: Volunteers have the chance to gain practical experience by shadowing current volunteer facilitators. This hands-on learning opportunity allows them to see the role in action and learn from experienced
    volunteers.

     

  • Ongoing Support from the Program Coordinator: Volunteers receive continuous assistance and guidance from the program coordinator. This ensures they have a point of contact for any questions, concerns, or support they may need throughout their volunteer journey.

     

  • Access to Shared Resources and Information: Volunteers are provided with access to a wealth of shared resources and information. These materials can help them in their volunteer work, offering valuable insights and tools for their support groups.

     

    • Flexibility in Organizing Peer Support Groups: Volunteers have the freedom to organize peer support groups in a way that suits their schedules and the needs of the community. This flexibility allows them to make a meaningful impact in a manner that works best for them and the participants.

    • Volunteer Appreciation: Volunteers are recognized and celebrated through special appreciation activities. These serve as a way to express gratitude for their dedication and hard work, fostering a sense of belonging and appreciation within the volunteer community. 

How to Apply

Please email our Program Coordinator, Elizabeth at [email protected] to receive a Volunteer Application Form. Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us!

“Being a peer support facilitator with Bereaved Families of Ontario Southwest Region has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. To think that I can be there for people who might feel alone in their grieving, and to see them supporting each other in our meetings, it’s amazing. Volunteering with BFOSW adds to my sense of purpose, and it’s great that I can do something productive as a result of my own painful experience of loss.”

– BFOSW Volunteer

 

At BFO-SW, we welcome diverse talents. If you require accommodations for accessibility, please let us know. We’re dedicated to ensuring a welcoming and inclusive experience for all prospective volunteers.