Trained volunteers provide counseling and support to children, teens, and adults who are mourning the death of a loved one. Individual counseling is conducted in clients’ homes and in our Walnut Creek office. Group counseling is conducted at our agency and at sites around the county. A seven-week program teaches volunteers everything they need to know.
During training, volunteers receive a free, one-hour screening from an outside mental health professional. The screening ensures that prospective volunteers are able to be effective grief counselors. Oftentimes volunteers have suffered the death of a loved one themselves and want to help others cope with loss. This is commendable; however, sufficient time needs to have passed for them to have healed before they attempt to counsel others.
After training, volunteers are assigned clients who live close to them so that it’s easy to get together for counseling sessions. Spanish-speaking volunteers are in demand and usually are assigned to Latino families.
Grief counseling volunteers must be 21 or older, complete our grief counseling training program, pass a free screening from an outside mental health professional, pass a Livescan criminal background check (paid by the Crisis Center), and adhere to our ethics and confidentiality policies. There’s one training class per year, in May.