For the last fourteen months Southwest Airline Safety Specialist and GriefWorks Volunteer Brent Askins has entered in a significant, healing way into the lives of children, teens and their adult family members who are struggling with grief. Some children have lost a parent, others a sibling, and some a grandparent or close family member or friend.
Thanks to Brent’s heartfelt concern, boundless compassion and ability to have fun with these children ages 5-18, there are lots of smiles and laughs at the end of the twice monthly GriefWorks sessions where there used to be forlorn faces and endless tears. What Brent and the other 25 trained volunteers do at GriefWorks for hurting children facing the darkest times of their lives may sound simple on the surface, but it is profound and life-changing.
Here’s how Brent describes his volunteer work in “From the Ground Up” the quarterly newsletter of the Southwest Airlines Ground Operations Department, “I usually hang with the nine through twelve year olds and spend time listening to their stories from school and home.”
Brent explains further how a GriefWorks volunteer is “there” for the children providing them the comforting gift of presence and support, “(We’re) drawing pictures about feelings and emotions, playing grief board games, making memory boxes, and sharing my own grief stories. These kids teach me about life and death, how to enjoy memories, and most of all, what it means to be a true friend….These kids hold a special place in my heart.”
Brent and the GriefWorks volunteers hold a special place in the hearts of the children and their families too. Here is how one widowed father explained what GriefWorks volunteers mean to his family:
“We are thankful for all your time & the work you have been doing with us. You have made a big difference in our grief journey. Before my wife died I was able to talk to her. I asked her that when she died and went to heaven to please send me and my son an angel to look over us and make us stronger. I think all of you at GriefWorks are that angel sent to help us during this difficult time.”
Do you have time to join Brent and all the other GriefWorks volunteers to turn things around in the lives and grief journeys of mourning children and their families? Do you have the boundless compassion, the ability to have fun and the need to just be there and be a true friend to a child?
For more information on how you can become a GriefWorks volunteer email Program Coordinator Kim Daily at email@example.com.
If you would like information on the next training session for GriefWorks volunteers click here.
For more information about GriefWorks and how you can be involved as a participating family in the grief support groups call Program Coordinator Janet Johnston at 972-960-9981 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.