LEWISTON – The Program for Grieving Children and Teens is currently running its next seven-session volunteer training from Monday, May 2, to Monday, May 16, at the offices of Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice, 15 Strawberry Ave.

The training will include two Saturday sessions from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and five evening sessions from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The training is offered free and is designed to prepare interested participants in the art of volunteer work with grieving children and their families.

The course is comprehensive in scope, exploring a wide range of topics, including the understanding of grief and its stages, how individuals of varying ages process grief, the use of age appropriate activities in groups and the safe expression of anger and other emotions.

Co-sponsored by Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice and St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, the Program for Grieving Children and Teens provides non-therapeutic peer-to-peer support for families who have lost a loved one to death.

In group settings, children, along with their group facilitator, embark on their unique and individual journeys, exploring their grief through games, activities, art and other forms of self-expression.

Accompanying adults also meet during that time to support each other and discuss ways for supporting their families’ needs. Volunteer opportunities include facilitating groups for children or adults, greeting or interviewing families, community outreach and office support.

“The work is demanding but extremely rewarding,” said Jake Lariviere, program coordinator. “Our program offers a meaningful volunteer experience for anyone ready to make a difference in the life of another.”

According to Lariviere, due to the nature of the work, program candidates must participate in an interviewing process and must not have suffered a loss in their own lives within the last year. Anyone interested in additional information, a training schedule or an application may contact Lariviere at 777-7740, ext. 1302.

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