Near North Palliative Care Volunteers are the most special persons in the world. Our volunteers share their very best with both clients and caregivers to help them achieve the highest possible quality of life each day. They ease the burden of dealing with a terminal illness and provide the clients and family with their compassion, time and energy. Our volunteers also support those who are bereaved. Whenever possible they work to alleviate physical, emotional and spiritual suffering. Our volunteers work hard to understand their concerns and help in any way they can to assist in providing relief and helpful end-of-life care and grief support. They step in where others flee. They listen, hold hands, read, talk or say nothing. All the while, they are there. A heart-felt thank you to our NNPCN volunteers!
Here’s to the everyday heroes,
The volunteers who do what they can,
To ease the suffering of others,
And be of service to their fellow man.
May they know the true satisfaction
That comes from helping others
Less fortunate than themselves,
But no less their sisters and brothers.
May they feel the gratitude in our hearts
For all of the good that they’ve done.
The appreciation that we all feel for them
Is truly second to none.
Interested in volunteering…? You can fill our Volunteer Application Form right now!
Send us your info and someone from the office will get in touch with you soon.
“I don’t know what I would have done without you; I can’t say enough…“
(Lillian, Palliative Care and Hospice Client)
“I know that chair is empty but now I can look again at the lake. Thank you.”
(Anonymous, Bereavement and Grief Client)
Our volunteers are the heart and soul of Near North Palliative Care Network (NNPCN). The emotional, spiritual and companioning care our volunteers provide to our clients and their families, every year, is an essential part of their journey, as they deal with terminal illness and end-of-life challenges, and also with their own feelings of grief and bereavement.
- What is it like to be a Palliative Care and Hospice volunteer?
- What is it like to be a Bereavement and Grief volunteer?
- As a volunteer, what would I do?
- Where would I volunteer?
- Not sure about patient care, can I still volunteer?
- Will you provide training?
- Volunteer Application Form
- Volunteer Appreciation
- Continued Support and Education for Volunteers
What is it like to be a hospice volunteer?
As a Palliative Care and Hospice volunteer, you have the privilege of serving families at a tender time when they are saying, “I love you,” “I forgive you,” ” thank you,” and “good-bye.” It’s a period of closure and a time of reflection. Many patients find it helpful to talk about their lives with an objective listener. They feel free to discuss events and issues with a volunteer that it may be difficult to share with their relatives or health providers. Far from depressing, Palliative Care and Hospice volunteers consistently describe the experience as one that is immeasurably rewarding. As a volunteer, you will experience the profound importance of small gestures: helping someone to stand up, gently sliding a cushion to support your client’s back and receive a smile, moisturizing dry lips with a Q-tip with lemon scent, just being there: small silent actions that give a broader meaning to life.
Below are comments typically heard from volunteers:
“I get back way more than I give, and I know I am making a difference to those who use our services.” (Shelly, Volunteer)
“…you give, and with that giving you get so much more back.” (Katherine, Volunteer)
“The courage of the patients, and their gratitude and concern for their family.It’s amazing.And the family members! These caregivers are the unsung heroes. Their love and compassion is really very touching. The whole thing is profoundly moving.” (Anonymous)
“I’ve seen family members reunited after years of being apart. They realize that the grudge they were holding really wasn’t all that important after all. Decades of bitterness falls away in the face of death. And to a one, they all say, ’Why did we wait so long?’ It makes you realize that you don’t have to wait until you’re dying to forgive. What a lesson!” (Anonymous)
“It meant so much to us to get help from hospice when my husband was sick. I decided I wanted to give back, so I became a hospice volunteer. What I didn’t know at the time was how much I would get out of it, being on the giving end. It’s one the best things I do.” (Anonymous)
“For me, it’s a blessing to spend time with people in their last weeks of life. As my patients lose their physical abilities, they often become more spiritual. The worries of daily life are seen for what they are, insignificant. In the end, all my patients can do is become the essence of the human soul: our capacity to love. And just think, I get to witness that every week!” (Anonymous)
What is it like to be a Bereavement and Grief volunteer?
As a Bereavement and Grief volunteer, you will be a supportive companion of another human being’s personal journey through grief. You will learn how to offer non-judgmental companioning, how to simply be there, as a witness and companion of someone else’s pain and healing. It is a personal journey and it is unique, it cannot be compared to anyone else’s pain. You will learn that there is no bigger grief or smaller grief, wrong grief or right grief: pain is pain, and only the person who feels it knows how much it aches and what it means to them. Our body, minds and souls have their own wisdom and they know what they need to heal. This is a personal journey, and as a volunteer you will witness, support and walk by the side of each of these human being in their journey through grief, towards healing. It is a beautiful, powerful, and unique journey. Every time.
Here’s what some of our volunteers have to say:
“I feel honoured, and deeply humbled, when a human being reveals the Beauty of their internal life to me. When someone who was a stranger until yesterday suddenly pours out the treasure of their soul, and shares with me their tears, their sorrows, their most precious memories, their vulnerability, their strength. This is the most precious gift you can receive from another human being: their own soul, revealed to you. So I take their hearts in my hands as if I was carrying the most precious, beautiful and fragile jewel in the world. And I say to them, “Thank You. Sharing your heart with me is the most precious present you could ever give someone. For me, we are in sacred territory now – your soul. I share this journey and treasure with you with deep veneration and gratitude (Monica, Volunteer)
“Your client is actually your teacher. Each client teaches you what really matters in life. Supporting bereaved clients gives you perspective. You see in their eyes your own tears, you see in their consolation your own hope. This is what life is really all about. Not those daily things we run around doing and wanting, but simply BEING TOGETHER.” (Anonymous)
As a volunteer, what would I do?
As a Palliative Care and Hospice Volunteer, in addition to visiting with patients, your presence as a volunteer also gives family members the opportunity for a much-needed break. Here are a few among many other activities a volunteer can do:
- Offer comfort measures for the terminally ill such as a calm and caring presence, relaxing music, reading a book to the client or simply listening.
- Offer relief for primary caregivers allowing them a period to rest or time to run errands.
- Write letters or making a scrapbook for the client to leave for their loved-ones.
As a Bereavement and Grief Volunteer, you can conduct individual or group sessions with bereaved clients, to facilitate and support their journey through grief towards healing with your caring presence. You will offer you clients a safe space to grieve, free from the worries of “having to put on a brave face” for the world to see. You will create a safe space where tears are welcome, silences shared, and every manifestation of grief is compassionately listened validated by you in supportive, a non-judgmental way. The NNPCN offers you Bereavement training and each of our certified volunteers receives a binder with a suggestion for the structure, content and materials for the sessions you will facilitate.
There are many other ways to volunteer. You can help us in so many ways! Here are some activities you can do:
- to organize Events and Fundraising initiatives
- to help us with Administrative work in the Office
- to help us with website updates
- to help us with updates on Facebook and Twitter
- to help us create videos and publish them on YouTube
- to offer your professional skills as a Consultant
- to drive a van or car and take some health care material from our Loan Cupboard to the house of a client
… and much more! The NNPCN gives you a wonderful atmosphere of mutual support and collaboration. We support our clients with our team-work, and we support one another as a team.
Where would I volunteer?
Our Visiting Hospice Palliative Care volunteers are placed in hospitals, long term care facilities, retirement homes, and client’s homes according to their preference. The help of a volunteer often allows people to pass in the comfort of their home, surrounded by their loved ones.
Our Bereavement and Grief volunteers are mainly placed at the North Bay Office, where we have a meeting room for Group Sessions and a smaller room for Individual Sessions. Our Bereavement and Grief volunteers are also present at several other communities and they conduct sessions in the appropriate settings available in the region.
Our many other kinds of volunteers can be anywhere: expect to find them in the Office, at their own consulting space, organizing events in venues, at the waterfront during our Annual Live Butterfly Release, online from their homes, in their schools, and more.
Not sure about patient care, can I still volunteer?
Rest assured that you will never be expected to do something you do not want to do. Patient care is not the only way to contribute. If you are interested in volunteering but don’t see yourself working with patients, the NNPCN will gladly find ways to use your unique talents.
Other volunteer opportunities could include things like:
- Clerical tasks (mailings, reception, special projects)
- Helping with grief support groups
- Staffing a table at a health fair
- Assisting at a memorial event
- Helping with computer projects
- Serving on the board of directors or committees
Or, if you have a volunteer idea in mind, call us and suggest it. We’d love to work with you.
Will you provide training?
Yes. All volunteers receive extensive training and support. In addition, a Volunteer Coordinator is there to guide you every step of the way. To know more about the next available training contact our Office right now:
Phone: (705) 497-9239 1-800-287-9441 Fax: (705) 497-1039 E-mail: [email protected]
Volunteer Application Form
You can fill our online Volunteer Application Form right now.
At the heart of the NNPCN, you find the best generous spirit of Nipissing and East Parry Sound Districts.
Our Volunteers are our pride, the true wealth and lifeline of our organization. Their impact in the quality of life of countless families in our region is priceless. Their compassion and self-giving compassion is beyond praise.
Once a year, we stop to celebrate our Volunteers, and honour them during our Appreciation Evening. We invite you to be among us this year!
Check our latest Appreciation Evening on our Photo Gallery
For more information about our volunteer opportunities, call us: (705) 497-9239 – 1-800-287-9441
You can also fill our online Volunteer Application Form.
Continued Support and Education for Volunteers
Besides receiving free internal training with HPCO and at the NNPCN, our volunteers have the opportunity to attend a variety of training courses and conferences on Palliative Care and Bereavement topics. Monthly team meetings provide peer support, mentoring and ongoing education opportunities for all volunteers. We insist on self care for all our volunteers and offer many way for our volunteers to practice self care. We also practice an open-door policy, and pride ourselves on supporting our volunteers to ensure they feel happy and fulfilled.
If you’d like to talk more about volunteering, give us a call at
705-497-9239 or 1-800-287-9441.