Dear Support Volunteer Candidate,
Thank you for your interest in becoming a Support Volunteer for the Foundation’s KDF Bridges. Support Volunteers are the backbone of our program, and we’re grateful to you for considering this volunteer opportunity. By joining KDF Bridges, you can support other families of children who have been diagnosed with KD.
Support Volunteers are required to undergo screening and participate in our training program before they can be linked with other families. To complete the screening/training, please follow the steps at the top of this page. The steps include:
- STEP 1: ‘Traveling Back In Time’ reflect on your or your child’s KD diagnosis and complete the reflection form on step one.
- STEP 2: Training Reading on “Confidentiality Tips.”
- STEP 3: Complete the evaluation form to let us know how we can improve this training. Please provide as much detail as possible.
- STEP 4: Basic Information, complete the form with your contact and other basic information. This information is used to match Support Volunteers with families who request a match.
- STEP 5: “Welcome to Holland” read the article. Your completed forms will be screened and evaluated by KDF Bridges Coordinator. You will receive a response via email or phone number within a few days from your submission.
If you have questions at any time during the training, don’t hesitate to contact us. Karin Wicker, KDF Bridges Coordinator answers training questions. Contact Karin Wicker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-758-8686.
To start the training, set aside some quiet time to do the exercises that are included in this training session. Being a Support Volunteer is a job that requires empathy and a commitment to listening to other families, not acting on their behalf. Most people possess empathy, but some have a difficult time with the passive role Support Volunteers must take. If your specific skills don’t meet the requirements, we will decline your request to join the program. If we decline your participation, you can request to discuss the reason(s) for this decision.
Traveling Back in Time
Next, begin the written exercise called “Traveling Back in Time.” It shouldn’t take long to answer the questions but do take some time first to think about your responses. The purpose of this exercise is to remind you of what a new parent might be feeling when you talk to them. Everyone’s answers to these questions are different but try to think about what you found helpful (or unhelpful!) and keep that information in mind when talking to the new parent. Sometimes, when candidates do this exercise, they realize that they are not yet ready to be a Support Volunteer.
Now, a word about confidentiality. One of the common initial reactions described by parents of children with special health care needs is a feeling of isolation. But there is a vibrant and sometimes overlapping community of parents of children with special health care needs that we are a part of. We get to know one another at awareness and educational events, via online communities, and locally. Whether you have a match request from a neighbor, a friends relative, or a complete stranger, the fact of the request and the content of it is confidential.
You can (and should!) tell people about KDF Bridges but never disclose that you spoke to a specific family or chat with anyone about what you talked about. The trust a Support Volunteer and his or her referred family member develop are vital to the success of the match. A referred parent will not get the support they need if they are worried about their privacy being compromised. Reassure referred parents that you will not discuss your conversation except with us, and then only under the specific circumstances detailed in the policy.
Move on to the Training Evaluation. The purpose of this evaluation is to learn ways in which we can improve KDF Bridges training. Please answer questions with honesty and provide any additional feedback or recommendations to improve the training. The evaluation form is part of the screening process.
Please complete the Support Volunteer Information Form below. Please fill this out with as much detail as you can. It helps us match new parents with Support Volunteers who have as much in common with them as possible. Don’t feel pressured to fill in anything you don’t want to be matched around. We only want the information you’re comfortable talking to other families about. All information entered in the form below is confidential and will not be shared publicly.
Welcome to Holland
In closing, the last piece you’ll read for the training is called “Welcome to Holland.” Many of you may know this parable and may be able to relate.
We would like to thank you for volunteering to share your experiences on behalf of the Kawasaki Disease Foundation and the future families you will help on their journey.
KDF Bridges Coordinator will review your submissions and will be in touch with you shortly.