The Bereaved Families of Ontario for southeastern Ontario is looking to grow its community this year and has many volunteer opportunities available.
Since reopening in Cornwall in 2020, BFO has been working towards meeting the needs of families and individuals who are suffering from the loss of a loved one. It can be an incredibly isolated and challenging time in our lives, but that can be helped if you have a community to fall back on.
Through counselling and peer support programs, BFO has always strived to be there when people in our community are going through a harder time, and that’s always better when you have guidance from someone who knows what you’re going through.
Maureen Amistoso lost her husband in 2016 to cancer. She was expecting their second child at the time and was already had a four-year-old at home. She wasn’t expecting to have to raise two kids on her own. Today she’s well on her way towards a social service worker diploma from St. Lawrence College and has dedicated most of her career towards caring for others. Her kids are happy, with her oldest almost in High School, she has an incredible journey to reflect on and share.
“It was shocking to the family,” said Amistoso, remembering her own experience with loss. But, as she says, much more of her time and energy goes towards raising her children, who she adores, or her academic career.
Amistoso is incredibly organized, and finds the time to volunteer regularly with BFO, on top of raising two kids and going to school full time.
“It’s good to come out and tell people, yes there is death in our lives, but we have to accept that…In order to cope we need to talk it out and we need the community to support us.”
“We have a great community that will support them,” said Amistoso. “The death of a loved one is never going to go away; it becomes a matter of how we cope with it…This is an incredible struggle you can’t take on alone…there is a lot of help in the community you can call.”
Volunteering with BFO is a rewarding chance to help people in your own community struggling with what is often one of our biggest challenges in life.
For Stephen Doris, who has been involved with BFO since they began to operate in 2022 following a yearlong closure, volunteers are what makes this community function.
“If you volunteer with BFO you’ll be wanted, you’ll be appreciated and you’re needed,” said Doris. “We need good working, honest volunteers that are willing to give us a good shot.”
Anyone interested in helping and volunteering can sign up at bfoser.ca