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Contributor: Jean
Hi Geoff
I,m sure you must be feeling a whole range of emotions about your imminent visit to Missionvale but rest assured your skills will be very valuable and welcome.
My background is working in the area of anticipatory grief and bereavement counselling with children and families; death is very much part of life at Missionvale so I tried to address the problem of "what to tell children about death "and "how grief manifests itself in children ." 
Although mcc is a strong, multi-faith community to the point of being evangelical I used a very pragmatic approach for all  workshops ,at the same time acknowledging all religions and their specific rituals.

 I did not cover even basic counselling skills; perhaps that could come from yourself
My basic notes are in Pauls resource box so feel free to access them this will give you an idea of what I covered.. 
You will find the carers very receptive, they are keen to learn and like to have handouts to add to their folder, Muriel will show you what they have already. I also gave them a certificate of attendance, Muriel has the original and you could photocopy this in the office.
I invited Carol and Ashton the assistant social workers to join in, I also gave Carol and Vera ( the school principal) copies of my notes, they like to be involved so don,t be worried about seeking them out and discussing your ideas with them.Sr Tixsie who is a retired nursing sister/ tutor volunteer, likes to be involved  She is very knowledgable and will certainly help you if you ask.I think she enjoyed the workshops as much as the carers! 

I think there is a DVD or cassette player in the boardroom which could access if you needed to.The carers do need and have time for peer supervision ; I feel it would be a fantastic achievement if you could facilitate this.
 Sr Muriel also needs lots of support she is very busy and doesn,t leave any time for herslf .
Don,t be afraid of splitting the group if you feel it necessary, Sr Muriel is open to all ideas and will support you.

You might not think you are making an impact but you will be.
The pace is slow, time is african time not our time, expect the unexpected, flexibility is the key, just go with it and enjoy, I did! I,m sure this is not really answering your questions so if you would like a chat please call. 
Go well ( as they say in s.a)
Jean

This is an example of advice from a returned volunteer to a future volunteer. ED
Created: 21/07/2009
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