Creating a connection to community, developing a healthy self-esteem, and establishing a sense of meaning are just a few of the benefits of volunteering. We know this to be true for our volunteers that support Felton Institute programs. Whether it is acting as a foster grandparent, answering San Francisco Suicide Prevention’s crisis hotline, or advocating for older adults living in long-term care facilities–our volunteers get to experience meaningful community work all while making a tremendous impact in the services we provide.

When compassionate and dedicated volunteers serve those participating in our programs, our services are more hospitable, engaging, and effective. With a volunteer workforce of over 230 individuals that donate more than 100,000 hours of community service each year, Felton Institute undoubtedly relies on our volunteers to enhance the impact of our community programs.

Felton Institute’s experience in volunteer-focused services presented us with an astounding opportunity to expand our volunteer-led programs to Marin County this spring. The newly incubated program, the Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) Team is a postvention model that relies on two or more volunteers to respond to the scene of a suicide to support those left behind. The LOSS Team provides immediate support, a connection to resources, and most importantly offer a beacon of hope for the future.

The LOSS Team is made of individuals who have experienced personal loss to suicide and can comprehend and support the grieving clients in an authentic way. In addition to immediate postvention services, the LOSS Team also offers: 

  • Group counseling to youth and young adults who have witnessed or experienced the loss of a loved one by suicide: Here, survivors can grieve with peers and process their trauma in a non-judgmental and supportive way. 
  • Group counseling for youth and young adults who have attempted a suicide: Nationally, for every suicide death there is an estimated 100-200 attempts for adolescents. This clinician-led group offers an opportunity for these adolescents to share similar experiences and develop healthy coping skills. 
  • Group counseling for adults who have attempted a suicide: Nationally, for every suicide death there is an estimated 25 attempts for adults. Through this peer-led support group, these survivors can see hope within each other and learn to combat issues caused by shame and stigma. 

 Volunteers are a crucial component of the success for many of Felton Institute’s programs. This spring, as we continue to amplify our volunteers’ impact, we hope that more community members are driven to get involved. With the support of the dedicated volunteers on the LOSS Team, individuals experiencing some of the most challenging periods of their lives can feel comforted and hopeful.

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About Felton Institute: Rooted in equity, Felton Institute transforms quality of life and promotes social justice to accelerate community led change. Felton Institute is a tax-exempt organization registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 94-1156530.

Offering more than 50 acclaimed and honored programs that address homelessness, mental health, prenatal, adolescent, adult and senior needs, Felton Institute provides evidence-based behavioral health and social services in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Marin, and Monterey counties.

Felton Institute can trace its roots back to 1889. The organization is named for its social services pioneer and executive director Dr. Katharine “Kitty” Felton who was called the “conscience of San Francisco” and was committed to ensuring that children and families in crisis have access to social services and resources in order to help them build upon their inherent strengths and develop self-sufficiency.