Madison-based organization looks for volunteers to expand peer support for bereaved parents to Rock County

The Madison-based Bereaved Parents of Madison organization is seeking volunteers in Rock County to help it expand and support more families through its HUGS support program.

HUGS (Hope, Understanding & Grief Support) is a volunteer-run program that pairs parents who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth and/or infant death with other families faced with a similar loss. HUGS volunteers are available to offer immediate, one-on-one support and provide companionship. Volunteers offer themselves as a resource as families begin to navigate through this unexpected tragedy.

“Since we started HUGS in 2015, we’ve proactively helped 89 families through hospitals in Madison and Monroe as they grieve the loss of their babies,” said Claire Matejka, president of Bereaved Parents of Madison. “We are in need of more volunteers to provide support for Janesville and Beloit-area families as we look to expand HUGS.”

While HUGS volunteers provide immediate support along the bedside at Madison and Monroe hospitals, the expansion in Rock County will focus first on providing support for families in the days and months after they return home.

HUGS is seeking Rock County moms and dads to provide peer support for other Rock County parents. Volunteer requirements include:

• Have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death at least two years ago and not be currently pregnant
• Have participated in or be willing to attend a bereaved parent support group meeting
• Submit a letter of intent by Jan. 31 and complete an interview in the spring
• Complete a half day of training on April 21

Moms and dads interested in volunteering can participate in a question and answer call at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 8 to see if this is the right volunteer opportunity for them. The call is not required but is encouraged to help learn more. Please RSVP by emailing bereavedparentsofmadison@gmail.com or calling 920-643-0217 to receive the dial-in number.