CareTeams offer people from all walks of life a common volunteer experience by providing a network of practical support and emotional support to people living with HIV/AIDS. Both volunteers and CarePartners (clients) express tremendous benefits through their involvement with CareTeams.
Although many people living with HIV/AIDS have benefited from new medical treatments, others continue to live with debilitating side effects from potent medications, along with isolation, stigma, and fear. As part of our compassionate response, Samaritan Center of Puget Sound recruits and trains volunteers to work with those in these situations.
What is a CareTeam?
A CareTeam is a group of 4 - 7 volunteers who provide practical, emotional, and spiritual support to a person or household affected by HIV/AIDS. Volunteers come to the program as individuals or might be based out of civic groups, academic institutions, spiritual communities, or the community at large. Our volunteers range in age from 18 to 85 and represent diverse cultural backgrounds, belief systems, and life experiences.
Working as a team, each volunteer can make a difference in the life of a person with HIV/AIDS although her/his individual time commitment may be limited. Together we accomplish more collectively than any of us would working on our own.
What do CareTeams do?
Each CareTeam is matched with an individual or household living with HIV/AIDS referred to as a CarePartner. CareTeam members form relationships with their CarePartner and do the things compassionate friends do. CareTeam activities depend on the needs of the CarePartner and abilities of the volunteer. At the core, CareTeams build supportive relationships with their CarePartners by listening to them, offering encouragement, renewing interest in life, and establishing meaningful personal connections. Support may include phone calls, transportation to appointments, sharing coffee or meals, celebrating birthdays and holidays, childcare, light housework, sending cards, or help with moving.
Mutual Support for CareTeams
All potential volunteers attend a one day training on HIV/AIDS, addiction, and the values of compassionate care. After the training, Samaritan Center staff facilitate a team formation meeting for volunteers joining the team. Each CareTeam meets once a month for planning, sharing, and mutual support. Representatives from each CareTeam meet monthly with Samaritan Center staff to discuss team activities, issues, and concerns. CareTeam members often report that serving people with illnesses and working with other team members brings them personal satisfaction, blessings and rewards.
Trainings are typically held twice yearly and are one full day. CareTeams Volunteer Training (date to be announced) is typically from 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Samaritan Center, 564 NE Ravenna Blvd, Seattle, 98115. A registration form will be sent once the application is received. Training includes information on the CareTeams model of support, HIV/AIDS, psycho-social issues, diversity, mental health and substance use issues, listening, and a panel presentations by our volunteers and our CarePartners (those we serve.) Continental breakfast and lunch is served.
We are in great need of volunteers in South King County to support a population moving out of the city due to increasing rents.
If you are interested in attending an upcoming training (please click here to fill out an application), or want more information about the CareTeams Program, please contact Mary Scott, Program Coordinator, at 206.957.4697 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are currently 19 CareTeams serving 27 CarePartners, including men, women, and children:
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