I began helping out at Langley Hospice three years ago to gain some volunteering experience before I applied for university. I was fairly young at the time, about age 16. I am now in university, well into my degree, but I continue to volunteer for a variety of reasons.

Working with the kids who are experiencing grief over the loss of a loved one has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Children are extremely dependent on their caregivers for survival, so when one or both of those caregivers dies the children are put in a difficult state.

Children are supposed to laugh, play, and not have many stressors in their lives. They shouldn’t have to worry about not having a mom to brush their hair before school or future worries like not having a dad to walk them down to isle when they get married.   All of these worries, emotions, and stressors can be extremely taxing on an adult, let alone a young child or early teen. Adults need support with their struggles and emotions and so do kids.

That’s what the children’s program at Langley Hospice aims to do and hence, why I love it so much. They aim to help children understand their emotions and help make it all make sense but also to help the kids be “kids” again. I love volunteering here because I love seeing the smiles on these children’s faces. Being able to play, laugh, and be downright silly with these kids is why I volunteer at Langley Hospice. Even if I can make their grief process a fraction easier, then it is completely worth it in my books. Not only do I have a tremendous amount of fun with the kids, but they also teach me new things every day. One thing that I have grown to admire from the children is their incredible resiliency and strength. Seeing the children thrive after a tough loss inspires me in my daily life when things get stressful.

I encourage all who have a passion for play to volunteer with the children’s program at Langley Hospice. I guarantee that you won’t be able to help out just once, you’ll find yourself coming back again and again, just like I did!

Konnor Mitterer, Children’s Bereavement Program Volunteer