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Multifaith Works seeks volunteers to combat isolation
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Multifaith Works seeks volunteers to combat isolation

Most of us have known people in our community who have been affected by either AIDS or addiction. Many of us have watched as acquaintances have retreated into isolation due to stigmatization of who they are or who they are perceived to be.

Two local programs that excel in providing support to isolated members of our GLBTQ community are the Shanti and CareTeam programs at Multifaith Works, an agency that welcomes volunteers and clients of any cultural, sexual or spiritual orientation.

Shanti volunteers are matched in one-on-one relationships with someone whose life has become difficult or isolating due to AIDS, addiction, or other life-limiting illnesses. They might meet to talk at the person's home or take a walk together, or visit over coffee. Volunteers provide confidential, non-judgmental listening that allows their Shanti partner to explore their feelings, find their own solutions, and feel less alone in the process. One Shanti partner remarked: "I don't know where I would turn to for the emotional strength that my Shanti volunteer gives me. He is more than a friend; he is a life saver." Another stated, "Shanti has given me an outlet for my fears and confusion, and a way to work through problems that I can't share with friends, family, or my partner."

The CareTeam Program matches a team of four to six caring volunteers with an individual or family affected by AIDS or in recovery from addiction. The team provides emotional support and assistance with daily activities such as shopping, transportation to medical appointments, or light household chores. A recent CarePartner told us: "My own family deserted me, saying that I deserved AIDS because of the things I had done. My CareTeam loves me like a family - has become my family - and gives me hope."

Both programs are a mainstay for companionship and support in the lives of many people within the LGBTQ community. Both programs are in dire need of more volunteers to serve a growing waitlist of individuals needing support. Can you help?

The CareTeam training for new volunteers is Saturday, October 10. The next Shanti training takes place the weekends of October 17, 18 and 24, 25.

For information on how to become involved, call 206-324-1520. Shanti Program Coordinator, ext 228. CareTeam Program Coordinator, ext 226.

Courtesy of Multifaith Works

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