This month, we’d like to shine a spotlight on our most active Survivor Outreach Program - NY, Capital Region. I had a wonderful conversation this month with Marianne Reid, Capital Region’s SOPC, and Laura Marx, Capital Region Area Director, and they had so many good ideas we just had to pass along to other chapters.
Promoting the Program
With 16 Intakes and 26 newly bereaved survivors visited in 2012, the Capital Region’s SOP is an excellent example of how collaboration and promotion can get resources out to survivors in need. The chapter has developed strong relationships with local organizations to help them cross promote all of their events and activities. For example, at a recent community night at an amateur hockey game they promoted the SOP and other chapter programs at an information table, and were able to meet and help several survivors as a result. They also have a strong relationship with state and local funeral directors/associations, because as Marianne puts it, “it is a natural fit… They are always looking for resources to give to these families”.
Marianne keeps her volunteers involved with regular emails and invitations to chapter events. They also have occasional “work nights”, where they join each other for dinner and put together SOP resource folders. In addition, she engages her volunteers when planning the chapter’s International Survivors of Suicide Day activities to keep them involved. Despite how busy their chapter is, Laura and Marianne both say they’ve been able to make the SOP a priority by including it in the chapter’s business plan and always knowing how valuable it is to the newly bereaved survivors reached by their efforts.
Marianne’s passion for the Survivor Outreach Program is the result of wishing that this service was available to her family 6 years ago when her brother, John, died by suicide. She serves as SOPC to ensure other surviving families are connected with volunteers who can help. Laura joined AFSP last September and “know[s] [she] is in the right place”. Her background in Psychology and fundraising have proven helpful, and she reports that her involvement with AFSP has created an outstanding advocate in her 11 year-old, who now frequently gives out prevention information at school.
A big round of applause to Marianne, Laura and the entire NY, Capital Region chapter for their dedication and hard work!
Survivor Initiatives Department