The Family Assistance Education & Research Foundation (FAERF) has been at the forefront of the evolution of emergency management, combining the head-heart approach for a fully integrated response to survivors of traumatic loss. Practicing consciousness in the workplace involves caring for people first, without exception.

Care Team as Community


Written by: Carolyn V. Coarsey, Ph.D.

June 2024

Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.

-Anthony J. D’Angelo, American Author (1955-)

    This week, June 26, 2024, we launched our Summer Webinar Series by introducing our International-Humanitarian Assistance Response Program™ (I-HARP™). FAERF leadership presented the first of five courses in the Practitioner Certificate. As Care Team members, including primary and family survivors from the UK, Europe, China, Australia, and the US, joined us on three Zoom meetings spread throughout the day to start earning credit toward the first of three Certificates, I was reminded of the sense of community in which we are all privileged to belong.

One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. 

-Jean Vanier, Canadian Humanitarian, Catholic Philosopher, Theologian (1928-2019)

A community can be formed around shared interests, values, or purposes

   Search results on the definition of communities show that a community can be formed around shared interests, values, or purposes and can be located in physical and virtual spaces. Research also shows that online communities can be characterized by:
Virtual shared spaces, shared interests, social ties, joint action, virtual geographic location.

      Except when, occasionally, some of us respond together, due to our geographical diversity, virtual space is where we most frequently come together to work with our shared interests and joint action—and social ties naturally progress. Shared interests and joint action describe the essence of Care Team work i.e., we support grieving people we did not know before the crisis, and as part of our job description, we will say “goodbye” almost as quickly as we said hello. And when called upon, we will meet new survivors, again and again.

    In the first lesson of the 5-part program in the Practitioner Certificate, presented in this week’s Summer Webinar Series, two experienced Care Team responders and fellow community members were featured as examples of the work’s emotional aspects and transformative effect. Jody’s first experience involved supporting a family who participated in a race at the entertainment company where she worked. Running the race was an annual family event

      Shortly after the race began, the younger son died of a heart attack. His wife of two years, his brother, and his mother participated in the race with him. They were all in shock over his death, as there had been no prior symptoms. Jody coordinated with the team at the hospital, the funeral home, and all services involved with the sudden death of someone away from their home.

     With long hours and little rest, Jody completed the job, holding back her own grief. In addition to feeling the family’s sorrow, no one could have known how the response brought back the unresolved grief of her own brother’s death. On the video, Jody described
how she broke down and cried as soon as she had finished her assignment – after seeing the family off to the airport for the long ride home to bury their husband, son, and brother.

When asked how she felt about her first response, she shared the following:

Being a care team responder is not easy. And not everyone can do it. And a lot of my co-workers said, “I can never do what you do”. I don’t think they realize the very rich reward I receive from helping others, even though I might be in an activation where my heart is breaking along with the family. I know that I am helping. And that’s one of the little things I can do on this earth to give back. And that fills me beyond measure to be of service to others.

  Like Jody, Susan spoke about her first Care Team response. An HR Director for a retail company, Susan was involved in the company’s first Care Team response within two months after training. An employee was killed in a car accident on the way to attend a large company meeting. Susan left her own young daughters behind with her husband, who also worked full-time. Despite the stress the assignment placed on her personal life, Susan’s compassionate heart caused her to respond willingly, along with two other teammates, who, like Susan, were responding for the first time. Language and cultural differences added to the challenges involved with supporting the family. Susan shared the following comments about her first assignment:

They were very private, very stoic, and mostly didn’t want to share their pain with other people. Not because they didn’t want to negatively impact another person, not because they weren’t trusting or anything like that. But they were very private and very, very careful about what they shared, as they let us share this experience with them.

The way we learned to work with them forever changed how I think about supporting someone in any time of grief. Could I help you with that? May I help you with that? Would you let me help with this? Just giving someone, some little bit of control back in that moment is huge. So, it has forever changed how I communicate with anyone that I know who’s going through some grief or trauma.

There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about

-Margaret J. Wheatley, American Author (1944-)

And it made me even more committed to always being prepared as a company if we can support moments like this … because you do a lot of training and it’s very emotional, and to do the deployments is very emotional. You do it all, hoping you don’t have to do it very often. It is probably one of the most important things I’ve ever done both personally and professionally, to be able to support this way. And it’s something that I will cherish the memories that I have of doing these things to make one person’s grief just a little bit less horrible.

We have all known the long loneliness, and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes from community.

-Dorothy Day American Journalist, Catholic Activist (1897-1980)

There are four more Webinars planned this year and three Member-Partner meetings. We look forward to expanding our community and continuing our mission of raising compassion consciousness within business and industry.

See the page to view the upcoming Webinars and Member Partner Meetings.


 © 2024 Higher Resources, Inc./Aviem International, Inc.