Voice of Care offers a volunteer respite caregiver training program for adults and teenagers. This unique service enables volunteers to provide temporary relief to family caregivers in planned settings and emergency situations.
REST training prepares volunteers to build caring relationships, handle crises, and overcome communication obstacles. REST participants will learn safety practices, acquire an overview of disabilities, and find out how to create a positive atmosphere in respite situations.
Voice of Care can bring REST training and resource materials to interested churches and ministry groups. REST training paves the way to share God’s love through the gift of time and service.
Learn more about REST Program training here.
Voice of Care Conducts First Bilingual Respite Care Workshop for Hispanic Training Leaders: Participants Bring Vision for Reaching Communities, People with Disabilities and their Caregivers
The need for respite care is growing and Voice of Care is leading the church in rising to meet that need. Most recently, Voice of Care, with the support of the Northern Illinois District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, has presented its first REST (Respite Education and Support Tools) workshop for bilingual Hispanic training leaders.
Voice of Care, a ministry that equips churches to reach and support people with disabilities, received a New Starts New Believers grant from the Northern Illinois District. This support allowed four Spanish/English speaking volunteers to attend a two-day workshop in mid-May as part a new Hispanic Respite Initiatives program.
The bilingual Train the Trainer workshop, led by Voice of Care’s Executive Director Deaconess Kris Blackwell and Ministry Facilitator Deaconess Sarah Gaffney, also served as the final step in the duo’s Master Trainer certification through nationally accredited RESTprogram.org.
The four bilingual participants are now equipped to train respite care volunteers in either Spanish or English.
Iglesia San Pablo’s Maria Perez and Jessica Contreras plan to train respite companion volunteers from among the adults who attend the Aurora, Illinois, congregation’s School for Missionaries. Iglesia San Pablo understands that providing respite care can be a valuable tool for reaching out to the people in the community who need help caring for loved ones with disabilities.
Iglesia Vida Y Fe is an emerging Hispanic ministry in Elgin, Illinois. Seeking to build awareness of their welcoming congregation, Karina and Laura Mazariegos plan to train both youth and adults to serve as volunteer respite companions. The church plans to offer activities to help integrate families including loved ones with disabilities. Households with special needs often feel isolated within the community-at-large. Iglesia Vida Y Fe desires to help these families connect with a caring and supportive church family.
“Each person who attended the REST Train the Trainer sessions had a vision for how they were going to use this knowledge in training volunteer respite companions to reach out to families in need of respite care in their respective communities,” shared Blackwell. As an experienced church leader with vocational experience in deaf ministry and special education, she has driven the not-for-profit organization to its current place as a training and development resource for churches seeking to reach and serve people with disabilities and those care for them.
Train the Trainer participant Jan Boerman will be training respite companions in the west suburban Chicago communities of Lisle and Naperville. As a certified Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT) member, Boerman will be assisting Blackwell as Voice of Care reaches out to communities that have been afflicted by natural disasters. The ministry is helping affected communities to prepare for respite needs in time of trouble and working with disaster relief agencies to find crisis-appropriate solutions for people with disabilities.
Dennis Pieper, a retired Special Education instructor and Lutheran educator, is working with his own congregation, St. Paul Lutheran Church in Matteson, Illinois, to minister to a growing population of people with age onset disability. The church is already offering drop-off events for those with developmental disabilities. He envisions a large base of trained volunteers from both the church and the community, offering in home respite care, church-based care events, and more educational opportunities. Over several years, Pieper has directed a Special Needs camp in Michigan, which he would like to duplicate in Illinois.
Voice of Care regularly uses REST program education as its basis for training Outdoor Ministry and camp staffs to work with people with disabilities. The ministry welcomes Pieper’s help assisting Gaffney in promoting Voice of Care’s respite companion training in the area south of Chicago.