Dr. Gloria Horsley interviewed Anne Baker at the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference. Baker experienced two significant losses in her life, but moved forward and became a hospice volunteer. Now, she helps others on their death and grief journey. When she was seven, her mother died suddenly. Just three years later, her younger sister died. Baker recalls that at that time, there was no support for someone in her situation and she didn’t know how to look for or access resources. It was then, as a child, that she decided she wanted to dedicate her life to volunteering in hospices.

Based in Maryland, Baker found a program as an adult and underwent three days of intensive training. “I was totally embraced by it,” she says. She worked as a caregiver for a while before taking on more responsibility. Now, she’s one of the directors of bereavement and “we offer all sorts of programs for adults and children,” she says.

Giving Back

You don’t necessarily have to have a hospice-related loss in order to tap into the resources that Baker’s organization offers. “Anybody who is grieving, we offer services for,” she says. There are people who have decided they finally need to deal with their grief 20 years after it happened. Baker goes into schools, including elementary, offering a seven-week program for children who have experienced a loss. There are sessions on loss and grief in health classes throughout Montgomery County school districts.

“We rely on our volunteers,” she says, currently managing up to 400 volunteers. They facilitate bereavement groups, and also make up an impressive community that is “Figuring out different ways to turn around their energy,” she says. There are hospices in most communities, many of which welcome volunteers.

Gloria Horsley

Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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