Volunteer Spotlight on Amber Chardavoyne
Tell us about the organization you volunteer with and how you got involved.
Walk With Me is a Colorado-based non-profit that provides practical, financial, and emotional support to families who are learning to live in the wake of their child’s death prior to or shortly after birth. It is our mission to provide refuge for grieving families and help them break through barriers that stand in the way of hope.
Initially, we began as a foundation whose primary purpose was to give couples access to grief counseling.
90% of marriages that experience infant loss end in divorce. We wanted to give couples the tools they need to thrive through their healing process and strengthen their marriages.
We quickly recognized the need for others like us to find safety inside of a community that truly understands and grew into an organization that focuses on creating a culture of belonging and remembrance.
Walk With Me now provides hospitals with grief training, educational curriculum, and Cuddle Cot donations. Our hospital team meets with families in hospitals across the state, creating keepsakes and photos. Financially, we provide funds for funeral services as well as access to grief counselors who are trained and experienced in infant loss and trauma. We offer mentorship programs and community groups that foster connections with other grieving parents. We support the community around bereaved parents by providing resources and education so they can best support their loved ones.
What makes this volunteer experience meaningful to you?
Being invited into sacred spaces with families has been the most humbling part of this work. To be trusted with someone’s deepest pain in their darkest hour has been such an honor and has led to incredible friendships with wonderful humans I may never have known otherwise.
What was a memorable experience from volunteering with Walk With Me?
I have had so many incredible experiences and affirming moments, but something that always stands out is a dad thanking me for giving him permission to vocalize his grief, after years of shoving it beneath the surface and hiding his pain from the world.
Why do you enjoy volunteering?
Volunteering has helped me to reach what I believe is the deepest level of healing possible after this type of loss. Parents who lose a child will always feel the absence left behind and see the “what-ifs” for years and years (and years) to come. Walking this journey with others has been so fulfilling and has allowed me to discover the purpose behind my own pain by sitting with others in the midst of theirs.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
October 15th is the International Wave of Light – light a candle to honor your/a child and tag @walkwithmedotorg