Tamara Bolthouse

We talk a lot about caring for our guests and how, with your support, we help them move from homeless to wholeness. But what about the people who serve them?

Our guests come to us in crisis, and we help them stabilize, and find the spiritual, mental, and emotional strength they need for transformation and a new beginning. But we’re equally committed to the well-being of our staff.

It’s important to us that they also have the same strengths they work so hard to help our guests develop. As we care for and invest in our staff, they experience a better quality of life and become better equipped to care for our guests.

One of the ways we’ve invested in the well-being of our staff is by providing a volunteer chaplain, available exclusively to them. Tamara Bolthouse is a licensed and ordained Senior Chaplain with the International Fellowship of Chaplains and has served the spiritual needs of our staff for several years. Tamara is also a Certified Advanced Grief Recovery Method Specialist, trained to help people identify and deal with unresolved grief and loss.

This summer, as part of completing a Master’s Degree in Grief and Bereavement Counseling from Regent University, Tamara used her internship and The Grief Recovery Method Workshop to facilitate more than two hundred hours of grief training for GRM staff. She helped them address the emotional impact of their own unresolved griefs and losses and learn how to respond when it happens to others.

“Most of us don’t understand how the emotional baggage from grief accumulates,” Tamara says. “When grief lingers, you become emotionally stuck or stunted. So, it is useful for those who serve others to have some help and also be trained to offer that same kind of help to the guests.”

Staff who completed the workshops agree, and not only feel stronger themselves, but much more empowered to help others.

As one staff member said following a recent crisis with a guest, “We knew exactly what to do and what not to do. We felt so prepared to deal with this heavy situation in a way we never would have been otherwise.”