It is inevitable that each of us will experience profound challenges and loss during the course of our lifetime. At Brave Heart Volunteers, we recognize that without adequate support, care giving often becomes a 24-hour per day job - a job that often overwhelms every aspect of life by making it difficult to obtain or maintain employment and placing strains on family relationships. Brave Heart Volunteers provides a continuum of quality education and support services for families and individuals facing health challenges such as terminal or chronic illness, frailty, dementia, disabilities, hospitalization, or end of life.
Established in 2001, two local nurses and a group of community members sought to address gaps in the health care services in Sitka, Alaska, specifically in hospice and palliative care. Initial meetings brought together representatives of civic- and service-related organizations, health care providers, faith groups, and interested individuals. Shortly thereafter, they were incorporated as a tax exempt, non-profit community organization called Faith in Action. In 2004, the organization was renamed to Brave Heart Volunteers after a Tlingit naming ceremony where Yee gu.aa yáx x’wán which means “be of brave heart” was formerly bestowed on us. The name reflects the strong connection we hold with our care-receivers, organization and community.
Since Brave Heart Volunteers began providing services, we have believed that providing essential, quality services brings myriad rewards. Proof of the value of our services is found in the fact that over 80% of those we serve become deeply involved with our organization as financial donors, in-kind donors, volunteers or professional educators. Our organization has seen considerable growth with the aging population and we continue to raise funds through community events as well as financial support from local businesses and charitable organizations. Through generous donations, grant writing and hundreds of active volunteers, we can continue to provide our core services and programs that serve over 400 individuals and families quarterly, free of charge and on an on-going, consistent basis.