What is VOA|ReST 4 First Responders?
VOA|ReST 4 First Responders are trusted small group support sessions designed to help First Responders process feelings of moral distress while reclaiming strength and remaining committed to their profession.
How much does a VOA|ReST 4 First Responders session cost?
Nothing. Thanks to support from HCA Healthcare Foundation and Humana Foundation, and in alignment with the mission of Volunteers of America, VOA|ReST4FirstResponders is free to all First Responders in the United States.
How is this different from therapy?
VOA|ReST 4 First Responders is an opportunity for participants to connect with other first responders in a non-therapeutic setting. Therapy, while a valuable resource, generally requires some sort of diagnosis and creates a one to one, and often asymmetrical, relationship between those involved. VOA|ReST 4 First Responders can be a great compliment to traditional therapy or 1:1 support, however should not be viewed as a replacement for those options. The VOA|ReST 4 First Responders format is a group model and open to all first responders. It offers each participant opportunities to gain and build resilience while practicing deep listening and mindfulness alongside facilitators who are peers. Participants are welcome to join as often as they prefer because groups are not dependent upon having the same people attend each time.
What is the difference between VOA|ReST 4 First Responders and programs offered by other First Responder organizations?
Is this program research based?
Volunteers of America and its Shay Moral Injury Center, under the direction of Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock, have studied moral distress and resilience since 2017. Dr. Brock is a leading national expert on moral distress and injury. She is co-author of Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War, Beacon Press, 2012, and Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering and the Search for What Saves Us, Beacon Press, 2001. VOA|ReST uses skills and strategies developed in VOA’s evidence-based program for military veterans called Resilience Strength Training™ (RST). Published in 2020, independent research showed that RST significantly improved participants’ reported post-traumatic growth, perceived meaning in life, propensity to trust, dispositional optimism, positive attitudes toward themselves, personal self-esteem, and sleep quality, while decreasing their dependence on both alcohol and sleep medications. Based on post-meeting surveys, 82% of VOA|ReST participants report feeling significantly calmer and more peaceful after a meeting.
How do you protect confidentiality?
Is this program local or national?
Where do sessions occur and how often do they happen?
How can I join a session?
How do I become a meeting facilitator?
Remote training takes approximately 10 hours and includes an overview of the technology, instruction on the peer group facilitation model, practice facilitation with a trainer, and co-facilitation of at least two actual VOA|ReST 4 First Responder group meetings. Once training is complete, volunteers should be available to Facilitate at least two meetings per month.