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Title:Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors seeks service members, Veterans to serve as mentors to grieving military children

Author:VAntage Point Contributor

Date:May 2022

Source:U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2022, Reprinted with permission

Volume:Volume 3 Issue 187

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a national organization providing compassionate care to those grieving the death of a military loved one, is looking for active duty, reserve, National Guard and Veteran community members to serve as supportive companions to children of America's fallen military heroes at the 28th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp, May 26 — 30 in Arlington, Virginia.

Surviving children from across the country, ages 5 — 18, will come together and connect with other children who have experienced similar losses — creating lasting friendships, learning coping skills and honoring their fallen service members. At TAPS, military mentor companionship for children grieving the death of a military family member is the foundation of a caring TAPS family and Good Grief Camp programming. Military mentors are needed to pair with these children and work in small groups facilitated by an experienced leader.

Volunteering as a military mentor has a tremendous impact on surviving children. The one-on-one time with a military mentor gives children and teens the companionship and support needed to connect with their peers and engage in activities. Individual pairing with military mentors also signals to each child that they are worthy of the time and attention of others and maintains their connection to the military community. Compassionate and caring companionship from military mentors builds resilience, develops leadership skills and improves the healing process through positive role modeling. Most importantly, it creates hope.

TAPS understands that many of our Nation's service members and Veterans are survivors, too, having experienced the traumatic loss of a battle buddy. While TAPS provides a safe and supportive place of healing for surviving families, it also offers a healthy, supportive environment for our military mentors, where service members and Veterans can learn to effectively express their grief and process emotions alongside their mentees as well as among their peers.

"We don't get to choose tragedy, but we do get to choose healing, and I am very proud to be healing with TAPS," said retired Air Force Master Sgt. and TAPS 2020 Military Mentor of the Year, Melissa Simpson.

Learn more about becoming a TAPS Military Mentor for a child grieving the loss of a military loved one at the 28th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp, or other events throughout the year, by visiting Additional questions can be directed to the TAPS Youth Programs Team at or 800.959.TAPS (8277).

The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on the part of VA. Verify information with the organization offering.

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