Event planning volunteer opportunities

Community volunteer opportunities

While community volunteer roles are welcome to anyone, these opportunities may be of particular interest to individuals who do not have a personal lived experience of their own loss and who want to support PAIL Network’s important work for bereaved families.

These opportunities are organized into three categories:

  • Awareness and Outreach
  • Commemorative Events
  • Administration and Specialized Skills

Community volunteers are required to complete a volunteer application and interview, as well as finish PAIL Network’s online general orientation. All volunteers who offer in-person event support to bereaved families will also need to complete a Vulnerable Sector Police Screen.

Awareness and outreach

PAIL Network is very thankful for the community volunteers who help with Awareness and Outreach. This is an opportunity for volunteers to let their community know more about PAIL Network and the support that we offer to bereaved families. Participating in awareness and outreach might look like:

  • Taking PAIL Network brochures, posters and other material provided by PAIL Network to doctor’s office, midwifery clinics, libraries, Ontario Early Year’s Centres, and other publicly funded organizations
  • Being present at a local community health fair as a volunteer representative of PAIL Network
  • Planning and hosting PAIL Network awareness events such as those listed below

All Community Volunteers who are interested in supporting PAIL Network’s Awareness and Outreach goals are required to complete a volunteer application and interview, as well as finish PAIL Network’s online general orientation. All volunteers who offer in-person event support to bereaved families will also need to complete a Vulnerable Sector Police Screen.

» Complete your application and join our team of community volunteers!

Specific opportunities include:

October 15th: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day and Bill 141

October 15 is internationally recognized for Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness. In 2015, as a result of the passage of Bill 141, October 15 was officially proclaimed Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in the Province of Ontario.

PAIL Network has organized many events over the years to honour Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. These events would not be possible without the support of our dedicated volunteers who help with many aspects of their success including:

  • Promotion, outreach, and awareness of the events
  • Using their creative and graphic skills to create invitations and promotional material
  • Being present for the events and helping implement registration and event activities
  • With the support of PAIL Network, hosting events in communities across the province

Wave of Light

On October 15 the world embraces an International Wave of Light. Candles are lit at 7 p.m. to honour the short lives of babies lost in every country.  Small gatherings are held in communities across the province to remember and honour those lives lost, together.

Each year, PAIL Network hosts a Wave of Light event at the base of the CN Tower, which is illuminated pink, purple and blue in honour of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. Volunteers across the province who may wish to organize and host a PAIL Network event, or participate in one near their community, are required to complete a volunteer application.

Walk to remember

Walk to remember events take place across Ontario on or around October 15, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Historically, volunteers have organized a walk each year in Toronto at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Families gather at the visitation funeral centre, and walk together to the children’s garden where a short program of speakers and performers are offered.

Mary Kerr founded the children’s garden at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in memory of her baby to provide place for parents to gather and remember their babies, regardless of the circumstances of their loss.

Volunteers across the province who may wish to organize and host a PAIL Network Walk to Remember event are required to complete a volunteer application.

Pinwheels for PAIL

Since we started the first Pinwheels for PAIL campaign in 2015, over 2000 pinwheels across the globe are blowing wishes and memories of our babies in the wind.

This initiative was developed to enhance awareness of pregnancy and infant loss to smaller communities across Ontario. Individuals and groups can order complimentary pinwheels from PAIL and display them in prominent locations on October 15th. The pinwheels serve as a symbol of collective solidarity across the province.

The role of the volunteer for Pinwheels for PAIL is to share the promotional material using social media channels so that individual families may order for themselves. Peer Support Group Facilitators are welcome to order for their group. If you are interested in ordering pinwheels for your community, please contact PAIL Network for support around how you can support families while maintaining safe and healthy professional boundaries.

Commemorative events

The intention of commemorative events is to provide a time to reflect, honour and speak openly about pregnancy and infant loss. For some families, it is the only place where they feel safe to speak their baby’s name out loud. It is a place to feel validated in their grief, and to be amongst others who share their pain. It can be comforting to be surrounded by a community of other bereaved families and supporters.

PAIL Network hosts many commemorative events for families to honour the short life of their baby(s). These events would not be possible without the support of our dedicated volunteers who help with many aspects of their success including:

  • Promotion, outreach, and awareness of the events
  • Using their creative and graphic skills to create invitations and promotional material
  • Being present for the events and helping implement registration and event activities
  • With the support of PAIL Network, hosting events in communities across the province

Community volunteers who are interested in supporting commemorative events are required to complete a volunteer application and interview, as well as finish PAIL Network’s online general orientation. All volunteers who offer in-person event support to bereaved families will also need to complete a Vulnerable Sector Police Screen.

» Complete your application and join our team of community volunteers!

Specific opportunities include:

Memorial Butterfly Release and Family Picnic

Butterflies are a common symbol of infant loss, as they represent metamorphosis, transformation, and the cycle of life and death. PAIL Network hosts two Butterfly Release and Family Picnics each year. These events are very important to bereaved families and have become something that many people look forward to attending every year. The first takes place in early June in the Greater Toronto Area and the second, in September, is hosted in different communities across the province. We anticipate approximately 500 participants for each event.

Bereaved parents, extended family and friends are invited to gather together to remember their babies. There is a family style picnic with games and activities for all ages, including the purchase and release of monarch butterflies.

There are many opportunities for volunteer involvement at these picnic events.

Holiday candle lighting ceremony

The holidays can be a hard time for many bereaved people, particularly people remembering the short life of a baby or loss of a pregnancy. For many, the grief is not limited to the life lost, but also the loss of hopes and dreams they had for their child. Holiday candle-lighting events take place in late November and early December across Ontario. The program is organized by volunteers, and usually includes readings, songs and/or other memorial commemorations. Bereaved families have an opportunity to light a candle in memory and honour of their baby, and join with others who share in their grief.

PAIL Network hosts a Candle Light Memorial event each year at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Our volunteers support the event in many ways, including helping implement a creative memorial keepsake that families are encouraged to take home with them.

Do you have an idea?

Many people have their own unique and creative ideas for commemorating and supporting the pregnancy and infant loss community. PAIL Network supports individuals and groups in the planning and execution of their independent events.

Examples of successful initiatives include:

  • Educational and awareness events
  • Memory making art events
  • Tournaments
  • Candlelight memorials
  • Walks in the Park
  • Community Butterfly Releases
Administration and specialized skills

PAIL Network is thankful for volunteers who want to support the administrative work that is often done behind the scenes. These individuals may live near our office located in Whitby and wish to help with admin tasks such as organizing files, and packaging mail that is sent out to communities across the province.

Some volunteers would like to share their digital skills, such as graphic design, and support our work remotely from their home office.

PAIL Network is always open to hearing from volunteers about their interest in supporting the important work that we do. We would love to hear your ideas of how you feel our work and the families we support would benefit from your specialized skills.

» Complete your application and join our team of community volunteers!