A fun and safe place for grieving children.

Volunteers: "You can and will make a difference"


For the past five years, Darlene and Ron Patishnock have been actively involved as volunteers for Comfort Zone at New Jersey and Massachusetts camps. Most recently the couple traveled to The Today Show plaza in New York City for Children’s Grief Awareness Day and held signs that were seen by millions on TV. They even had an interview on Sirius XM about Comfort Zone.


As 2014 draws to a close, Darlene and Ron shared why they give their time to volunteer at camps and events year after year.  


Why do you volunteer for Comfort Zone?


I saw the difference in a friend (we previously bonded over similar losses in our families) once she came back from volunteering at camp. She was revitalized and insisted that I give it a try. I always felt grief was a journey, it changes over time, changes how you react to situations; it is always there. We can deal with it, but sometimes it rears its ugly head, and we can’t always control when or where it floods back into our reality.


Once I went to a volunteer training session and camp, and heard my words in so many others, I knew it was the place for me. I had to help, because I didn’t get that help when I needed it, and I felt I could make a difference. And I do make a difference. The Comfort Zone community of staff, volunteers, campers and camper families is nothing short of amazing and filled with the most caring, giving, selfless people you will ever meet. Comfort Zone Camp is my reality, and really how I feel the world the rest of the world should be.



Results. After the initial training, meeting other volunteers and staff, and being asked to help by my wife, I found a genuine bubble of reality and caring that I never thought or dreamed could exist. My wife said I would be good at this and I have to say it is good for me too.



What keeps you both coming back?

The volunteering experience gives as much back as it asks of us. The opportunity to make a difference to someone who is suffering loss fuels our humanitarian side, and we experience a direct and almost immediate reward.


For someone wondering if they should volunteer for Comfort Zone, what’s the No. 1 thing you would tell them?

You can and will make a difference by just being there to support these youngsters. And if you find yourself doing more than that, the rewards are exponential.


You can join Darlene and Ron as volunteers in 2015! Check out our calendar for upcoming training sessions in your area. 

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