Within Angel Families, Alicia Thomas has dedicated the last 16 months of her life to fostering a supportive community for those who have experienced the profound loss of a child. In her average of 15 hours per week, Alicia has touched the lives of 80 families, offering solace and connection during their darkest moments.

Alicia’s journey into volunteering with Angel Families is deeply rooted in personal tragedy. In 2021, her 16-year-old son passed away, thrusting her into a whirlwind of isolation and grief. It was this harrowing experience that propelled her to establish Angel Families, recognising the lack of support services for bereaved parents in regional Queensland. Alicia shares, “Something had to be done. Angel Families was established as a local community support group to support mothers, fathers, siblings, and grandparents through the harrowing experience of child loss, a safe environment that can bring families together to lean on each other.”

One memorable moment during a craft therapy session stands out for Alicia. Witnessing Angel Families members connect on a profound level, sharing stories, photos, and expressing their emotions, affirmed the impact of the support group. She reflects, “It was doing exactly what I had created it for, bringing families of child loss together.” Alicia emphasises that establishing Angel Families has not only changed her life but allowed her to grow around her grief, knowing that her son’s legacy is now helping others.

A lasting impression came from the collective strength of the bereaved families Alicia encountered. She highlights the heartwarming experience of facilitating a community where individuals connect, listen, cry, laugh, and support each other. Her advice for potential volunteers echoes the personal enrichment found in creating meaningful relationships and making a small difference in the lives of others.

Describing her volunteer journey in one word or phrase, Alicia chooses “Emotional.” While navigating the emotions tied to her own grief, she prioritises the well-being of others within the Angel Families community. Alicia’s dedication is a testament to the transformative power of volunteering, offering solace and understanding to those who have walked a similar path.