9/30/06 Project Jason Family Member Chats
We would attempt to try to start one locally, but because of privacy laws, I generally do not know the contact information for local family members, unless they find us on the internet or hear about us via word of mouth. Since I am unable to get in touch with these families, we cannot offer a support group.
Family members of missing children can be assigned an experienced volunteer to call them on the phone through the wonderful organization, TEAM Hope, for which I am also a volunteer. www.teamhope.org Team Hope is a division of NCMEC.
Family members of missing adults can utilize the Hope2Support forum sponsored by the National Center for Missing Adults at www.theyaremissed.org. The forum can be found at http://www.hope2support.com/ Registration and validation of the missing person case is required.
These two groups are excellent ways for families of missing persons to get support from persons who truly understand what they are going through in this situation. However, in both cases, real time, conversational interaction with other family members is lacking. To try to address this need, Project Jason began a bi-monthly text chat on the internet. We started with a small core group of chatters, and add a few more each time. Even though we haven’t met that many times, I see the beginnings of friendships among those who share this sad, but common bond.
We’re also striving to increase the value of these chats, and have begun to pursue having special guests who are experts in different areas of our cause. These guests will be on hand to answer questions from family members in relation to their particular field of expertise. We’ll be in contact with professionals in the areas of Law Enforcement, media, DNA, heads of other organizations, grief and trauma, search teams, and many more. There will be a guest for one of the two chats per month, with the other chat reserved for interaction with the family members of missing persons.
We will post the transcripts of the chats with guests so that persons who are unable to attend can have this valuable information provided made available to them. If you are a family member of a missing person and are interested in coming to this online chat, please let us know, and we will include you in the email list that will contain the details of the chat and where to go on the Internet. Generally, our chats are held on Tuesdays at 7:30pm CST.
Let me know if you would like to be on the email list for chat events by writing to kelly.jolkowski(at sign)projectjason.org. Please use Family Member Chat in the subject line of your email.
We arranged for a special guest for the last Project Jason Family Member Chat. His name is Duane Bowers, and he is a nationally known and respected grief and trauma counselor. He also specializes in the type of loss faced by families of the missing, and is one of only two known counselors who have in depth case knowledge of our special needs. We are privileged to have him come and join us, because, as you might imagine, he has a very full schedule. And in good news, Duane has agreed to come back and join us periodically.
On the post below this one, you can read the transcript from that chat.
Here is Duane’s bio:
Duane T. Bowers, LPC is a grief therapist and educator in private practice, and author of Guiding Your Family Through Loss and Grief. As a therapist Duane’s specialty is working with survivors of traumatic death and suicide, which includes assisting families who must identify loved ones at the DC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, through the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing. He also provides support to families of abducted, missing, exploited and murdered children through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
In addition, Duane serves as a training consultant to NCMEC, and is deployed by them to provide crisis intervention at Amber Alert sites with Team Adam. He also serves as a consultant and trainer for Team HOPE, a telephone support line for parents of missing children, and has provided services to AMECO (Association of Missing and Exploited Children Organizations).
As an educator, Duane teaches seminars nationally, internationally and regionally on dying, death and grief, as well as trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and traumatic loss. He has served as an Adjunct Professor of Counseling at Trinity College in Washington DC, and has been an invited guest lecturer for graduate and undergraduate classes at the University of Maryland, Howard University, University of the District of Columbia, Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University and Gallaudet University.
Duane is responsible for the clinical supervision and training of staff and volunteers for a variety of organizations that deal with trauma and loss, and serves as an on-call hospice bereavement counselor. He served as the Director of Training and Education at the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing in Washington DC, and was the Senior Director of Emergency and International Services for the National Capital Chapter of the American Red Cross. Duane spent three months during the summer of 1999 in Macedonia/ Kosovo/Albania supervising family reunification work in camps with war refugees.
In September 2001, Duane responded to the Pentagon immediately following the terrorist attack on September 11th, providing support to rescue and recovery workers. He continues to volunteer with the Red Cross as a Disaster Mental Health Technician, and with the Capital Area Crisis Response Team as a therapist, educator, and as a member of the Board of Directors.