Families for Safe Streets Peer Support

Families members at a rally

Current Services

It is important to get the necessary support after a loss or injury. It can be unimaginably difficult. No one should endure this alone. FSS is unique because we have experienced the same trauma and loss. Although family members and friends are invaluable, they are experiencing their own sense of shock, grief, and concern. Sometimes, they are not always able to provide the most objective, understanding support. 

The aftermath of losing a loved one or being seriously injured, for many people, brings a sense of confusion, depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. It is an assault on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual sense of self that few people are prepared for. Dealing with the resulting heartbreak and grief is a full-time, exhausting job that often takes place at the same time practical and legal issues demand attention.

There is no substitute for connecting with someone who has been through a similar trauma - a person who has a singular depth of understanding and respect for the experience. FSS support services can help you find strength and resilience through understanding and support.

While FSS support services cannot magically take away the unbearable pain, it will assuage feelings of isolation and the sense that no one understands what you're going through. These services work to inspire hope and support for individuals to take control of their own grief journey and recovery. There is power and comfort in shared grief.

We are here for you. 

Contact us at 844-FSS-PEER or info@familiesforsafestreets.org for support group meeting details or to be connected with a peer support volunteer.


Support Groups

In-Person Group

The FSS Support Group offers an opportunity for individuals who have lost a loved one, and those impacted by traumatic traffic violence, to meet in a structured, supportive peer environment. FSS member facilitators lead discussion and guest speakers periodically contribute as well. This group is designed to offer support and guidance through one of the most difficult events we can ever face. We strive to help participants live with the pain and re-experience joy after loss and trauma. 

The group in person group meets the second Wednesday of every month in lower Manhattan. Participants may join at any time. 

Telephone Group

Phone support sessions are offered quarterly for individuals who are unable to travel.


Peer Mentoring

FSS Peer Mentoring provides bereaved family members, or those seriously injured, with a connection to a volunteer peer support mentor.  Our FSS mentors are all individuals who have been through a similar experience and are dedicated to helping others survive this life-altering tragedy.

The desire to talk to someone who understands may arise immediately after the tragedy, or years later.  Peer mentors are available to listen, provide support, and share the wisdom they have gained through their own tragedies.  They are not acting as therapists, counselors, or legal experts.  However, they can listen, share what they have learned to survive, and provide referrals or resources when necessary.

After requesting a peer support mentor, the support services coordinator will contact you for more information.  Following this initial call, the volunteer mentor will contact you by phone or email.

Depending on the mutual agreement between you and your volunteer mentor, the frequency and duration of the peer-connection is flexible.  Typically, contact is weekly by phone for the first month with an occasional in-person meeting should that be practical and useful, and continues for 3-6 months with a phone call every other week.  Phone calls can last up to an hour.  You get to choose how often you wish to speak with your mentor, and you can choose to end participation at any time. All discussions are completely confidential.

It is important that each person’s time, energy, and boundaries be respected at all times. Volunteers are not professional counselors and cannot be someone’s sole support system.


Online Help

FSS has private Facebook pages that brings together individuals with similar experiences.

The private groups are online Facebook support groups. Anyone can find the group in a search and see who is in it, but only members of the group can see posts.

You just need to send a Facebook request to join.


Logistical Assistance

The practical and legal issues following a crash can be overwhelming. We are not attorneys, but we are here and can share the knowledge we have gained and refer you as needed. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or need assistance.


Previous Guest Speakers at FSS Support Groups

"Grief: What's Activism Got to Do With It?" - Recording of Mary Beth Kelly: widow, psychotherapist, and longtime street safety advocate (April 2, 2017).

 

Finding Purpose & Joy After Loss - Jackie Rowe-Adams - co-founder of Harlem Mothers Save, a group fighting gun violence and supporting victims, speaks from the heart when she tells people that she understands their pain but promises that there can be purpose and joy after loss. Rowe-Adams lost two of her sons to horrible acts of gun violence. Her 17-year-old son was killed in 1981, when two men murdered him for supposedly staring them down. A second 28-year-old son was murdered in 1998 in Baltimore, when a 13-year-old robbed him outside of his apartment.
 

Guilt: Why We Have It & What You Can Do About It - Erik Kolbell - writer, psychotherapist and ordained minister - will share why guilt is so prevalent after losing a loved one or suffering a traumatic injury and how to address it (May 10, 2017).

Transform Grief & Trauma through Meaning and Choice - Wendy Lichtenthal - Loss and adversity commonly challenge an individual’s sense of purpose and identity. It can be hard to find meaning after tragedy. Wendy Lichtenthal, Director of the Bereavement Clinic at Memorial Kettering Cancer, shares strategies from hr Meaning-Centered Grief Therapy (MCGT) that directly addresses these issues, highlighting the choices individuals have in how they face their pain, how they honor their lost loved ones/trauma, the story they create, and how they live their lives (October 11, 2017).

"Informational Session with an Attorney" - Audio recording of Steve Vacarro - bike & pedestrian crash victim lawyer and advocate.