Biography Volunteer

A Word Before I Go

‘I feel doing my biography, has really helped with my battle with cancer.  Just talking to you all has helped me in my mental attitude, which is just as important to me as is the medical side of the treatment.’

‘I have been distributing email copies to friends and relatives and have been so inspired, thrilled, educated and encouraged to continue on.  My biography volunteer encouraged me to write my life story.  I had decided not to because I thought no one would believe it, and I thought I had better things to do.  However, having done it, I am delighted and continue to be delighted in the outcome.’

EPC is very proud of its award-winning biography program.

Our biography volunteers work one on one with our clients allowing them to tell their story.  The process of storytelling enables messages, philosophies, beliefs, memories and culture to pass from one person to the next.  Many clients say they feel much better after a session, reporting a reduction in anxiety, depression, pain and breathlessness and an increase in self esteem. Biography recording takes place over 6 – 10 visits of one hour in duration.

We also work to create stories in a format that children will understand and appreciate.

If working with a volunteer is too difficult, clients can request a biography journal to use in their own time.  If each question is answered a beautiful guided story will emerge. If you enjoy listening and typing, have access to a computer and the internet, have medium level word processing skills and are passionate about assisting someone have that ‘word before I go’ experience then this could be the role for you.


 Biography Volunteer Requirements

All trainee Volunteer Biographers need to have at least:

  • Intermediate to advanced touch-typing
  • Intermediate MS Word
  • Must be able to insert and manipulate photos
  • Know how to cut and paste and format paragraphs etc.

There is a lot of transcribing and editing work involved on a weekly basis while helping a client write their story.

While working with a client, biographers will:

  • Visit their client for up to one hour per week; AND
  • Spend time typing and editing the story, prior to the following week's visit
Biography work in community palliative care involves deadlines and can take a lot of work. This means that unless you have the necessary computer skills, this role can be very stressful. We will not place volunteers in this role unless we feel they are able to cope with the typing, editing and publishing required, as we only briefly cover these topics during training. 
If you are interested in a client-visiting role with EPC, but don't think you have the computer skills we mention above, please consider applying to train as a Community volunteer. This role does not involve additional work outside of visits, but does offer conversation and the opportunity to spend time with and support someone at the end of their life.