When I started at National Students of AMF three months ago, I looked forward to connecting with our students. What were they experiencing? How was AMF impacting their lives? How could we do more to support them? I knew the students would inspire me. And I was right. Our students are dedicated, courageous, and thoughtful, amidst some of life’s most challenging circumstances.
 
They are also increasing in number. After our coverage in CNN and the Chronicle of Higher Education, we’ve received more than thirty inquiries from students, faculty, and staff, about starting new AMF chapters. I’ve had the privilege of connecting with these individuals, hearing their stories, and finding ways for us to work together.
 
Thanks to our dedicated team of volunteers, including chapter director of development Kiri Thompson, we currently have 62 chapters active on colleges nationwide! And we’ve been working hard to support them through these main efforts:
 
1.) Chapter Tool Kit: We’re upgrading our online chapter resources for students, including new marketing materials, an AMF awareness project (with AMF awareness wristbands, email kiri@studentsofamf.org if you’d like some!), and more content-rich grief support resources.
 
2.) Chapter Evaluation: We’re in the midst of developing an evaluation of our program to identify best practices and student outcomes, in partnership with our Board of Mental Health Professionals and Wharton Community Consultants.
 
3.) National Webinars: We’re planning a webinar series to begin in 2013 to support students across the country who may not have access or be ready to start an AMF chapter on their campus, but still need support.
 
4.) The Alumni Network: We’ll launch our alumni network in 2013 to continue connecting and supporting our students and alumni.
 
5.) AMF Resources: We’re in the process of expanding our funding base, so that we can build the programmatic infrastructure to support our rapid growth.
 
6.) AMF Partnerships: We’re forming key partnerships with other bereavement groups, such as the National Alliance for Grieving Children, to expand our reach.
 
7.) VOICES Campaign: In 2013, we’ll launch a national awareness and fundraising campaign to:
1.) Educate our country on the needs of grieving college students (an average of 1 in 3 loses a loved one each year);
2.) Raise awareness for AMF so that students who need support can find it;
3.) Raise funds to support AMF’s national expansion.
 
As part of VOICES, we’ll be collecting testimonials from our supporters. Please email kiri@studentsofamf.org if you are interested in sharing your story.
 
National Students of AMF is a strong network of students and supporters. I’ve been touched by those who are involved in our cause, many of whom volunteer tirelessly on a regular basis, and I’m looking forward to the years ahead. Please reach out to me at any time with questions and ideas (919-803-6728 or kiri@studentsofamf.org). None of our operations or future plans would be possible without you.