May was graduation month for seven Midcoast residents as they completed the training required to work as hospice volunteers. While the 30-hour course is comprehensive, the aim is simple: to prepare anyone to walk into an end-of-life situation and be poised, present, and ready to help. These new volunteers have worked in retail and business, as contractors, counselors, yoga instructors, and massage therapists. They are sailors, singers, gardeners, and grandparents. They bring warm hearts to the work and are looking forward to their first assignments.

For those facing a terminal diagnosis, hospice care embraces the whole person and their family, providing social, emotional, spiritual, and physical support. While the bulk of professional hospice services in this area is provided through Kno-Wal-Lin Home Care and Hospice, Coastal Family Hospice works with KWL to provide volunteer assistance and bereavement support. Founded in 1979, it was one of the first hospice organizations in the state of Maine. For more information, call 593-9355.