Lifespan Respite
Technical Assistance Center

Volunteer and Faith-Based Respite Learning Collaborative

The ARCH Volunteer and Faith-based Respite Learning Collaborative (LC) was launched in October 2021. The purpose of the LC is to serve as a community of practice for the respite network in informal respite opportunities for family caregivers caring for someone of any age or condition.

Participants in the LC who have been engaged in supporting or providing volunteer or faith-based respite through their Lifespan Respite grants or state respite coalitions, or from the broader respite network, are invited to share their experiences, collective wisdom, challenges and successes with others who wish to develop or enhance such respite options in their states or communities. The Learning Collaborative provides a forum for peer learning and networking as well as opportunities to learn more about ARCH resources on volunteer and faith-based respite, and model volunteer and faith-based respite services from around the country. Outside experts in the field on a variety of topics identified by the group will also be invited to participate and contribute to the knowledge base of the LC.

Please contact Jill Kagan if you would like to join the Volunteer and Faith-based Learning Collaborative. The LC meets 4 times a year.

ARCH Volunteer and Faith-based Respite Resources

State Tools


February 9, 2023

ARCH Intro Slides and Agenda

Students as Respite Volunteers: A Creative Approach to Supporting Family Caregivers

Using students from undergraduate and graduate nursing, social work, and other health care professional academic programs as volunteer respite providers is a growing approach among Lifespan Respite Care Programs and others to support family caregivers and address the direct care worker shortage. ARCH recently released several podcasts focused on this topic in its series on Conversations on Caregiving: Exploring Respite Care Innovations as part of its Innovative and Exemplary Respite Services initiative. In in-depth interviews, innovators from several respite programs using students as respite providers shared their research, experience, and wisdom regarding these very successful efforts.

The following speakers will present during the Learning Collaborative on these topics:

1) Volunteer-based University Model for Respite Care

Kim Whitmore, Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at Marquette University, will share information about the Student Respite Program Toolkit currently being developed in partnership with the Respite Care Association of Wisconsin. This toolkit will provide comprehensive, step-by-step guidance to academic programs on how to establish partnerships with existing respite programs and develop their own respite programs that will provide students with unique experiential learning opportunities while also expanding respite care for family caregivers. The toolkit was informed by an environmental scan that included a review of research articles and other publications. A national survey was also conducted to help identify existing student respite programs and one-on-one interviews were conducted with program leads to help better understand how programs were developed, maintained, and evaluated.

PPT Presentation

2) The Buddy Break Program

The Idaho Family Caregiver Alliance (ICA) and the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) joined forces to create the Buddy Break program. This is a remote respite program where AHEC scholars serve as respite providers for families caring for anyone over the age of eighteen. The ICA through the Family Caregiver Navigator (FCN) initiative serves as a “matchmaker” for caregivers and scholars. Buddy Break provides a unique opportunity for students to learn about the caregiving experience and provides caregivers with a break. Join us to learn more about the ins and outs of this collaboration. Read more about National AHEC Program.

PPT Presentation


    • Katrina Hoff, Director, Idaho AHEC Program
    • Sheila Weaver, Program Manager, Family Caregiver Navigator, Idaho Caregiver Alliance
    • Sarah Toevs, Director, Center for the Study of Aging, Boise State University


November 10, 2022

Step-by-Step Guide to Mini grants for Volunteer and Faith-based Respite

This meeting focused on the mechanics of planning for and administering a mini grant program to build capacity of community and faith-based organizations to provide volunteer respite.

Members of the Lifespan Respite Network, Deana Prest, New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) and  Kathy Mayfield Smith with the South Carolina Respite Coalition (SCRC) presented and shared the administrative steps necessary to plan and implement a successful mini grant program and lessons learned.

Issues addressed: 1)  how to assess what is needed in the state; 2) how to write an RFP and what should be included; 3) how to decide on optimum funding levels; 3) setting grantee requirements, such as volunteer training, matching volunteers to families, data reporting, sustainability plans, etc.; 4) types of organizations best suited to implementing a mini grant and selection criteria; and 5) the amount and type of technical assistance that is necessary to keep the programs up and running and help them sustain once the grant funding has ended.


Shared Tools 

Samples from South Carolina’s Alzheimer’s Resources Coordinating Council (ARCC) mini grant program and modified versions used by South Carolina for the Breakroom mini-grants:

2022-23 Mini-grants

August 11, 2022

Caregiver Action Network staff presented an overview of the federally-funded Community Care Corps initiative, and shared recent outcomes from funded projects across the country.

  • Nichole Goble, Director of Community Initiatives, Caregiver Action Network
  • Derrick Goddard, Community Care Corps Director, Caregiver Action Network
PPT Slides

May 12, 2022

Members of the Collaborative shared best practices:

Elaine Whitford, Executive Director, The Center for Volunteer Caregiving, Cary, NC provided background and progress on NC Lifespan Respite Project’s Volunteer Respite Consortium.

Kathy Mayfield Smith, Board President and Co-Founder, South Carolina Respite Coalition, Columbia, SC presented an overview of their long history in engaging the faith community for respite, with tips about how to approach and involve faith community leaders and members. She will also be sharing an update on the Coalition’s initiative to establish Break Rooms in faith-communities through their Lifespan Respite grant.  Break Room How To Guide

PPT Slides


February 10, 2022

PPT Slides, New York State Caregiving and Respite Coalition Respite Revival, and the Respite Ministry and Respite Foundation for All, Montgomery, AL


October 12, 2021 - Launch of the Learning Collaborative

PPT Slides with Agenda


Lifespan Respite

Technical Assistance and Resource Center

ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center

(703) 256-2084 |

This project is supported, in part by grant number 90LT0001, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.


The ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center is a program of Families and Communities Rising |4220 NC Hwy 55, Suite 330, Durham, NC 27713 |



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