For the past 4 years, the Arizona Burn Foundation has assisted in training numerous survivors as S.O.A.R. peer supporters, to visit the hospital to connect with new burn survivors and their families. S.O.A.R. stands for Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery®, and is a reputable burn support program offered through the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. Our SOAR team of survivors assist in sharing their stories, providing insights on burn injuries and healing, and establishing a greater feeling of community and understanding. The purpose of the S.O.A.R. program is to make sure no one recovers from a burn injury alone.

When the COVID 19 pandemic closed hospital doors to visitors in March, our SOAR peer support team was required to shift in its programming delivery, to ensure its purpose still held true.  Our SOAR peer support team has been unable to visit burn survivors and families in person since then….but here is what they have been able to do:

  • Utilize ZOOM and FaceTime platforms to provide emotional reassurance and answer questions with survivors during lonely hospital and rehabilitation stays
  • Send letters with inclusions of helpful support lists and articles to new survivors, using ABF staff as an intermediary to send
  • Make phone calls to burn survivors and families in their first year of healing, to check in on their coping support needs and resource support needs
  • Share and record their stories and ideas for use in a future resource library for other burn survivor support needs
  • Involvement in peer support group meetings – and promotion of – to help new survivors navigate healing support needs.
  • Collaborate in a new quarterly SOAR peer supporter meetings to see how to build and grow supports virtually and remotely for future weeks and months of pandemic and distancing need

Truly, our SOAR peer support team has learned in the face of change how to pivot, transform, catapult to meaningful supports for our burn community. ABF is proud to be a part of such full circle healing and resilience amidst challenges.