Photo: Brenda Alvarez, May 2018
One of my favorite national parks is Joshua Tree National Park in California. There is just something about the desert and the stillness that I find restorative. Joshua trees are fast growers for a desert climate and while it is top-heavy, it has an extensive and deep root system, expanding down and out to 36 feet. It can survive for hundreds or even thousands of years.
The Healing Center just turned 18 and we’ve been in our little alley house for 13 years. Like the Joshua trees, the
Healing Center has deep roots in the grief community and we are gearing up for what will be phenomenal 2018-2019 for us to thrive and grow.
Almost a year ago, The Healing Center Board of Directors made several leadership changes and put in an all-out effort to save The Healing Center. I’m happy to report The Healing Center is well on its way to many more years of helping those find healing with their grief. We would not be here today without the tremendous support of you: our clients, donors, friends, family and broader community. I want to highlight what has been going on the past few months and what you can expect in the fall.
- The Community of Hope Luncheon was our most successful luncheon event to date. We netted about $70,000. I want to thank our donors and our speakers; Travis Mayfield, Kath McCormack, Tom Hall and all our Healing Center storytellers. It was the most powerful program I have experienced in recent years. We’d love for you all to join us at our fall event, Oktoberfest on September 28th at Block 41. An official save the date will be sent this month.
- We also participated in GiveBig on May 9th, raising almost $20,000. Thank you to everyone who donated during GiveBig this year.
- On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Scott Rutledge for his 9 years of service as one of our therapists. Scott has decided to move on and we are going to miss him. Scott’s last day was May 31st.
- The Healing Center is currently seeking a Clinical Director who will be the clinical leader for all our programs and therapists. This is a key position we have had vacant for almost a year. We have several fantastic candidates that are currently going through our interview process. If you know of anyone, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- I am excited to welcome four new board members and we can’t wait for you all to meet them! They just finished board orientation and are attending their first board meeting this month. Part of our continued success requires that we add new members and perspectives around grief to our community. We plan to add another small cohort of board members in the Fall.
- The Healing Center will not be holding a summer camp for kids this year, but we will offer our children groups once a month. Click here to view our summer children group schedule. Our full schedule of children programming will return in October.
- This summer the Board and our Advisory Committee will be spending time to plan and ensure the future sustainability of The Healing Center. You will receive a full report on our plans in the September newsletter. Part of our planning will involve reviewing your feedback from the client survey we launched in early June. This is the first survey we’ve done in a long time (over 3 years).
Interim Board President
Welcome our New Board Members
Alison Howard is an assistant general counsel at Microsoft and specializes in privacy law. Alison’s husband, Clint Chase, died on November 25, 2015, while they were mountain-climbing in Ecuador. She is a client of the Healing Center and grateful for the early group and transition group for invaluable help with her grief.
Amy Gutmann is an Executive Vice President at Edelman, and is an accomplished communications marketing professional with more than 25 years of experience in consumer and enterprise technology, corporate and crisis communications, brand and positioning, product PR, digital marketing and social media, corporate social responsibility, television production and promotions. Amy’s husband of 29 years, Eric Friedman, passed away October, 2015 suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack in his sleep at the age of 55. Amy was a participant in the Early Group at the Healing Center.
Julie Arguez is a clinical social worker in private practice working with children, teens and adults in the Seattle area with a specialty in grief and loss. She is an adjunct faculty member at the school of Social Work at the University of Washington and has a strong commitment to robust grief support services for the Seattle community.
Maygan Wurzer is the Founder & Director of All That Dance, a Seattle dance studio which has grown from a small business to the largest dance school in the state of Washington since its opening 23 years ago. All That Dance offers comprehensive, body positive dance education in many different dance genres for students ages two years old through adult. Building on her experience as a public school educator, Maygan has helped develop curriculum for the many different styles of dance offered at All That Dance and has grown her staff to include over 20 of the city’s best dance educators.
Maygan’s proudest accomplishments are two amazing teenage boys. She is a former client at the Healing Center having attended Early Group, Transitions, and Perspectives after her husband died in 2012.
After almost 9 years with The Healing Center, Scott Rutledge, one of our therapists, left The Healing Center at the end of May. Scott has helped hundreds of individuals through the some of the most difficult times in their lives and we are grateful for all that he has done for us over the years. We wish him the best of luck on his future endeavors!
Client Spotlight: Katherine Buhl
I began attending the Young Adult Group following the suicide of my twenty-two-year-old brother in 2013. I was an eighteen-year-old freshman attending Seattle University at the time. A fourth-year student suggested I attend the Young Adult Group at The Healing Center and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Joining the Healing Center community connected me with people who could understand my grief and were going through similar struggles. Prior to joining The Healing Center community, I felt very alone in my grief. One notable message I received in every group, one that I continue to remind myself of, is the importance of practicing self-care.
It’s been a little over five years since I first walked into the Healing Center. I am currently a post baccalaureate student attending Washington State University, pursuing my dream of becoming a physician. It will be a long journey, but I know with hard work, persistence, and the continued practice of self-care, I will reach my goal.
Volunteer Spotlight: Diana Stoll
How did you first hear about The Healing Center and how did you get involved in volunteering?
My volunteering is a very personal and private thing for me, so it’s difficult for me to answer this.
In May 2007, my brother David died by suicide. I was living in California at the time, and I found a local grief support group, which was the most helpful thing to me in processing my grief. I knew that when I felt ready and strong enough, that I wanted to help others in the way that this group helped me.
My husband and I moved to the Seattle area in 2012. I was ready to “give back,” and so I searched and found The Healing Center.
I volunteer because it is my way of expressing gratitude for the help and support I received when I needed it. I also see it as a part of my brother’s legacy: every person I meet at the Healing Center is someone I know because of him. If I am able to help someone in his or her grief, even in the slightest way, that good energy comes from David. It’s my way of keeping him a very real and active part of my life.
How long have you volunteered with The Healing Center?
I believe I started volunteering at The Healing Center in late 2012 or early 2013.
What kind of volunteer work have you done for The Healing Center?
For a while, I helped out in the office one afternoon each week. My Newfoundland, Glory, and I were a Therapy Dog team before she “retired,” and we visited with the kids’ group, Healing Club 4-5-6. Currently, I’m a co-facilitator for the Young Adult Group.
Is there any additional information you would like to share? Any interesting hobbies or facts?
I am a full-time dog mom! My two dogs, Shaftoe and Glory, are elderly now and require a great deal of my time and attention, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My husband and my dogs are my favorite creatures in this world, and our life together here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest gives me great joy.
Community of Hope Luncheon
On May 3rd The Healing Center held our 2018 Community of Hope Luncheon. This was our most successful luncheon to date, raising around $70,000. Our event was hosted by Travis Mayfield of Q13 Fox News. The program included an introduction by our founder, Kath McCormack, a keynote presentation from Tom Hall and a chance for some of our current and former group participants to share their story with our guests. Thank you to all of our guests, donors and volunteers who helped to make this event a success.