Volunteer for our 2014 Gala & Auction

champage glasses with confettiVolunteer at our Celebrity Gala & Auction!

WHY: Help us raise funds for The Healing Center’s grief support programs
WHEN: Shifts available Friday, June 2oth through Sunday, June 22rd
HOW: For more info on volunteer shifts and to sign up – click HERE!

We’re partnering with the Detlef Schrempf Foundation &  Inspire Youth Project again this year to put on our FABULOUS annual Gala & Auction.  We need lots of volunteer help to make sure our auction is a HUGE success – can you give us a hand?

There are many different ways to volunteer – you can find out about and sign up for them HERE.  Lend us your energy and enthusiasm, and help us make sure grieving families in your community have the support they need when they need it.  

If you have any questions, or need help signing up for a volunteer shift (or two!), contact Development Coordinator Jen Power at jenp@healingcenterseattle.org or (206) 523-1206. If you’d like to learn more about the auction or buy tickets, you can do so here.

 Continue the healing, continue the inspiration – continue the Ripple of Giving.

Top 3 Reasons We Loved The 2014 May Day Walk

On May 4th 2014, The Healing Center celebrated it’s 6th Annual May Day Walk at Gas Works Park with over 60 participants and 25 volunteers. Here are our top 3 reasons why we loved the day and are excited to keep the May Day Walk tradition going for our Healing Center community. Be sure to check out the pictures below.

1. YOU – Nothing makes us happier than seeing our Healing Center friends and families come together. We believe so much benefit comes from meeting others that have shared the experience of walking through grief. While this year it was under more drops of rain than rays of sun, we are so grateful for all who joined us and those who couldn’t make it but supported their friends and family in other ways. You are our inspiration.

2. The chance to remember – Transitional periods can be difficult – even the transition between seasons. As we move swiftly into spring, we enjoyed the opportunity to do some reflection during the art activities during the Walk. We wrote a message to our loved one on a message flag. We considered what we’d say to them in a private message. We contemplated the meaning of short-blooming cherry blossoms during origami folding. We stood with everyone and felt the words of the poem, “We Remember Them”.

3. Support for our programs – With the combined donations from The May Day Walk and GiveBIG two days later, we received $63,053 from our generous supporters. This doesn’t even include the GiveBIG “stretch funds” that will be applied to our GiveBIG donations soon. These funds mean so much to The Healing Center and our community. They keep our doors open, buy pizza for our weekly children’s groups, make healing client retreats possible, and help to train our dedicated volunteers – all contributing to our overall mission of offering a safe, loving place that honors grief, helping you to move through it and heal. We thank those who fund-raised for us, our wonderful donors, and our $5,000 sponsors, Safe Crossings Foundation, Nintendo, and University District Kiwanis. THANK YOU!



GiveBIG + May Day Walk

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Here at The Healing Center, May brings two of our favorite events: the May Day Walk on May 4th and The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG on May 6th.

If you have not already donated to the May Day Walk (our spring fundraiser this Sunday, May 4th) we encourage you to make your donations through The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG on Tuesday, May 6th.

GiveBIG is The Seattle Foundation’s annual one-day giving event. All funds donated to The Healing Center through the Seattle Foundation’s website between midnight and midnight on May 6th will be stretched by The Seattle Foundation and will be counted towards our May Day Walk fundraising total. Learn more about GiveBIG here, and click here for instructions on how to donate on the Seattle Foundation website.

If you have any questions about GiveBIG or May Day Walk, call us at (206) 523-1206 – we’ll get you pointed in the right direction.

To everyone already participating in or supporting May Day Walk 2014: THANK YOU!

May Day Walk 2014 – Register & Donate Today!

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WHEN: Sunday, May 4th, 12:30 – 4PM
Sign in starts at 12:30pm
Walk starts at 1:00pm
Picnic and kids’s activities start at 2:00pm
WHERE: Gas Works Park
WHY: To raise money for The Healing Center’s grief support programs
HOW: Register here to join the 2014 May Day Walk and raise funds for The Healing Center,
click here to donate!

08_Silly Jane, Alexander & Mattie_closeupMay Day celebrates the coming of summer and new beginnings, and The Healing Center is excited to celebrate this holiday with our friends, families, and community. The May Day Walk is an event to raise funds to grow our grief support programs which serve widows, widowers, children, and young adults who have experienced the premature death of a spouse, parent, or sibling.

We hope you will join us for a fun-filled day! Please encourage your friends and family to join us as we raise funds to support our healing programs. Register or donate today to support The Healing Center!

If you need any help, or have any questions about the online registration or donation process, contact Jen Power, Development Coordinator, at jenp@healingcenterseattle.org or (206) 523-1206 x15.

Thank you to our May Day Walk Sponsors!

Amaryllis Level – $5,000

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"Call If You Need Anything"

To DoWhen a loved one dies, it can be difficult to ask for help from friends and family when you are feeling overwhelmed.  Even when the “call if you need anything” offers pour in from generous people who want to help, we tend to suffer alone.  Our “to do” list fills up with tasks that our loved one used to complete, or chores we just don’t find the energy for anymore.

Instead of letting those tasks pile up and become a bigger problem, we encourage you to reach out to your circle of people who have offered to help. Mobilizing the “call if you need anything” offers can not only help reduce the pressure of life but can open up communication with you and your friends and family about the grief process. Take a moment to read this story of how one young widow asked her friends for help: http://bit.ly/N6GgIu

The Healing Center's Four-Legged Friends


As we settle into the couches, chatting before children’s group starts, we hear the front door’s usual “beep beep beep”. But instead of the pads of little feet, in comes the rush of four legs. As the panting of doggie excitement comes closer, the children’s faces light up–it’s one of our therapy dogs!

At The Healing Center, we are lucky to have two therapy dogs who regularly attend our children’s groups. Glory, a Newfoundland, and her owner Diana Stoll attend our Healing Club 4-5 and Justina, a yellow lab, and her owner Ronit Amitai attend Healing Club 1-2-3 and Gigi’s.

Therapy dogs connect with adults and children in a way that humans cannot. Being in the presence of a therapy dog can bring back happy memories of pet ownership, can calm a person down through the act of petting the dog, and can be a non-intimidating companion to talk to.

We asked Diana to tell us a little about her experiences with Glory (pictured to the right). Whether it’s a quick hug or wanting to sit down and read a story to her, Diana feels like children are drawn to Glory and Glory helps put them at ease. “What they say to Glory might not have anything to do with grief or The Healing Center, but she helps them open up. And if we could bring that kind of joy to people, why wouldn’t we?”



“Allow nature to take its course. Grant the sufferers the dignity of their own process. Let them define meaning. Sit simply through moments of pain and uncomfortable darkness. Be practical, mundane, simple and direct”.

These words of wisdom come from a recent New York Times article, “The Art of Presence” by David Brooks.

As many of us who have experienced grief know, the impact of having someone to be present with you during tough times is immeasurable. However sometimes what grieving people receive is anything but presence: friends choosing to “give them space”, or on the other hand, friends trying to fix their sadness or make sense of it. It can be difficult to put words to what you really need. If this NY Times article speaks to you, consider sharing it with friends and family to help them understand.


Welcome Our New Executive Director, Cindy Burdell!


We are delighted to welcome Cindy Burdell into the Healing Center family. We hope that if you didn’t get a chance to meet her at the Holiday Potluck, you will be able to meet her in January. Rebecca Soukakos, our outgoing Executive Director, will continue her service with The Healing Center as a board member.

A little about Cindy:

A Seattle native, Cindy Burdell was educated at Mills College and Western Washington University where she earned a B.A. and an MEd., respectively.  After three years of teaching, she left the profession to open a bookstore in the University District in Seattle, which she ran for 8 years.

Cindy moved to Portland Oregon to manage the care of her younger brother, affected with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  She subsequently founded and directed the ALS Association of Oregon and SW Washington to help other people affected by ALS.  During her 8 years of leadership, the organization grew from a small operation with a $7000 budget and no staff to a full-fledged chapter with a $1.5M budget and 9 staff. In 2008, having accomplished everything she set out to do in Oregon, Cindy began the transition back home to live and work among family and old friends.

After a few years working at the King County Bar Association and Northshore Senior Center, she is thrilled to be able to contribute to such a worthy organization as The Healing Center.

"Nobody's Son"

This week The New Yorker featured an essay written by Mark Slouka, “Nobody’s Son”Print, a piece that looks deep into Slouka’s own grief in the wake of his father’s death.

Although we all will have a time in our lives that we grieve the death of a person dear to us, sometimes it takes a honest portrayal such as this to realize it is a commonality we all share.

One of our goals at The Healing Center is to bring adults and children together who have similar losses so we can support each other. However, as Slouka’s essay expresses, and as grievers know, “in the aftermath of loss, the ones you love will keep you whole, but the journey is yours alone. Whatever you do, whatever you feel, becomes the map.”

We hope you can keep this in mind as we transition into a new year. “Nobody’s Son” outlines one man’s grief story but we all have our own that are ever changing as we experience new things and gain new perspectives. To end with what Slouka believes his father would tell him if he could: “You don’t love me less by living more. Live! Live like you mean it.”

Click here to read “Nobody’s Son”.

January Update – Children's Groups

Jen McCormick Clinical Supervisor

Jen McCormick
Clinical Supervisor


Dear Healing Center Families,

For those of you I have yet to meet, my name is Jen McCormick and I am The Healing Center’s Clinical Supervisor.  I hope this letter finds you well. I know that this season is a time of change and emotion, and I hope that each of you is able to find some joy and ways to support yourselves.

I wanted to share with you a few changes in the children’s programs taking place in January at The Healing Center. After researching similar grief support organizations, such as The Dougy Center, we have decided that our children’s groups will be more beneficial if we change them from two hours to one and a half hours, and increase the frequency of the groups per month.

Starting in January, all children’s groups will run from 4-5:30pm. After testing this timeframe, our hope is to double the frequency of groups in the spring, so that children will meet every other week as opposed to once a month.  We hope this model will make groups more robust, easier to attend, and that our children will form deeper connections with one another.

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Jeanne pictured with Littles Group & volunteers
holding “the” sign

In addition, we have shifted to allowing our master level interns, externs, and volunteers to take a more active role in facilitating groups, with the hopes of fostering a supportive relationship between the children and more trained grief supporters at The Healing Center.  Our clinical staff of therapists, counselors and social workers, will be supportive in supervisory roles. Jeanne Lowman has taken on this role in most of the children’s groups (Michelle Massey for the SOS Group), and I will also be available to supervise and advise our volunteers, interns, and families.

Our overall goal is to support you and your family in the most sound and effective way possible, while continuing to nurture the unique community that has always been the centerpiece here at The Healing Center. My hope is that these small changes will allow us to continue on this path of service to all who walk through our doors.Please contact me or Jeanne, if you have any questions or concerns.  I may be reached by email at jenm@healingcenterseattle.org and Jeanne may be reached by calling The Healing Center, (206) 523-1206 or jeannel@healingcenterseattle.org.  Thank you very much, and take care.


Jen McCormick, LICSW

Clinical Supervisor