This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Carla Stillwagon, Kiersten Gallagher and Erin Price, LICSW, OSW-C

The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times - Cancer Book Club

Welcome to “Read with Smith Center,” a community of book lovers diving in to current and relevant book material.

For our February and March sessions, we will be reading The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams.

Read the description from



We will discuss the book in two parts on February 1st, 2022 and March 1st, 2022. Register to receive the break-down of pages to have prepared for each session. Please join us for a lively discussion, no matter how much or little of the book you have read.

Get “The Book of Hope” here:

Read with Smith Center will meet Monthly on the 1st Tuesday from 12:00-1:00pm.

Upcoming Dates: 

  • February 1The Book of Hope by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams, Pages 1-109 (I. What is Hope? and Reasons 1 & 2)
  • March 1The Book of Hope by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams, Pages 111-234 (Reasons 3 & 4 and Conclusion)
  • April 5 (TBD)
  • May 3 (TBD)

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About Carla Stillwagon

Carla Stillwagon

Carla serves as the Cancer Support Program & Retreat Coordinator at Smith Center. During her time at the center, Carla has been inspired to further develop her commitment to the arts and their invaluable role in healing and community. She is excited to share her favorite pastime, reading, in this group and hopes to hear all about your favorite things to read!

About Kiersten Gallagher

Kiersten Gallagher

As the Cancer Support Program Director, Kiersten fully believes that through the arts we can expand our perspectives and explore new fulfilling ways of being. She invites you to make our space your own refuge, to circumvent your daily routine to spark creativity, to take time for introspection, and draw outside the lines.

About Erin Price, LICSW, OSW-C

Erin Price

Erin serves as Smith Center’s Director of Young Adult and Psychosocial Support Programs. She is trained in Integrative Patient Navigation, a Project LEAD graduate, and holds a Masters in Social Work. A seven-year breast cancer survivor, Erin is passionate about providing support and community to other cancer survivors, especially young adults. She works with Smith Center’s DC Young Adult Cancer Community and is also actively involved in the cancer community through Young Survival Coalition, Critical Mass, the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates, National Breast Cancer Coalition, and the DC Cancer Action Partnership.

This program series is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must have attended the first session in the series.

with Leslie Lass, PhD, MFA, MSW Candidate

Sustainable Journaling

In the forward to Sandra Marinella’s book The Story You Need to Tell: Writing to Heal from Trauma, Illness, or Loss, author Christina Baldwin writes, “When things happen that are unexpected, unwelcome, challenging, disorienting, or traumatic, we survive, but the storyline we were following is shattered. Untold stories don’t go away.”

In this three-part workshop series, we will explore our own “untold stories” – ones that have forever changed the storylines of our lives – by capturing one moment in time that can convey meaning about a larger experience, bring needed healing, and offer powerful insights about our shared humanity.

Using the micro-memoir, also called the flash memoir, as a vehicle for telling our untold stories, we will discuss techniques for distilling them to their essence (750 words or fewer) and for crafting them in ways that powerfully communicate what we intend.

Activities include:

  • learning about the essential elements of a micro-memoir
  • reading and discussing examples of published micro-memoirs
  • participating in writing activities
  • completing at-home assignments
  • talking about what it means to share our writing with a larger audience

By the end of the third session, you will have written a micro-memoir that tells the story you need to tell.

Reading your work aloud is voluntary. If you choose to do so, you will have an opportunity to read what you have written to the group, and you will have a chance to hear others read their “small stories” as well. After each reading, generous, positive feedback will be encouraged.

You do not have to consider yourself a writer to participate in this workshop. The only requirement is a willingness to tell your story as open-heartedly as you can and to compassionately support the efforts of others in the workshop who wish to do the same. The program is open to any adults who have been impacted by cancer as a patient or as a caregiver of any kind.

Writing a Micro-Memoir: The Stories that Don’t Go Away will be hosted in three parts. Participants are encouraged to attend all three sessions. Upon completion of the three parts, participants will have developed a working micro-memoir. Program limited to 8 participants.
Program dates:
  • May 5
  • May 12
  • May 19

Suggested Donation: $10/session or $25/series

About Leslie Lass, PhD, MFA, MSW Candidate

Leslie Lass, PhD, MFA, MSW candidate, has taught writing for more than 20 years at universities and community colleges on the east and west coasts, including Northern Virginia Community College, George Mason University, and The Evergreen State College. Her doctoral work focused on writing creative nonfiction and on Latin American testimonial literature. She is an author of a novel, a memoir, short stories, and poetry, and for the past nine years she has maintained a blog, where she writes “small stories” she hopes will point towards more universal themes that will resonate with her readers.