Please email Olivia at programs@smithcenter.org for further information about the program.

with Carole O’Toole

A small, almost inaudible voice will say what lies ahead. By Sheila Petruccelli

Cancer often initiates an intense transformational process that can raise more questions than answers, leading us to re-examine our beliefs and approach to life. We may feel called to explore opportunities for spiritual growth, feeling a desire to connect with the sacred in a more conscious way and define more deeply life’s meaning in the face of cancer.

Regardless of your personal beliefs or faith system, working with a spiritual companion offers you an opportunity to reflect with another on what is going on for you spiritually, and explore how to integrate your cancer experience with your personal beliefs.

Spiritual Companions:

  • Provide a safe, trusting environment that invites stillness and reflection.
  • Support your spiritual growth and exploration, your unique and personal journey.
  • Listen, deeply and with compassion, honoring your sacred story. This deep listening helps you to connect with your most authentic self and illuminate your unique spiritual path.

    “Your soul already knows the way to wholeness and healing, but often speaks to us in a small, still voice. In our time together, we create a nest for your soul to rest awhile, allowing space for your sacred truth to be revealed.”

    Carole invites you to explore with her how to make meaning of your cancer experience and to look for where the holy is in your life. Currently, limited space is available for new clients. Individual appointments are available via Zoom or by telephone and are free of charge. 

    Suggested Donation: $15


About Carole O’Toole

Retreats, Integrative Navigation and Spiritual Companioning Consultant

Carole, a survivor of advanced cancer since 1994, is the author of two books on integrative cancer care: “Cancer Community Healing Network”, and “Healing Outside the Margins”. She began her work with Smith Center in 2006, creating our integrative cancer care navigation model, and introducing integrative navigation services to Howard University Cancer Center and the city’s medically underserved community. Carole went on to develop and direct the Center’s Institute for Integrative Oncology Navigation, and co-created and led our professional training program in integrative cancer care navigation, offered to navigators nationwide and now available online through our partnership with the Maryland University of Integrative Health.

Carole has been an integral part of Smith Center’s Cancer Retreat Programs throughout her tenure, staffing the weeklong residential retreats for many years and leading one day retreats at our offices. Carole assumed leadership of the retreat program in 2015, where she developed our 3 day in-person retreats and 6-week virtual retreat programs.

Carole continues her retreat work alongside her coaching individuals on integrative cancer care decision-making and complementary resources. Most recently, Carole became a certified Spiritual Director, offering spiritual companioning services to adults with cancer and their loved ones.

To learn more about Carole and her work in integrative navigation and spiritual companioning, visit her website: www.cohealing.net.

Please email Olivia at programs@smithcenter.org for further information about the program.

with Carole O’Toole

A small, almost inaudible voice will say what lies ahead. By Sheila Petruccelli

Cancer often initiates an intense transformational process that can raise more questions than answers, leading us to re-examine our beliefs and approach to life. We may feel called to explore opportunities for spiritual growth, feeling a desire to connect with the sacred in a more conscious way and define more deeply life’s meaning in the face of cancer.

Regardless of your personal beliefs or faith system, working with a spiritual companion offers you an opportunity to reflect with another on what is going on for you spiritually, and explore how to integrate your cancer experience with your personal beliefs.

Spiritual Companions:

  • Provide a safe, trusting environment that invites stillness and reflection.
  • Support your spiritual growth and exploration, your unique and personal journey.
  • Listen, deeply and with compassion, honoring your sacred story. This deep listening helps you to connect with your most authentic self and illuminate your unique spiritual path.

    “Your soul already knows the way to wholeness and healing, but often speaks to us in a small, still voice. In our time together, we create a nest for your soul to rest awhile, allowing space for your sacred truth to be revealed.”

    Carole invites you to explore with her how to make meaning of your cancer experience and to look for where the holy is in your life. Currently, limited space is available for new clients. Individual appointments are available via Zoom or by telephone and are free of charge. 

    Suggested Donation: $15


About Carole O’Toole

Retreats, Integrative Navigation and Spiritual Companioning Consultant

Carole, a survivor of advanced cancer since 1994, is the author of two books on integrative cancer care: “Cancer Community Healing Network”, and “Healing Outside the Margins”. She began her work with Smith Center in 2006, creating our integrative cancer care navigation model, and introducing integrative navigation services to Howard University Cancer Center and the city’s medically underserved community. Carole went on to develop and direct the Center’s Institute for Integrative Oncology Navigation, and co-created and led our professional training program in integrative cancer care navigation, offered to navigators nationwide and now available online through our partnership with the Maryland University of Integrative Health.

Carole has been an integral part of Smith Center’s Cancer Retreat Programs throughout her tenure, staffing the weeklong residential retreats for many years and leading one day retreats at our offices. Carole assumed leadership of the retreat program in 2015, where she developed our 3 day in-person retreats and 6-week virtual retreat programs.

Carole continues her retreat work alongside her coaching individuals on integrative cancer care decision-making and complementary resources. Most recently, Carole became a certified Spiritual Director, offering spiritual companioning services to adults with cancer and their loved ones.

To learn more about Carole and her work in integrative navigation and spiritual companioning, visit her website: www.cohealing.net.

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 programs@smithcenter.org.

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

with Kathleen O’Toole

Writing Through the Seasons

Breathe In All That Has Begun to Bloom

Kathleen O’Toole is a poet whose work with haiku and other short poetic forms is deeply rooted in attention to the natural world. In her Writing through the Seasons workshops (December 9, 2023 and March 30, 2024) she will guide participants through poetry forms and writing practices that invite us to pay attention to the ways season changes bring special opportunities for healing and creativity.

In this 90-minute session, just after the spring equinox, we’ll take stock of our own yearnings for hope and new life, as we name the hues, fragrance, and shapes of all that is blooming or coming to life in the world around us. We’ll look at some poems & poetic practices that emphasize resilience and attention to small things: the increased activity of birds, insects, and other creatures that invite our hearts to sing.

No previous poetry writing experience required, just an openness to playing with words. Bring an open heart, a notebook or sketchbook; whatever materials you need to respond to poetry and nature. (Previous participants have journaled, drafts of poems or sketches to capture what has surfaced in our sessions.)


Kathleen O’Toole is a poet whose work with haiku and other short poetic forms is deeply rooted in attention to the natural world. These three workshops will guide participants through poetry forms and writing practices that invite us to explore the ways season changes bring special opportunities for healing and creativity. The ancient Celts celebrated cross-quarter days as moments of magic and openings to spirit and ritual; we’ll mark our own seasonal awareness.

Writing Through the Seasons: The Healing Power of Nature will be offered as a program series, spread over the seasons.

Suggested Donation: $15/session


About Kathleen O’Toole

Kathleen O'Toole

Takoma Park Poet Laureate Kathleen O’Toole is the author of 4 books of poetry (find her at https://kathleenotoolepoetry.com). She has taught writing at Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Institute College of Art. As evident in her longer work, she often seeks inspiration and consolation in nature. For more than thirty years she has been writing haiku as a spiritual practice of attention, and to deepen her experience of the natural world.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. Please register to Claudia at 202.384.8342 to receive the Zoom link to participate.

Este programa se ofrece prácticamente a través de Zoom. Regístrese en Claudia al 202.384.8342 para recibir el enlace Zoom para participar.

Nueva Vida

Smith Center es ahora el anfitrión de los Grupos de Apoyo para la Comunidad Latina en Español

Estamos muy felices de anunciar que seremos los anfitriones de los grupos de apoyo de Nueva Vida para la comunidad latina. Nueva Vida es una organización independiente, sin fines de lucro, que proporciona servicios integrales de cáncer gratuitos, a las familias latinas en el Distrito de Columbia, Virginia del Norte (hasta el sur de Prince William County), Suburban Maryland (Condados de Montgomery y Prince George), Richmond, y Baltimore. Otros servicios incluyen educación y divulgación en la comunidad latina, asi como navegación de pacientes para exámenes de detección y tratamiento de cáncer.

En Smith Center, Nueva Vida tendrá grupos de apoyo que se enfocan en el apoyo al trauma asociado con el diagnóstico de cáncer. Estos grupos proporcionan a las latinas la oportunidad de identificar y expresar sus sentimientos, en un lugar seguro, y lleno de empatía, así como compartir sus sentimientos con otras personas que están o han pasado por similares circunstancias. Las reuniones semanales, se combinan con una actividad de reducción del estrés (Zumba o Yoga).

Para registrarse, llame a Claudia a Nueva Vida: 202.223.9100.


Smith Center Now Hosting Support Groups for the Latino Community in Spanish

Nueva Vida is an independent nonprofit that provides free, comprehensive, culturally competent cancer services to medically underserved Latino families in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia (as far south as Prince William County), Suburban Maryland (Montgomery & Prince George’s Counties), Richmond, and Baltimore. Other services include outreach to the Latino community and Patient Navigation for cancer screenings and treatment.

At Smith Center, Nueva Vida will be providing support groups that are focused on supporting the trauma associated with a cancer diagnosis. These groups provide Latina women the opportunity to experience a catharsis of feelings, where they feel safe to identify, verbalize, empathize, and share their feelings with others who are in similar circumstances. All support group meetings are paired with a stress reduction activity (either Zumba or Yoga).

To register, call Claudia at Nueva Vida: 202.223.9100.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking <here> or email olivia@smithcenter.org.

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

with Ketty M Urbay

in partnership with Tigerlily Foundation

*Please note that by registering for this program, you consent to have your name and email shared with Tigerlily Foundation. Tigerlily only collects this information for data purposes and it will not be shared with any other parties.

Ketty’s desire to bring the healing and transformative power of music and dance into women’s lives has birthed her new community, Simply M The Movement. Ketty won’t stop until every woman’s heart is free to express the truest expression of who she is. Mind, body and soul. So let’s dance!

Dance and music can heal your mind, body and soul.  This is a 1 hour dance class set to a carefully curated musical playlist that will inspire and elevate.  Have fun following easy to learn dance steps and creative movement exercises that will spark your joy and creativity.  Every week is a new theme and a whole new set of moves to a variety of music.

Recommended audience:  Everyone who loves to dance and thinks they can’t do it! Everyone who loves to dance and wants to keep dancing in a fun and safe space!

Simply M the Movement is offered on weekly on Thursdays.


About Ketty M Urbay

Ketty M Urbay was born in Cuba and raised in Miami, Florida. Ketty has a double bachelors in Dance and Psychology from Florida International University. She facilitated movement and creative writing workshops for 15 years with at risk teenage girls through a program created by her Dance Professor Leslie Neal called ArtSpring.

with Sara Kominers & Project Koru

Get Active on the Klingle Valley Trail | goDCgo

Join other young adult cancer survivors for a morning of hiking at Klingle Valley Trail and Tregaron Conservancy in DC.

The hike is suitable for all levels and will end with a bring your own picnic lunch – so pack something delicious to eat (we’ll have a cooler to store it). Plan to wear comfortable walking shoes, athletic pants, and non-cotton layers. Bring plenty of water and a hat and sunglasses for added sun protection, in addition to sunscreen.

The event will run until approximately 12:00pm (we plan to finish the hike around 11:00am and enjoy a picnic lunch for an hour). For more information about the meeting location, please RSVP.


This hike is co-hosted by Project Koru.

Project Koru enriches lives through community and the outdoors as a way to move forward beyond cancer. Young adults diagnosed with cancer face a unique set of challenges. With the right support, the weight of these challenges can be mitigated; that’s why we exist!

This program is also offered in partnership with:

.    .   


Social Distance and Mask Policy

For this hike and picnic, we will be outside the entire time and encourage participants to maintain adequate physical distance during the program. We encourage those who are unvaccinated to wear a mask while participating in the hike. For those that are vaccinated, masks are optional based on your comfort level.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. Please register to Claudia at 202.384.8342 to receive the Zoom link to participate.

Este programa se ofrece prácticamente a través de Zoom. Regístrese en Claudia al 202.384.8342 para recibir el enlace Zoom para participar.

Nueva Vida

Smith Center es ahora el anfitrión de los Grupos de Apoyo para la Comunidad Latina en Español

Estamos muy felices de anunciar que seremos los anfitriones de los grupos de apoyo de Nueva Vida para la comunidad latina. Nueva Vida es una organización independiente, sin fines de lucro, que proporciona servicios integrales de cáncer gratuitos, a las familias latinas en el Distrito de Columbia, Virginia del Norte (hasta el sur de Prince William County), Suburban Maryland (Condados de Montgomery y Prince George), Richmond, y Baltimore. Otros servicios incluyen educación y divulgación en la comunidad latina, asi como navegación de pacientes para exámenes de detección y tratamiento de cáncer.

En Smith Center, Nueva Vida tendrá grupos de apoyo que se enfocan en el apoyo al trauma asociado con el diagnóstico de cáncer. Estos grupos proporcionan a las latinas la oportunidad de identificar y expresar sus sentimientos, en un lugar seguro, y lleno de empatía, así como compartir sus sentimientos con otras personas que están o han pasado por similares circunstancias. Las reuniones semanales, se combinan con una actividad de reducción del estrés (Zumba o Yoga).

Para registrarse, llame a Claudia a Nueva Vida: 202.223.9100.


Smith Center Now Hosting Support Groups for the Latino Community in Spanish

Nueva Vida is an independent nonprofit that provides free, comprehensive, culturally competent cancer services to medically underserved Latino families in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia (as far south as Prince William County), Suburban Maryland (Montgomery & Prince George’s Counties), Richmond, and Baltimore. Other services include outreach to the Latino community and Patient Navigation for cancer screenings and treatment.

At Smith Center, Nueva Vida will be providing support groups that are focused on supporting the trauma associated with a cancer diagnosis. These groups provide Latina women the opportunity to experience a catharsis of feelings, where they feel safe to identify, verbalize, empathize, and share their feelings with others who are in similar circumstances. All support group meetings are paired with a stress reduction activity (either Zumba or Yoga).

To register, call Claudia at Nueva Vida: 202.223.9100.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking <here> or email olivia@smithcenter.org.

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

with Ketty M Urbay

in partnership with Tigerlily Foundation

*Please note that by registering for this program, you consent to have your name and email shared with Tigerlily Foundation. Tigerlily only collects this information for data purposes and it will not be shared with any other parties.

Ketty’s desire to bring the healing and transformative power of music and dance into women’s lives has birthed her new community, Simply M The Movement. Ketty won’t stop until every woman’s heart is free to express the truest expression of who she is. Mind, body and soul. So let’s dance!

Dance and music can heal your mind, body and soul.  This is a 1 hour dance class set to a carefully curated musical playlist that will inspire and elevate.  Have fun following easy to learn dance steps and creative movement exercises that will spark your joy and creativity.  Every week is a new theme and a whole new set of moves to a variety of music.

Recommended audience:  Everyone who loves to dance and thinks they can’t do it! Everyone who loves to dance and wants to keep dancing in a fun and safe space!

Simply M the Movement is offered on weekly on Thursdays.


About Ketty M Urbay

Ketty M Urbay was born in Cuba and raised in Miami, Florida. Ketty has a double bachelors in Dance and Psychology from Florida International University. She facilitated movement and creative writing workshops for 15 years with at risk teenage girls through a program created by her Dance Professor Leslie Neal called ArtSpring.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. Please register to Claudia at 202.384.8342 to receive the Zoom link to participate.

Este programa se ofrece prácticamente a través de Zoom. Regístrese en Claudia al 202.384.8342 para recibir el enlace Zoom para participar.

Nueva Vida

Smith Center es ahora el anfitrión de los Grupos de Apoyo para la Comunidad Latina en Español

Estamos muy felices de anunciar que seremos los anfitriones de los grupos de apoyo de Nueva Vida para la comunidad latina. Nueva Vida es una organización independiente, sin fines de lucro, que proporciona servicios integrales de cáncer gratuitos, a las familias latinas en el Distrito de Columbia, Virginia del Norte (hasta el sur de Prince William County), Suburban Maryland (Condados de Montgomery y Prince George), Richmond, y Baltimore. Otros servicios incluyen educación y divulgación en la comunidad latina, asi como navegación de pacientes para exámenes de detección y tratamiento de cáncer.

En Smith Center, Nueva Vida tendrá grupos de apoyo que se enfocan en el apoyo al trauma asociado con el diagnóstico de cáncer. Estos grupos proporcionan a las latinas la oportunidad de identificar y expresar sus sentimientos, en un lugar seguro, y lleno de empatía, así como compartir sus sentimientos con otras personas que están o han pasado por similares circunstancias. Las reuniones semanales, se combinan con una actividad de reducción del estrés (Zumba o Yoga).

Para registrarse, llame a Claudia a Nueva Vida: 202.223.9100.


Smith Center Now Hosting Support Groups for the Latino Community in Spanish

Nueva Vida is an independent nonprofit that provides free, comprehensive, culturally competent cancer services to medically underserved Latino families in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia (as far south as Prince William County), Suburban Maryland (Montgomery & Prince George’s Counties), Richmond, and Baltimore. Other services include outreach to the Latino community and Patient Navigation for cancer screenings and treatment.

At Smith Center, Nueva Vida will be providing support groups that are focused on supporting the trauma associated with a cancer diagnosis. These groups provide Latina women the opportunity to experience a catharsis of feelings, where they feel safe to identify, verbalize, empathize, and share their feelings with others who are in similar circumstances. All support group meetings are paired with a stress reduction activity (either Zumba or Yoga).

To register, call Claudia at Nueva Vida: 202.223.9100.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. Please click <here> to register for this circle.

with Paul Puccinelli & Mark Malinak

Grief Circle

Please join us in a series Healing Circles for Grief “to discover the extent and limits of what is lost, what is left and what is possible.”  – John Schneider

If you have lost a loved one, this is an opportunity to share what is on your heart and mind right now, to listen and be listened to deeply and generously. Together we create a safe space for listening to messages from our inner experience. 

Our healing circles are a safe and supportive space to walk with each other through these times. Each circle is a blend of sharing and silence, compassion, and curiosity. Our agreements ensure acceptance and confidentiality. We honor our own unique paths to healing and respect the choices of others.


Some Assumptions about Grief

  • The experience of grief is unique for each individual. While we can make some general assumptions, there is no template that describes the experience for all people.
  • Grief is cumulative. That is, each time loss is grieved, the grief encompasses the lifetime of loss and the remnants of each experience.
  • Grief following a significant loss is most often a lifelong process, with each pivotal point in life bringing the grief back up to be processed from a new perspective.
  • Grief, loss and suffering fundamentally changes and reshapes the individual.
  • Grief is not about forgetting or disconnecting. Rather, healthy grief is about remembering the parts of self that get lost amidst the experience and reorienting the individual in their relationship with self, the world and others.
  • Grief is a whole body experience: emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual. Each have a wide range of expression which can cue us that grief is present.
  • While grief and trauma are often intertwined there are significant differences between them. Trauma should be addressed with trauma specific interventions that often go beyond what is possible in circles.

Adapted from Khris Ford


Grieving Together Healing Circle will meet Weekly on Saturdays from 11:00am-12:30pm EST for 6 weeks.

Grief Circle Dates:

  • Saturdays – March 16, 23, 30
  • Saturdays – April 6, 13, 20

About Paul Puccinelli

Since 2011, Paul has been providing counseling services to children, adults, and couples.   Paul received a strong educational foundation from his graduate degree program at Dominican University, as well as advanced training at University of California San Francisco’s School of Medicine, where he completed a program focused on Interprofessional Palliative Care Education. During the last four years, he has developed a special interest in supporting people and caregivers dealing with Parkinson’s Disease.  And for the last three years, he has been hosting Grieving Together and Living w/ Cancer healing circles.

About Mark Malinak

Mark is retired, having worked as a substance abuse/mental health counselor and wilderness counselor for 25 years. He lives alone with his yellow lab mix dog Buster in a small post and beam house in western Massachusetts. Mark’s wife Barbara passed away suddenly in October 2019. He loves poetry, writing, and tribal ambient music. Among other hobbies, Mark enjoys hiking and walking in the woods and the forests of the Berkshires.