This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Cheryl Hughes, LICSW, OSW-C and Anne Kelemen, LICSW, ACHP-SW

The loss of a parent from cancer brings with it many complex feelings. Sadness, anger, and regret are just a few of the feelings you may experience. Sometimes friends – and even family members – don’t understand these feelings.

This support group provides a monthly opportunity to join a group of people who may understand.


The Loss of a Parent to Cancer Support Group meets Monthly on Mondays from 6:00-7:30pm.

Upcoming Sessions:

  • December 21

About Cheryl Hughes

Cheryl Ann Hughes, LICSW, is a Palliative Care Social Worker at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. She creates a safe and supportive environment from which individuals can define their goals, as well as the means by which they can be achieved. Cheryl tailors each treatment plan using a variety of modalities including EMDR, strengths-based and solution-focused techniques, and with recognition of– and a deep respect for — the strong connection between mind and body. Cheryl infuses her work with mindfulness-based techniques to assist her clients in recognizing their own ability to create a reality that will lead to a satisfying and fulfilling life. Cheryl received her master’s degree in social work, with an emphasis on clinical and medical social work, from Catholic University. She works with cancer patients and their families as they deal with the increased stressors caused by cancer and its treatment.

About Anne Kelemen

Anne Kelemen joined MedStar Washington Hospital Center Section of Palliative care in 2014. In 2015, she was named MedStar Health Palliative Clinical of the Year. Prior to joining the Hospital Center staff, Ms. Kelemen instituted the first palliative care services at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, MD. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, she is actively involved in research, and is interested in the intersection of language and medicine as well as intimacy and chronic illness. She received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Maryland and a post-master’s certificate in End of Life Care from the Smith College School of Social Work. In 2017, she received the emerging leader award from the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Network (SWHPN). Ms. Kelemen is a SWHPN board member and passionate about teaching the next generation of palliative clinicians. She is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University and Director of the Palliative Social Work Fellowship at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Please contact Kiersten at kiersten@smithcenter.org to register.

with Wendy Miller & Larry Kanter

This ongoing healing circle will focus on the unique needs of those experiencing the loss, recently or not, of a spouse or partner. No matter where you find yourself in your journey with grief, a chance to be with others who have lost a spouse or partner can lead to profound learning and healing.

Come join us in our healing circle of collaborative conversations.


What is a Healing Circle?

Healing Circles bring together small numbers of people impacted by a condition or circumstance to share experiences and harvest collective wisdom.  Healing Circles is a peer-led process by which people support each other through deep listening and shared learning. When working at its best, this collaborative conversation model leads to authentic and deep connectivity and can create wisdom and healing for participants.

This Healing Circle meets bi-monthly on Thursdays from 4:30pm – 6:00pm.

Upcoming sessions:

  • December 3 & 17

About Wendy Lynn Miller, Ph.D.

Moving here many years ago from the SF Bay Area, my relationship with Commonweal led me to Barbara Smith Coleman. I am proud to have been part of an early group of people with Shanti Norris who met with Barbara to envision the cancer retreats, a healing center, and gallery for Smith Center. Years later when my late husband Gene Cohen was facing metastatic prostate cancer, he went to Commonweal for his cancer retreat. The gift of community support, reflection, and care guided the choices we made through the many years of living with cancer in our family body. I became a widow in 2009.

Wendy Miller is an expressive arts therapist, artist, and writer living in Kensington, MD. In 2016, she published the book, Sky Above Clouds: Finding our way through creativity, aging, and illness, about her life and work with her late husband. It is a spiritual treatise on love and creativity during life’s major transitions.

About Larry Kanter

My late wife, Alex Todorovich, passed away in 2009 from breast cancer. My work with the Smith Center began in 2007 when Alex and I attended the Center’s week-long retreat, which marked a turning point in our understanding of what it means to really live, to love life, and to live in the embrace of a healing community. After Alex’s passing the Center’s Hisaoaka Gallery mounted a show of Alex’s art entitled “How to Leave a Well-Traveled Road” which documented her life, her fears, her loves and the path she chose at its end.

Larry Kanter is a graphic designer living in Washington, DC and is a Smith Center friend and an ardent supporter of the Center’s work.

Please contact Kiersten at kiersten@smithcenter.org to register.

with Wendy Miller & Larry Kanter

This ongoing healing circle will focus on the unique needs of those experiencing the loss, recently or not, of a spouse or partner. No matter where you find yourself in your journey with grief, a chance to be with others who have lost a spouse or partner can lead to profound learning and healing.

Come join us in our healing circle of collaborative conversations.


What is a Healing Circle?

Healing Circles bring together small numbers of people impacted by a condition or circumstance to share experiences and harvest collective wisdom.  Healing Circles is a peer-led process by which people support each other through deep listening and shared learning. When working at its best, this collaborative conversation model leads to authentic and deep connectivity and can create wisdom and healing for participants.

This Healing Circle meets bi-monthly on Thursdays from 4:30pm – 6:00pm.

Upcoming sessions:

  • December 3 & 17

About Wendy Lynn Miller, Ph.D.

Moving here many years ago from the SF Bay Area, my relationship with Commonweal led me to Barbara Smith Coleman. I am proud to have been part of an early group of people with Shanti Norris who met with Barbara to envision the cancer retreats, a healing center, and gallery for Smith Center. Years later when my late husband Gene Cohen was facing metastatic prostate cancer, he went to Commonweal for his cancer retreat. The gift of community support, reflection, and care guided the choices we made through the many years of living with cancer in our family body. I became a widow in 2009.

Wendy Miller is an expressive arts therapist, artist, and writer living in Kensington, MD. In 2016, she published the book, Sky Above Clouds: Finding our way through creativity, aging, and illness, about her life and work with her late husband. It is a spiritual treatise on love and creativity during life’s major transitions.

About Larry Kanter

My late wife, Alex Todorovich, passed away in 2009 from breast cancer. My work with the Smith Center began in 2007 when Alex and I attended the Center’s week-long retreat, which marked a turning point in our understanding of what it means to really live, to love life, and to live in the embrace of a healing community. After Alex’s passing the Center’s Hisaoaka Gallery mounted a show of Alex’s art entitled “How to Leave a Well-Traveled Road” which documented her life, her fears, her loves and the path she chose at its end.

Larry Kanter is a graphic designer living in Washington, DC and is a Smith Center friend and an ardent supporter of the Center’s work.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Erin Price, LICSW

This monthly support group, facilitated by a licensed clinical social worker, is for anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer. As a group, we will explore the impact of loss and find ways to cope with grief together.


The Loss of a Loved One to Cancer Support Group will meet Monthly on the first Wednesday from 6:00 – 7:00pm.

Upcoming Dates:

  • December 2

About Erin Price, LISCW

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 is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Cheryl Hughes, LICSW, OSW-C and Anne Kelemen, LICSW, ACHP-SW

The loss of a parent from cancer brings with it many complex feelings. Sadness, anger, and regret are just a few of the feelings you may experience. Sometimes friends – and even family members – don’t understand these feelings.

This support group provides a monthly opportunity to join a group of people who may understand.


The Loss of a Parent to Cancer Support Group meets Monthly on Mondays from 6:00-7:30pm.

Upcoming Sessions:

  • November 23
  • December 21

About Cheryl Hughes

Cheryl Ann Hughes, LICSW, is a Palliative Care Social Worker at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. She creates a safe and supportive environment from which individuals can define their goals, as well as the means by which they can be achieved. Cheryl tailors each treatment plan using a variety of modalities including EMDR, strengths-based and solution-focused techniques, and with recognition of– and a deep respect for — the strong connection between mind and body. Cheryl infuses her work with mindfulness-based techniques to assist her clients in recognizing their own ability to create a reality that will lead to a satisfying and fulfilling life. Cheryl received her master’s degree in social work, with an emphasis on clinical and medical social work, from Catholic University. She works with cancer patients and their families as they deal with the increased stressors caused by cancer and its treatment.

About Anne Kelemen

Anne Kelemen joined MedStar Washington Hospital Center Section of Palliative care in 2014. In 2015, she was named MedStar Health Palliative Clinical of the Year. Prior to joining the Hospital Center staff, Ms. Kelemen instituted the first palliative care services at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, MD. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, she is actively involved in research, and is interested in the intersection of language and medicine as well as intimacy and chronic illness. She received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Maryland and a post-master’s certificate in End of Life Care from the Smith College School of Social Work. In 2017, she received the emerging leader award from the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Network (SWHPN). Ms. Kelemen is a SWHPN board member and passionate about teaching the next generation of palliative clinicians. She is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University and Director of the Palliative Social Work Fellowship at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Please contact Kiersten at kiersten@smithcenter.org to register.

with Wendy Miller & Larry Kanter

This ongoing healing circle will focus on the unique needs of those experiencing the loss, recently or not, of a spouse or partner. No matter where you find yourself in your journey with grief, a chance to be with others who have lost a spouse or partner can lead to profound learning and healing.

Come join us in our healing circle of collaborative conversations.


What is a Healing Circle?

Healing Circles bring together small numbers of people impacted by a condition or circumstance to share experiences and harvest collective wisdom.  Healing Circles is a peer-led process by which people support each other through deep listening and shared learning. When working at its best, this collaborative conversation model leads to authentic and deep connectivity and can create wisdom and healing for participants.

This Healing Circle meets bi-monthly on Thursdays from 4:30pm – 6:00pm.

Upcoming sessions:

  • November 19
  • December 3 & 17

About Wendy Lynn Miller, Ph.D.

Moving here many years ago from the SF Bay Area, my relationship with Commonweal led me to Barbara Smith Coleman. I am proud to have been part of an early group of people with Shanti Norris who met with Barbara to envision the cancer retreats, a healing center, and gallery for Smith Center. Years later when my late husband Gene Cohen was facing metastatic prostate cancer, he went to Commonweal for his cancer retreat. The gift of community support, reflection, and care guided the choices we made through the many years of living with cancer in our family body. I became a widow in 2009.

Wendy Miller is an expressive arts therapist, artist, and writer living in Kensington, MD. In 2016, she published the book, Sky Above Clouds: Finding our way through creativity, aging, and illness, about her life and work with her late husband. It is a spiritual treatise on love and creativity during life’s major transitions.

About Larry Kanter

My late wife, Alex Todorovich, passed away in 2009 from breast cancer. My work with the Smith Center began in 2007 when Alex and I attended the Center’s week-long retreat, which marked a turning point in our understanding of what it means to really live, to love life, and to live in the embrace of a healing community. After Alex’s passing the Center’s Hisaoaka Gallery mounted a show of Alex’s art entitled “How to Leave a Well-Traveled Road” which documented her life, her fears, her loves and the path she chose at its end.

Larry Kanter is a graphic designer living in Washington, DC and is a Smith Center friend and an ardent supporter of the Center’s work.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. Please click here to register for a 6-week circle.

with Kiersten Gallagher

Holy Ground

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. We have several series of six Healing Circles planned to start in September. Please see the schedule below; space is limited.


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 Bi-Monthly on Thursdays from 3:00-4:30pm for 6 weeks.

Circle Dates:

  • September 10 & 24
  • October 8 & 22
  • November 5 & 19

Click here to view the schedule for 2 other Grieving Together circles.


About Kiersten Gallagher

Kiersten has served as the Cancer Support Program Director for Smith Center since 2014. Before coming to Smith Center, she had the privilege to serve individuals and families living with cancer at Wellness House of Annapolis. Kiersten aims to offer programs to reduce stress and help participants to see the world we live in from different perspectives. She thoroughly enjoys teaching yoga and creativity classes at SmithCenter and encourages gentle movement and creativity in the healing process. Kiersten is a certified yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance and also has her YCAT (Yoga Therapy in Cancer and Chronic Illness) Professional Certification through the Integral Yoga Academy. She has completed Patient Navigation training through Smith Center’s Institute for Integrative Oncology Navigation and has also completed the Commonweal Healing Circles: Advanced Cancer Support Training. Kiersten is also certified in CLIMB®(Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery) a program that aims to build upon the strengths of children and increase his/her ability to cope with stress associated with a parent’s illness. She believes in a holistic approach to healing, human relationships and is grateful for each and every day. In her spare time, you may find Kiersten laughing with friends, cycling, taking art classes, practicing yoga and spending time with her husband Shane, son Liam, and dogs Hooper and Pablo.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Gayle Danley, national & international poetry slam champion

Gayle Performing in Frederick, MD
Gayle Performing in Frederick, MD

Slam poetry began in Chicago’s bars and coffeehouses in the late 1980’s. This phenomenal blend of spoken and written word turns every willing soul into a poet while providing relief from the stresses of the day. Master teaching artist Gayle Danley has shared her down-on-the-floor style of performance poetry all over the country in classrooms, lecture halls, theatres and even on CBS’ 60 minutes.

Join her for much laughter, emotion, comfort, understanding and instruction in the art of slam poetry. Her 4-step process has been tried in the fire and proven to be an effective antidote to the blues of the day and the isolation that threatens to drive us mad!


Poem for my Sisters With Sons:
Breathe:
Pull a clean fist of air inside your self
and let it rest there
wide and unfrightened inside your belly
asking for nothing
Remember when the baby boy was there
Stirring and fighting and kicking things around
inside of you.
And where is he now?
Kicking at air
asking for everything
Defiance rippling on the edge of his skin
Beautiful as water
And do not worry if your brown boy 
doesn’t smile enough
as long as he still smiles at you:
over dinner
over the news
from beneath a curtain of hair tangled and sprawled,
it is enough
Does he still know your name?
Good.
Does he still reach for you when there is blood
Does he still make you want to kill him on Monday mornings
and kill FOR him on Saturday nights?
Good
Is he still
breathing
good 
good 
good
Your turn:
breathe
again
until all
the air you can find
makes home
 within your body
Your black sad
scared hopeful body
Round and trembling
like your mother’s
Rest now
tomorrow will come before you know it
with her hair on fire and her knee on your neck
Your son knows you are his home
He has memorized all the valleys in your voice
every scream and grin
He ain’t going anywhere far
He is not leaving you
He will not vanish
he will not stray
Your breath is his
Your love is his
Never leaving
never dying
never going
away

And, check out more of Gayle’s work on YouTube here!


Wellness in the Time of COVID

The Washington Home

This 6-month integrative wellness series, sponsored by The Washington Home, will be offered to caregivers, those who are critically ill, and those facing cancer-related challenges during this especially difficult time.

Check out the full series program schedule HERE!


About Gayle Danley

Gayle Danley

Soon after crushing the competition at Asheville’s National Poetry Slam in 1994, Gayle Danley entered America’s classrooms teaching thousands of children how to access their emotions through the force of words. She performed and taught her way from Maryland Young Audience’s Artist of the Year, to National Young Audience’s Artist of the Year. She’s also both a former national and international poetry slam champion. CBS 60 Minutes profiled her work with middle schoolers as well as the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post and New York Times.

For the past five years, Gayle’s Grieffriend sessions have helped women who are living with AIDS, widows, incarcerated youth and those struggling with drug addiction and recovery use poetry to cope and bravely face life’s challenges.

Gayle was recently named Maryland Library Association Poet of the Year.

Please contact Kiersten at kiersten@smithcenter.org to register.

with Wendy Miller & Larry Kanter

This ongoing healing circle will focus on the unique needs of those experiencing the loss, recently or not, of a spouse or partner. No matter where you find yourself in your journey with grief, a chance to be with others who have lost a spouse or partner can lead to profound learning and healing.

Come join us in our healing circle of collaborative conversations.


What is a Healing Circle?

Healing Circles bring together small numbers of people impacted by a condition or circumstance to share experiences and harvest collective wisdom.  Healing Circles is a peer-led process by which people support each other through deep listening and shared learning. When working at its best, this collaborative conversation model leads to authentic and deep connectivity and can create wisdom and healing for participants.

This Healing Circle meets bi-monthly on Thursdays from 4:30pm – 6:00pm.

Upcoming sessions:

  • November 5 & 19
  • December 3 & 17

About Wendy Lynn Miller, Ph.D.

Moving here many years ago from the SF Bay Area, my relationship with Commonweal led me to Barbara Smith Coleman. I am proud to have been part of an early group of people with Shanti Norris who met with Barbara to envision the cancer retreats, a healing center, and gallery for Smith Center. Years later when my late husband Gene Cohen was facing metastatic prostate cancer, he went to Commonweal for his cancer retreat. The gift of community support, reflection, and care guided the choices we made through the many years of living with cancer in our family body. I became a widow in 2009.

Wendy Miller is an expressive arts therapist, artist, and writer living in Kensington, MD. In 2016, she published the book, Sky Above Clouds: Finding our way through creativity, aging, and illness, about her life and work with her late husband. It is a spiritual treatise on love and creativity during life’s major transitions.

About Larry Kanter

My late wife, Alex Todorovich, passed away in 2009 from breast cancer. My work with the Smith Center began in 2007 when Alex and I attended the Center’s week-long retreat, which marked a turning point in our understanding of what it means to really live, to love life, and to live in the embrace of a healing community. After Alex’s passing the Center’s Hisaoaka Gallery mounted a show of Alex’s art entitled “How to Leave a Well-Traveled Road” which documented her life, her fears, her loves and the path she chose at its end.

Larry Kanter is a graphic designer living in Washington, DC and is a Smith Center friend and an ardent supporter of the Center’s work.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. Please click here to register for a 6-week circle.

with Kiersten Gallagher

Holy Ground

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. We have several series of six Healing Circles planned to start in September. Please see the schedule below; space is limited.


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 Bi-Monthly on Thursdays from 3:00-4:30pm for 6 weeks.

Circle Dates:

  • September 10 & 24
  • October 8 & 22
  • November 5 & 19

Click here to view the schedule for 2 other Grieving Together circles.


About Kiersten Gallagher

Kiersten has served as the Cancer Support Program Director for Smith Center since 2014. Before coming to Smith Center, she had the privilege to serve individuals and families living with cancer at Wellness House of Annapolis. Kiersten aims to offer programs to reduce stress and help participants to see the world we live in from different perspectives. She thoroughly enjoys teaching yoga and creativity classes at SmithCenter and encourages gentle movement and creativity in the healing process. Kiersten is a certified yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance and also has her YCAT (Yoga Therapy in Cancer and Chronic Illness) Professional Certification through the Integral Yoga Academy. She has completed Patient Navigation training through Smith Center’s Institute for Integrative Oncology Navigation and has also completed the Commonweal Healing Circles: Advanced Cancer Support Training. Kiersten is also certified in CLIMB®(Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery) a program that aims to build upon the strengths of children and increase his/her ability to cope with stress associated with a parent’s illness. She believes in a holistic approach to healing, human relationships and is grateful for each and every day. In her spare time, you may find Kiersten laughing with friends, cycling, taking art classes, practicing yoga and spending time with her husband Shane, son Liam, and dogs Hooper and Pablo.