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.

*Before registering for this group, please be sure that you can commit to attending at least 7 of the 8 sessions. If you have any questions and to register, please email olivia@smithcenter.org.

with Erin Price, LICSW, OSW-C and Susan Oetgen

offered in partnership with Ourisman Breast Center at MedStar Georgetown

Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for Cancer Survivors

Meaning-Centered Group for Cancer Survivors Group*

Meaning-Centered Group is largely based on the work of existential psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl and was developed for those facing illness. Meaning-Centered Group aims to decrease feelings of sadness and increase hope by teaching participants how to focus on creating, experiencing, and keeping a sense of meaning in life. Research shows that MCG is very helpful to those who have experienced cancer. During this 8-session weekly group, participants will learn:

  • To cope better by finding and creating a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
  • How sources of meaning can be used to help you during hard times. 
  • New ways to face and overcome the challenges caused by your illness. 

MCG is meant to help participants look for meaning in their past, present, future and everyday life through teaching, answering questions together, doing homework assignments, and discussions with the group. MCG helps participants use meaning in life to gain a greater sense of purpose. 

This group is meant for Cancer Survivors finished with their main treatments or those living with metastatic disease.

This program is provided thanks to generous funding from The Washington Home and offered in partnership between Smith Center for Healing and the Arts & the Ourisman Breast Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.


Meaning-Centered Group for Cancer Survivors* will be offered as a closed group program from March 13th – May 8th, 2024 (No session on 03/27) via Zoom. It will be offered for 8 weeks on Wednesdays from 3:00-4:30pm ET. 

*Registration will be closed at 10 participants. Before registering, be sure that you can commit to attending at least 7 of the 8 sessions.

Program Dates:

  • March 13 & 20
  • April 3, 10, 17 & 4
  • May 1 & 8

About Erin Price, MSW, 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.

About Susan Oetgen

Susan Oetgen is an intern with the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts’s therapy program.  Currently working towards a master’s degree in mental health counseling and expressive arts therapy at Lesley University, Susan is dedicated to the arts as a trauma-informed, culturally responsive pathway to healing for individuals and communities. Her current creative wellness inspirations include herbal medicine, hot yoga and slow fashion.

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

with Kiersten Gallagher & Barbara Reid

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 Wednesdays from 12:30-2:00pm EST for 6 weeks.

Grief Circle Dates:

  • Wednesdays – 2/7, 2/14, 2/21, 2/28, 3/6, 3/13

About Kiersten Gallagher

Kiersten Gallagher – Cancer Support Programs Director

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 Smith Center 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. Kiersten has also completed the Compassion Cultivation Training – CCT™ an 8-week program, developed at Stanford University, with insights and techniques from psychology, neuroscience, and contemplative practice. 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 Beans and Pablo.

About Barbara Reid

Barbara lives in the U.K. and has her own supervision, facilitation and training practice. The wonder of Zoom has enabled her to partner with others over long distances. She draws on contemplative approaches and reflective practices to support people through life passages and transitions, also offering services and programs to companies, non-profits, community groups and individuals. She is a committed mindfulness practitioner and meditator and enjoys introducing people to the practices of self-care and self-compassion that characterise this way of being in the world. She also likes to bring ‘talking circles’ into her practice and her work, nourishing the qualities of deep listening and attending to our inner voice through creative reflection on poetry, music, journaling and art. Barbara is an accredited facilitator of Circles of Trust with the Center for Courage & Renewal in the U.S., and is part of the ‘Grieving Together’ circles facilitation team with Healing Circles Global, also based in the U.S. She is also an accredited teacher of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy programs in the U.K., and in addition is an experienced teacher trainer for people seeking to do this work, having served at the University of Bangor’s (Wales) Centre for Mindfulness Research & Practice for a few years. She recently completed training with David Kessler Training and is certified as a grief educator. Barbara likes to have joy in her life, and finds this in her circle of friends, in the world of folk music, working with textiles, Nordic walking and t’ai chi, and of course her cats Mizzle and Perkin.

This program is currently full. If you would like to join the wait list, please email programs@smithcenter.org.

Part 1/5. This program series is being offered virtually through Zoom.

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

with Erin Price, LICSW, OSW-C, Sara Field, LICSW, OSW-C and Kiersten Gallagher

This program is provided thanks to generous funding from The Washington Home and offered in partnership between Smith Center for Healing and the Arts & the Ourisman Breast Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

Mind Over Matter - Evidence-Based Mind-Body Program Series

This 5-session program uses evidence-based strategies to help decrease feelings of anxiety and depression and increase a sense of well-being. Each week new tools using cognitive and behavioral approaches and mind/body strategies will be introduced and practiced, therefore weekly attendance is expected.

NOTE: *Open to Cancer Patients/Survivors at any stage in their journey and Cancer Caregivers. Participants are encouraged to attend all 5 sessions to get the most out of the program. Before registering, be sure that you can commit to attending at least 4 of the 5 sessions.


Mind Over Matter* will be offered as a program series Weekly on Wednesdays from February 7th – March 6th, 2023, from 3:00 – 4:30pm ET via Zoom.

Program Dates:

  • February 7, 14, 21, 28
  • March 6

About Erin Price, MSW, 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.

About Sara Field, MSW, LICSW, OSW-C

Sara Field

Sara is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in DC and holds an Oncology Social Work certification. She earned her Masters Degree in Social Work at the Catholic University of America in DC and has worked in oncology for over 6 years. Sara currently serves as the Clinical Social Worker and Patient Experience Supervisor at the Ourisman Breast Center at MedStar Georgetown and previously worked  at the Lombardi Cancer Center and GW Cancer Center. Sara has a strong interest in the intersection of emotional and physical health and a particular passion for supporting parents with cancer and their kids.

About Kiersten Gallagher

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 Smith Center 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. Kiersten has also completed the Compassion Cultivation Training – CCT™ an 8-week program, developed at Stanford University, with insights and techniques from psychology, neuroscience, and contemplative practice. 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 Beans and Pablo.

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

with Judith McFarlane & 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 Wednesdays from 12:00-1:30pm EST (9:00am-10:30am PST) for 6 weeks.

Grief Circle Dates:

  • December 6, 13, 20 & 27
  • January 3 & 10

About Judith McFarlane

Judith McFarlane is a Professor of Nursing at Texas Woman’s University in Houston, Texas. Trained by Healing Circles Global, Judith volunteers with the Grieving Together Team to Host Healing Circles for people grieving the loss of a loved one. Participants from all over the world including, North, South, and Central America, Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, and the Pacific Islands gather virtually once a week for 90 minutes to share their experiences with grief using the Healing Circles method of generous and attentive listening. Judith completed the David Kessler Institute 12-month training certificate course to be a Grief Educator.

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.

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.

with M’Bahlia Colson and Rachel Ress, LICSW

In Partnership with Cancer Support Community

Previvor Support Group

This group is for previvors who have an elevated predisposition for a cancer diagnosis or those who have tested positive to cancer genetic markers, such as the BRCA gene.

 

Having a predisposition to cancer can be an overwhelming experience and one that is often isolating. As a previvor, one often goes through emotional, physical, and mental hardships.

 

This group offers a safe space for community where you can talk openly with others who also identify as previvors.


Beginning in September, the Previvor Support Group will meet Monthly on the 4th Tuesday of the month from 6:30 – 7:30pm ET.


About M’Bahlia Colson

M’bahlia is a mother, educator and a previvor.  Her mom died from breast cancer and dad from prostate cancer. After two breast lumptectomies she was diagnosed with a high expentancy of developing breast cancer.  She underwent a prophylatic bilateral mastectomy during the height of the Covid 19 pandemic in NYC. To her disbelief, the hospital did not offer any support for women to help navigate this “new” life. Upon returning home to Washington, DC for reconstruction again no community for support, safe space and sharing. 

As an educator and administrator for more than 15 years, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Master’s Degree in Education. M’bahlia applies her research and education background to provide resources to her new community to help them make informed decisions and accesss to support groups. 

About Rachel Ress, LICSW

Rachel Ress

Rachel is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker serving as Cancer Support Community Washington DC’s (CSC DC) Community Navigator. Prior to working at CSC DC, Rachel was an oncology social worker with the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital for three years. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice where she interned at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Rachel uses an eclectic approach in providing support and compassion to cancer patients and their families, and she is passionate about the intersection of chronic illness and mental health.

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 Jamie Halverson and Lauren Sauer

offered in partnership with:

Healing Circles for Parents with Cancer is a peer led virtual support group for parents who are newly diagnosed, in active treatment or in survivorship who experiencing challenges with their role as a parent during their cancer journey. As this is a peer led support group the co-facilitators can best support parents who have children from 0-18 years old.

This group is not about giving advice (although facilitators will share resources after group and encourage this type of sharing outside of group). Instead it is about sharing our stories (the heart ache that comes from parenting with cancer) without judgment and listening with love. There will also be periodic in-person playdates for parents, partners and their kids in the DMV.


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.

The Healing Circle for Parents with Cancer meets Monthly on the 4th Tuesday of each month (beginning September 2023) from 1:30-2:30pm ET.

Upcoming Dates:

  • November 28
  • December 19 (due to the holiday)

About Jamie Halverson

Jamie Halverson is a mom of an energetic toddler boy and a sweet baby girl. She is a Communication Professor at a small college in Nebraska. Jamie was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2022, while 18 weeks pregnant. She underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy treatment, and then delivered a healthy baby girl. Jamie is currently three months out of treatment and focusing on getting her strength back so she can do more activities with her husband and children.

About Lauren Sauer

Lauren Sauer is a two-time osteosarcoma cancer survivor first diagnosed in 2017 when her daughter was 22 months old, and diagnosed with a recurrence in 2022 when her daughter was 6 years old. Her daughter will be 8 in September. Lauren finished active treatment in September 2022. It took Lauren a long time after her active cancer treatment 2017-2018 to know that she was enough for her daughter during treatment and accept that her village parented her child during that time period. She says that she looks forward to the opportunity to accompany others on their journey as they deal with parent guilt and parent grief. She also looks forward to the opportunity to use Circles principles (creating safe spaces for people to share and be heard) to help facilitate this group. She looks forward to walking with you in your cancer journey.

In order to participate, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.

with Becky Bindrim & Samara Spence

Healing Circle for Young Adults with Metastatic Breast Cancer

We are a demand-driven and patient-led in-person and online community support group for young women and men (diagnosed between the age of 18 – 45ish) with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in the DC, MD, and VA area. We have created this group as a means of providing both a safe community support space for people with MBC, as well as peer-led and expert-led information on living with breast cancer. This group is new and independent of any established breast cancer organization, though we are are in complete gratitude to the Smith Center for hosting us.


We facilitate our group in a democratic and participatory manner; in essence, our group is your group! Interested new members, kindly contact programs@smithcenter.org for an informal intake before coming to your first meeting.

The group meetings alternate between the 3rd Wednesday of the month from 8-9pm ET and the 3rd Saturday of the month from 10-11am ET. The group alternates between meeting in-person and online. 

Upcoming Dates:

  • IN-PERSON – Saturday, November 17 (10-11am ET)
  • ON ZOOM – Wednesday, December 20 (8-9pm ET)

About Becky Bindrim

My name is Becky. I am a mother (of 2), wife, daughter, sister (to 3), friend, and thriver. I was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) at the age of 34 while nursing my then 14-month-old daughter. In those first few weeks I felt every single emotion there was to feel… scared, confused, grateful for another day. My oncologist at the time had referred me to the Young Adults with MBC support group at the Smith Center and it brought comfort. My concerns were validated, my anxiety eased, I felt “seen” by everyone who is walking this path with me. I was no longer alone, I was hopeful.

I am excited to co-facilitate this group and help bring comfort and support to every young adult living with this disease. This population faces unique challenges; some of us have young children, others never got the opportunity to have kids, some are trying to manage side effects while working full-time, others have quit their job and pursued their true passion. We have created a beautiful community and welcome those recently diagnosed and those who have been thriving for years.

About Samara Spence

My name is Samara. I live in Washington, DC, with my husband and 2 cats. I moved to DC in 2014 to work in the government as an attorney, and I’m still a lawyer in my professional life. I was diagnosed with MBC at age 40 after finding a lump in my own breast. Since then, my world has been turned upside down. I’ve had to learn new skills, new boundaries, and an entirely new language — I joke that I’m working on the unofficial graduate degree I never wanted in breast cancer oncology. The Young Adults with MBC group has been a silver lining for me. These amazing young people are knowledgeable, helpful, honest, and, above all, give me hope. I’m honored to co-facilitate this group with Becky.

In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, please click the RSVP button above or email programs@smithcenter.org.

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

with Denise Feldman

Stitching Together

Stitched Together

We’re all part of the same cloth…

Join us for a Stitching Circle! Denise Feldman, a local mixed-media artist and cancer thriver, hosts this monthly gathering in (virtual) community as we talk and stitch—a powerful meditative and healing practice. Gathering as many have done for centuries, Denise will share tips and ideas for using needle and thread to bring joy and creativity to our everyday lives. Use her ideas to jump start your own, or bring your favorite hand work projects and join us for community stitching time!

 

This community stitching circle is for you! For example, maybe you’ve been hand sewing for years; you might be interested in exploring the recent revival of the “slow-stitch” movement; maybe you are are a needle pointer with a project to finish. Or, you might simply enjoy the meditative nature of hand making with needle and thread.

 

You may consider bringing:

  • needles and thread,
  • an old pair of jeans or other clothing that was headed to charity,
  • left over fabric from another project,
  • or simply bring yourself for some (virtual) time in community.

Stitched Together will be offered Monthly on Saturdays 10:00 – 11:30am ET. 

Suggested Donation: $10


About Denise Feldman

Denise Feldman is a local mixed media artist who discovered the power of creativity as a healing practice after her treatment for breast cancer in 2014. As a creative ‘dabbler’ who loves working with various materials and surfaces, Denise shares her mixed media processes and soulful perspective with the hope of inspiring others to tell their stories ‘on and off the page’ and clear space for life’s chapters yet to come.

“My philosophy is simply that telling our stories helps us heal by giving us the space to process our own experiences and connect with each other. Getting our stories out from our hearts and our heads helps make room for the next chapter to happen…the one just waiting there in the wings.” ~Denise

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 Kenneth Johnson

A Healing Circle: Gay Men with Prostate Cancer

We are a group of gay men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer or who are recovering from treatment that offer support to each other. In a peer-led community, we share our experiences and understanding to help one another best deal with our own personal situations.


The Healing Circle for Gay Men with Prostate Cancer meets Monthly on the 4th Thursday from 7:00pm – 8:30pm ET.


About Kenneth Johnson

Kenneth Johnson

Kenneth Johnson, of Owings Mills, MD, is a founding member and facilitator of the Healing Circle Supporting Gay Men with Prostate Cancer hosted at the Smith Center since October 2018. Kenneth’s prostate cancer diagnosis in 2016 at the age of 50 began, not with any symptoms of a problem, but due to a vigilant doctor who was aware of black men’s higher cancer risk and encouraged earlier screening. Blood tests showed a rising PSA that triggered the need for a biopsy. Kenneth underwent surgery and radiation later in 2016. Before volunteering with the support group, Kenneth volunteered with many LGBTQ+ organizations and community non-profits in Atlanta, GA.

Professionally, Kenneth retired in 2021 after 34 years of federal service as an information technology analyst. Now, he is often on the highways with his octogenarian parents visiting family and friends around the country. You can catch up with Kenneth at the local gym or track working up a good sweat to offset his time in the kitchen cooking for and eating with his parents. At other times, you will find him enjoying his monthly book club selection, stressing over a Ravens game (or Orioles or Alabama football), chuckling at a corny Hallmark movie, or tackling (and possibly regretting) an HGTV-inspired home project.

Despite the cloud of prostate cancer, Kenneth sees the silver lining as the community of wonderful souls that have befriended him through the Smith Center and the healing circle for gay men with prostate cancer.