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 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.

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 Rachel Ress, MSW, LICSW

In Partnership with Cancer Support Community

Survivorship Support Group

This group is designed for cancer survivors who have completed their primary cancer treatment(s) and are now either post-treatment or on maintenance medication (such as hormonal therapy). Cancer can be emotionally and physically draining — many times we aren’t able to fully process the experience until after treatment is over and we are trying to get back to our “normal” lives. The struggle and expectation to find “normal” again can also be an overwhelming process. This group is a space where you can talk openly about these issues and process the trauma of cancer with other survivors.

The Survivorship Support Group will meet Monthly on the 2nd Tuesday from 6:30-7:30pm ET.


About Rachel Ress, MSW, 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 hosted in-person. To register, please click the RSVP button above or email programs@smithcenter.org.

With Chef Kara Garrett

We’re thrilled to announce that our Supper Club is back! Join other young adult cancer survivors around the table to share a delicious meal and good conversation in Smith Center’s healing kitchen. You will assist Chef Kara with making fresh pita bread to enjoy alongside a Middle Eastern-inspired dinner menu. You will learn how to make a quick pita dough*, roll, and watch your pita puff as you learn to cook them in the oven or on the stovetop. You will then use your fresh-made pita to make a delicious apple stuffed dessert. You will even get to take home pita dough to make at home! The best part of the evening is coming together to enjoy the fruits of your labor along with a full menu provided by Chef Kara. The menu includes:

  • Beet Hummus
  • Babaghanoush
  • Yogurt Dip with Herbed Garlic oil (contains dairy)
  • Fattoush salad
  • Vegetable Maqluba (“upside-down” layered rice)
  • Stuffed Pita Pies

Partners/Caregivers/Friends are welcome to attend. BYOB. The supper club will have a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 14 participants. Please RSVP no later than Tuesday, March 5th to confirm attendance. When registering, please indicate any guest(s) that will be joining you. If you are interested in assisting Chef Kara prepare the meal, please contact us at programs@smithcenter.org or 202.483.8600.

*Please contact us in advance to accommodate gluten restrictions, as well as any other dietary allergies or preferences. Menu subject to change based on ingredient availability and class size. Every individual’s needs are unique. We aim to offer a variety of health-promoting options for each individual to consider, but do not prescribe the specific dietary content of any program for anyone.

Address: 

Smith Center for Healing and the Arts

1632 U Street NW

Washington, DC 20009

Suggested Donation: $15


About Chef Kara Garrett

Kara Garrett Cancer Support Program Coordinator

Kara Garrett is a health-supportive chef based in Washington, DC. Following her breast cancer diagnosis in 2013, she embraced the challenge of finding a balance between her foodie lifestyle and eating well with cancer. Kara is a graduate of the Chef Training Program at Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC, trained under Chef Lillian Chou at The Ananda Ashram Yoga Society of New York, and completed a graduate certificate in Developing Healthy Communities: Nutrition, Behavior, and Physical Activity from Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She is passionate about working with others to encourage healthier food choices and develop sustainable food relationships that energize the body and the soul.

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 Erin Price, LICSW, OSW-C and Rachel Ress, MSW, LICSW

This monthly virtual group is for Stage 0 – 3 Breast Cancer patients and survivors and is open to those newly diagnosed, in treatment, or in survivorship. Come join others dealing with the issues and impacts of a breast cancer diagnosis. All meetings are hosted using Zoom. This group is hosted in partnership with Medstar Washington Hospital Center , Cancer Support Community, and Smith Center for Healing and the Arts.

You can also register for this group by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.


The Breast Cancer Support Group meets Monthly on the 1st Tuesday from 6:00-7:00pm ET.


About Rachel Ress, MSW, 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.

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 ten-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 the Association of Oncology Social Workers, the Young Survival Coalition, the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates, and the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

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 Jessica Gelfarb, MSW, LICSW & Sara Richman, LICSW, GW Cancer Center 

This monthly support group is designed for adult patients/survivors diagnosed with gynecologic cancers (including cervical, endometrial, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar cancers) and their caregivers. The group will incorporate education lectures coupled with emotional support and is hosted by and offered in partnership with the GW Cancer Center.

GW Cancer Center Head and Neck Cancer Support Group


The Gynecologic Cancer Support Group meets Monthly on the 1st Tuesday from 11:00am-12:00pm ET. 


About Jessica Gelfarb, MSW, LICSW

Jessica Gelfarb

Jessica is a licensed clinical social worker who has experience working with patients and families facing a range of medical diagnoses in both inpatient and outpatient settings.  She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from University of Michigan and her masters degree in social work from University of Maryland with a focus on clinical and medical social work. Jessica recently joined the team at the George Washington University  cancer center as an oncology social worker. Prior to her role at GW Jessica worked extensively with organ transplant patients at Medstar Georgetown Transplant Institute and co-led the institute’s transplant support group. She has also spent time working on cardiology and intensive care units throughout her career.  Jessica initially became interested in pursuing oncology social work after attending the Association of Oncology Social Work’s annual conference a number of years ago as well as observing first- hand the widespread impact that cancer has on so many individuals and families.   She is passionate about partnering with patients in order to provide psychosocial and emotional support as they navigate their diagnosis and treatment.

About Sara Richman, LICSW

Sara Richman, LICSW is a licensed and certified oncology clinical social worker (OSW-C). She received her masters in social work (MSW) at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. Prior to working at GW, Sara was an oncology clinical social worker at MedStar Washington Hospital Center where she worked with all types of blood cancers and disorders.

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 Lauren Powell, RDN, LDN, GW Cancer Center

GW Cancer Center

GW Cancer Center Nutrition Club

Nutrition Club is a chance for patients, survivors, caregivers and providers to get together to discuss nutrition topics and learn more about how nutrition can play a role in cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship. It is hosted and offered in partnership with GW Cancer Center.


Nutrition Club will be hosted Monthly on the 1st Monday from 12-1pm ET.


About Lauren Powell, RDN, LDN

Lauren Powell

Lauren Powell (RDN, LDN) is a registered dietitian working in the DC area. She has served in many settings including food services, long-term care, rehab facilities, post-surgical, and intensive care units. While working at George Washington University Hospital she found her passion for Oncology Nutrition. She now works as the Dietitian for the GW Cancer Center helping to support the nutrition needs of those undergoing treatment and survivors.

About 2Unstoppable

2Unstoppable is a non-profit whose mission is to encourage and support exercise among women who have had a cancer diagnosis. Free online fitness buddy matching, oncology fitness resources, and community events at www.2unstoppable.org. Please visit https://2unstoppable.org/events/ for a list of upcoming events.

This program is being offered in-person. To register, please click the RSVP button above or email programs@smithcenter.org.

with Chef Cathryn Pethick

 

A Season to Celebrate! Cooking Class

It’s a season to celebrate as cold Winter fades and the warm vitality of Spring arises! Especially by nourishing ourselves with simple, whole foods that show the best of both seasons, loaded with all the goodness Nature intends, with Winter’s sweet roots and Spring’s fresh greens, healing herbs and spices: nutrient dense, easily digestible, anti-inflammatory and immune supportive benefits- and absolutely delicious! In this vegetarian, hands-on cooking class, we’ll share the preparation of a cuppa healing tea, warm soup, a protein-rich slider, fresh cool salad, and even a healthy sweet. O yum!

And, check out more of Chef Cathryn’s programs on our YouTube channel, under “Nutrition & Cooking.”

Suggested Donation: $20


About Cathryn Pethick

Cathryn Pethick

Cathryn Pethick, AA, AYS, C-IAYT is a certified yoga therapist and teacher, Ayurveda specialist, and professional chef- whole foods cooking and nutrition instructor. She shares those skills with private clients through her own Well-Being, founded in 2012, and is on staff with Maryland University of Integrative Health’s Masters in Nutrition degree program. At Smith Center, Cathryn teaches cooking and nutrition classes, gentle yoga, and contributes to Smith Center’s wonderful integrative cancer support retreats as chef and yoga therapist. She has decades of experience in diverse culinary settings, practicing/teaching yoga from a therapeutic perspective, meditation, and the study of Ayurveda, diverse spiritual and philosophical traditions, and Oriental healing/martial arts. Cathryn shares the intention of nourishing well-being for us individually and as a collective with yoga, meditation and food-as-medicine, by cultivating the healing power of balance, optimal nutrition that supports our vitality, and compassionate presence that nurtures us all.

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 Rachel Ress, MSW, LICSW

In Partnership with Cancer Support Community

Survivorship Support Group

This group is designed for cancer survivors who have completed their primary cancer treatment(s) and are now either post-treatment or on maintenance medication (such as hormonal therapy). Cancer can be emotionally and physically draining — many times we aren’t able to fully process the experience until after treatment is over and we are trying to get back to our “normal” lives. The struggle and expectation to find “normal” again can also be an overwhelming process. This group is a space where you can talk openly about these issues and process the trauma of cancer with other survivors.

The Survivorship Support Group will meet Monthly on the 2nd Tuesday from 6:30-7:30pm ET.


About Rachel Ress, MSW, 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. 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.