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 Mindy Brodsky, LCSWA and Lauren Broschak, MSW, LICSW, OSW-C

This bi-monthly cancer support group provides participants with the opportunity to explore their experience with cancer in a safe group setting with a trained social worker and to connect with others who are facing a similar challenge. This group is designed specifically for individuals that have been diagnosed with cancer.


The Cancer Support Group meets Bi-Monthly on Mondays from 6:00-7:30pm.


About Mindy Brodsky, LCSWA

Mindy Brodsky

Mindy Brodsky specializes in trauma-informed, strengths-based counseling with a passion for integrative health and healing. Mindy honors her clients as the experts of their lives, and she strives to provide a supportive and safe environment.
After a career in social justice advocacy and her own challenging health journey, Mindy aspires to meet her clients where they are to help them achieve their goals.

About Lauren Broschak, MSW, LICSW, OSW-C

Lauren Broschak

Lauren is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in DC and Virginia. She has both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Social Work, and has been working full-time in oncology social work for over six years. She developed her passion for oncology in Michigan where she worked at Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit supporting those touched by cancer. Since moving to the Metro DC Area she has worked at the GW Cancer Center in Washington, DC and is now an Oncology Clinical Therapist at Life with Cancer in Virginia. Lauren is passionate about supporting this community, and specializes in sexual wellness after cancer and working with Adolescents and Young Adults.

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 6:30-8:00pm 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.

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

Moving Into Darkness Toward Light

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.

The ancient Celtic calendar marks moments in which the light visibly shifts as openings to spirit and ritual. We’ll mark our own seasonal awareness, as the days shorten toward solstice, and again just after the spring equinox, collecting images and feelings to create our own “word paintings” (in the words of Yosa Buson, haiku master).

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 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.

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

This monthly virtual group is for Stage 1 – 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.

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 Elizabeth Belanger

In Partnership with GW Cancer Center & Cancer Support Community

This monthly support group is designed for adults diagnosed with cancer who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. The group will be facilitated by culturally competent social workers, who will provide a safe space to connect with others and explore your own unique experience with cancer.


The LGBTQ+ Cancer Support Group meets monthly on the 4th Wednesday from 6:00-7:00pm ET.


About Elizabeth Belanger

Elizabeth Belanger is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) in Washington DC. Elizabeth received her BA in Psychology with minors in Women’s Studies and Sociology from Elon University and a Master’s in Social Work from Simmons University. Elizabeth strives to provide therapy that is client lead and trauma-informed. She is continuously seeking education on the latest techniques in culturally humble and trauma-informed therapy practices. Elizabeth currently works here in DC at Capitol Hill Consortium for Counseling and Consultation (CCCC) with young adults and adults, with issues pertaining to anxiety, depression, chronic illness, trauma, LGBTQ, and women’s issues.

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 Project Knitwell and Friends

Knitting Circle on the Couch

Join us weekly to enjoy knitting in a safe and welcoming environment. Knitting can provide a respite from one’s immediate situation, serve as a way to productively pass the time, and have a positive effect on reducing stress symptoms.

 

Knitting is:

  • relatively easy to learn,
  • requires no artistic talent or prior experience,
  • portable,
  • and results in a useful product.

Sometimes referred to as the “new yoga” — plain and simple — knitting is good for you.

 

Trained volunteers will provide knitting instruction and quality materials in an effort to foster wellness, comfort, and community. Beginner and experienced knitters are welcome. Starter kits are available, as is a small selection of yarn and knitting supplies.

 

Stone Soup Films and Project Knitwell created a beautiful 3-minute video highlighting the health benefits of knitting. Watch the video here!


Our Knitting Circle meets Weekly on Wednesdays from 3:00 – 4:30pm ET.

Our programs are open to the community and tailored to meet the needs of people affected by cancer. Classes and workshops are free or low cost on a pay-as-you-can basis, ensuring that our programs are accessible to everyone.


Looking for more intimate knitting instruction? Check out Project Knitwell’s new program, Knitwell in the Cloud, for ongoing, one-on-one knitting instruction via Zoom.


About Project Knitwell

Project Knitwell

Project Knitwell offers knitting as a tool to promote wellness and help people cope with stressful situations at more than a dozen hospital and community settings.

All of Project Knitwell’s programming is provided by volunteers, and services and supplies are provided free of charge to the people we serve.

Project Knitwell volunteers provide knitting instruction and quality materials in an effort to foster wellness, comfort, and community among those we serve.