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 Melanie Edwards

Melanie & Student

Singer, songwriter and musician, Melanie Edwards, recently launched Musical Mending Workshops which can be curated for any specific healing modality, be it collectively or individually. The workshops help with memory, cognition, expression, general well being and are just plain fun for participants. In addition, the classes focus on teaching techniques to manage grief, anxiety, depression and many more ailments by administering sonic techniques to relieve stress, help find inner peace and express authenticity. She often uses different instruments & singing skills to activate relaxation, calm the mind and nourish the soul. This is not about performing or being a professional singer, but rather a shared experience of collective sound healing in the present moment for the whole family. Participants are free to join or simply observe in shared space, as well as bring their own mantras, words or poems to self reflect and express via musical mending.


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 Melanie Edwards

Melanie Edwards

Melanie Edwards is an award-winning singer, songwriter, pianist, violinist, music practitioner and tv/film composer. She holds a master’s degree (MFA) in music from The Savannah College of Art and Design and is certified in Mental Health First Aid USA by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. She has 25 years experience as a performing artist and expressive healer with several partner charities and organizations, such as: National Theatre DC and Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. In addition, she is the resident pianist for Clyde’s Restaurant and has performed at Gypsy Sally’s, The Henley Park Hotel, Beacon Bar and Grill and Peruvian Ambassador Castilla’s Residence in Washington, DC. She is also a regular performer at Rockwood Music Hall, in New York City.

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.

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 Julia Rowland, Ph.D.

Caregiving for a loved one or friend with a serious illness is hard enough. Add concern about a pandemic virus to the mix, and the result can be high levels of anxiety, stress, and poor physical well-being. In this conversation we will discuss the burdens and benefits of caregiving, impact of COVID on these, and tools to maximize caregivers’ personal health and resilience.


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 Julia Rowland, Ph.D.

Julia Rowland Senior Strategic Advisor

Julia Rowland, PhD, who joined Smith Center in October 2017, comes to this position as a long-time clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of psychosocial aspects of cancer. She has worked with and conducted competitively funded research among both pediatric and adult cancer survivors and their families, and published broadly in psycho-oncology, including co-editing, along with Dr. Jimmie Holland, the ground-breaking text, Handbook of Psychooncology.  She has also been a frequent speaker on cancer survivorship, or life after cancer, for both professional and lay audiences.

Julia received her PhD in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in psychosocial oncology. While at MSKCC, where she held joint appointments in pediatrics and neurology, Julia helped to develop and was the first Director of the Post-Treatment Resource Program, one of the first non-medical survivorship care programs to be offered by a major cancer center in the U.S. In 1990 she moved with her husband and two young children to Washington, DC to become founding Director of the Psycho-Oncology Program at Georgetown University and the Lombardi Cancer Center. There she helped expand services to meet the psychosocial needs of cancer patients and families, launched some of the first quality of life clinical trials, and also introduced a program to enable first-year medical students to learn the art of caring for those living through and beyond cancer from survivors themselves and Lombardi faculty. Nine years later, in September of 1999, she was recruited to the National Cancer Institute to become the first, full-time Director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship, a position in which she served for 18 years, championing the growth of survivorship research and care, before stepping down in September 2017 to assume her new role at Smith Center. Although new to the team, Julia is no stranger to Smith Center. She knew Smith Center’s founder, Barbara Smith Coleman, and has volunteered her expertise across the years as a speaker, group leader and staff member for both the 1-day and weeklong residential retreats. Julia brings to her new role a passion to translate what research has taught us about healing in the context of cancer to the broader community, in essence, taking the science of survivorship from the lab bench to the park bench.

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 Harpreet Gujral, DNP, FNP-BC

We will discuss what self-compassion is and learn about it’s 3 elements. We will learn practice tools to cultivate self-compassion for our own healing and for loving others.


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 Harpreet Gujral, DNP, FNP-BC

Harpreet Gujral DNP, FNP-BC is both a clinician and healthcare administrator who brings three decades of experience in various clinical areas. She helped with the launch of Johns Hopkins Sibley Integrative Medicine (SIM), both as the Program Director and Nurse Practitioner. She currently co-leads this program by directing and managing day-to-day operations of SIM and provides integrative medicine consultations. She is a Family Nurse practitioner and most recently served as Program Director and Nurse Practitioner at the Sibley Weight Loss Surgery department. She helped create and lead a successful multidisciplinary medical weight-loss program at a community hospital. Additionally, she has served as Senior Practice Advisor at the American Nurses Association.
She received her Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree focusing on Integrative Health and Healing track at University of Minnesota under mentorship of Dr. Mary Jo Kreitzer. She has a deep interest and is well informed in modalities like Aromatherapy, Guided Imagery, including various Eastern modalities such as Ayurveda, Mindfulness, and Meditation that are enhanced by her roots in India. She deeply believes in one’s inner capacity to heal. Additionally, she has also completed Integrative Nurse Coach certificate program with Dr. Barbara Dossey and Susan Luck. She is currently enrolled in the 2-year Meditation Teacher Training with Drs. Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield.
Her interests include mindful eating, self-compassion, healthy cooking, mindful pausing, health coaching that brings together various aspects of integrative health. She enjoys uplifting and nurturing her colleagues using mindful pause, appreciation Qi Gong and the practice of gratitude. She loves to walk in the nature with her family and friends, engage in music and poetry.