As the summer months come to a close and communities prepare for a new school year, we reflect on our summer as well as look ahead at upcoming events for Kara. Just a few short days ago, we held our 9th annual Camp Erin, serving 86 campers out at Camp Arroyo in Livermore. It was an amazing weekend filled with comfort, connections, and plenty of heat! Be sure to check out our Facebook page for more pictures and videos from the weekend! As we’ve just wrapped up camp, we are also wrapping up our Mid-Year Fund Appeal. If you haven’t yet given to support the work we do for the youth and families in our community, please consider giving a mid-year gift (and read below to see how your gift could be doubled!). For those of you who have given, thank you so very much! Your support makes all the difference!
Thank you for your continued support of our mission and allowing us to provide grief support to our community.
Help us meet our match!
Please consider making a donation to Kara to double the impact of your gift! Thanks to the generosity of the Sobrato Family Foundation, for every new or increased dollar we receive from supporters like you, the Sobrato Family Foundation will match it – times two – up to $27,000! That’s every dollar doubled by our Sobrato Family Foundation Challenge Grant!
With every dollar raised, we can help bring hope and meaning to children and adults along their grief journey. Thank you so much for your support!
Kara Spotlight: Jimmy Lichtenstein
In our Kara Spotlight section each month, we will highlight individuals from within our Kara community. This month, we highlight Jimmy Lichtenstein, who has also just come back from being a counselor at Camp Erin! After a career spanning thirty-five years in emergency services, including Coast Guard, ambulance work, and fire department, Jimmy returned to his earlier interest in working with people in a different kind of meaningful way. Along with his main career, he had adventures in small businesses of many kinds, and has spent time in school, currently wrapping up his doctorate program.
How did you get involved with Kara?
After our son died a few years ago, my wife became a peer counselor with Kara, and I returned to the University of San Francisco to complete a master’s degree in counseling psychology. In searching for an internship, she pointed out that Kara had such an opportunity available. I applied and was lucky to be accepted into the therapy program.
You help facilitate the Teen group in Kara’s Youth & Family program. Do you think teens differ from adults in their grief process? Why?
Teens and young adults tend to “bottle up” their emotional response to grief, usually waiting for others around them to adjust and adapt to the tragedy. I don’t think this is a conscious thing, but as young people, we have that tendency to internalize our troubles without knowing why. Often, grief in younger people surfaces in other ways that affect our behavior and our tolerance for others.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about grief in your time with Kara?
Talk it out. In those moments when I have felt my own grief well up, it has helped me to have someone who can just listen and feel it along with me. I think the most important service that Kara offers is to put those who are grieving together with people who are going through their own grief experience, and who truly understand what it takes to begin healing. When we talk about our own experience it helps us to organize and understand what those feelings are, and what they mean to us. To sit with someone who is just a few paces further along that path than we are is amazingly powerful. We get the gift of their wisdom and learning.
In your opinion, what makes Kara unique?
As I mentioned, Kara has that special ability to put people together with counselors who are well matched to the kind of loss that we have experienced. Peer counseling is so valuable because it seems that only someone who has suffered the death of their person can really “get it” when we express ourselves. The Kara counselors are empathic and very understanding. Kara enjoys a very strong position in this way, because very few organizations offer the kind connection that Kara stands for.
Outside of volunteering at Kara, what are you passionate about?
I enjoy life in so many ways. I love learning and the challenge of education in all its forms. I’m completing a new degree program and I’m looking forward to facing a dissertation writing adventure. I also enjoy travel and learning about life in other places. There’s so much to see and experience in life.
Join us this fall as instructor Robert Cusick invites us to choose empathy and compassion rather than defaulting to ‘reactivity’ and shutting-down or burning out when confronted with life’s inevitable challenges.
This 8-week course will help you learn new skills to cultivate compassion, discover what blocks it and new ways to access and respond to the unending demands and needs that are increasingly a part of our professional and ‘daily life’ experience.
Dates: Wednesdays from 7:00 – 9:00 pm, Sept. 14 – Nov. 2, 2016
Location: First Presbyterian Church, Library Lounge | 1140 Cowper Street, Palo Alto (Behind Kara)
Upcoming Caregivers Forum:
Kara offers support for caregivers through our Caregivers Forum which brings people together for presentations, group discussions, individual support, and training in skills that can help navigate the many challenges and demands of caregiving.
Our next Caregivers Forum will be held Thursday, Sept. 8th. The Caregivers Forum is designed to anyone charged or entrusted with the responsibility of caregiving. It is open to professional caregivers, as well as those providing care to family, friends or clients across a broad spectrum of needs that include chronic or life-threatening illnesses to caring for and accompanying others through their personal experience of grief.
Learn more or register for this upcoming event by visiting our site.
Spanish Program Community Outreach in Gilroy:
Recently, Kara hosted an all-Spanish training at St. Mary’s in Gilroy. In a day’s worth of training, Jaymie Byron, Director of Community Outreach and Education, along with Maria Berardi, MFT, Spanish Services program consultant, supported 22 congregation members hoping to provide comfort and care to those in their community dealing with end-of-life situations and in grief. All materials, including videos, presentations, and handouts, were in Spanish and covered topics such as grief and the grief process, having a compassionate presence, active listening, interpersonal skills, and self care.
We are so grateful to be able to serve this community and thankful for Jaymie and the volunteers that went out with her! Thank you!
Get Ready for our Walk’n’Run to Remember!
This year marks Kara’s 9th annual Walk’n’Run to Remember! Mark your calendars as our walk will be held on Saturday, October 15th once again at Mitchell Park!
Registration for this wonderful community event is now open! Be sure to check out our event site for up to date information on the event, volunteer or sponsorship opportunities, and fundraising teams status! For any questions, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you there as we honor a loved one and support the journey.
PARTNER & ADVOCACY CORNER
We Are Grateful For You!
A special thank you this month goes out to Sobrato Family Foundation. Their partnership and generous gifts make a real difference in the lives of children, families, and adults in our community working with their grief. WE THANK YOU!