This month is truly dedicated to the theme of our 40th Anniversary: Showing care and compassion for others, making connections, and building community. With dates and causes like Black History Month, Make a Friend Day (2/11), Valentine’s Day (2/14), Random Acts of Kindness Day (2/17), and of course, President’s Day (2/20), February expands on the notion of love and is continuing our celebration quite nicely!
This month’s newsletter is filled with exciting updates from Kara, such as tables and tickets are now available for sale to our 40th Anniversary Celebration Fundraiser! Be sure to read on to learn more about what’s coming up.
Thank you for all you do to support Kara. We look forward to celebrating this momentous year with you!
Kara Spotlight: Naomi Seid-Cronkite
For our Kara Spotlight this month, we highlight individuals from within our Kara community. This month, we highlight Naomi Seid-Cronkite, who has been volunteering with Kara for 25 years! Naomi, originally from Maine, holds her Masters Degree in Counseling and Community Mental Health. She received training as a therapist at the Boston Family institute with a focus on co-therapy. She also trained at the Boston V.A. as well as at a community agency counselling women managing their sexual identities. After moving to California, Naomi worked in the high tech industry as a Human Resources Specialist, manager and program designer. These many varied roles in her life have helped her to understand and hear the bigger picture when it comes to working closely with people.
How did you get involved in Kara?
I became a counselor at Kara in 1992. I was working in High Tech at ROLM and then at IBM as a Human Resource specialist supporting managers, supervisors, and Engineers. While I enjoyed the work, there was something missing for me. I missed the depth of connection with another person at work, something to make the work more personally meaningful to me. I was working with a bio-feedback professional and when I shared my longing for a more deeply human connection and a more meaningful work life, she recommended I come to Kara to explore becoming a peer counselor.
In my almost 25 years with Kara, I’ve held various roles, including leadership, which I really believe my work in high tech prepared me for! Along with currently working as a peer-support counselor for adults, I was also an initial member of the Community Outreach team when it first formed, a counselor supervisor, Director of Adult Services, and even Board President! There are no places in my life besides my intimate relationships with friends and family where I feel as rewarded by the experiences I have as I do here.
What do you think distinguishes Kara from other bereavement services?
I think the quality of Kara’s training and support for counselors sets us apart from other grief counseling agencies. As a peer counselor and group facilitator, I am encouraged to be myself and trust myself. I am very well supported in my role which allows me to provide these much-needed services to those grieving in our community. This heart-work and tremendous support is incredibly fulfilling and coupled with the amazing support from the staff, it keeps me here! I’m very proud of Kara and of my work here.
What do you know about grief work now that you would’ve appreciated knowing as a new volunteer?
When I went through the training as a beginner, I was startled to have to think about my own death. It can feel challenging to first work with someone in grief when you get ‘thrown in the water’, but you have to remind yourself you know how to swim! It is such an enriching experience.
What is one area of growth you’d like to see for Kara over the next few years?
I have watched Kara become more professional and grow in maturity over my 25 years in terms of the organization itself and the level and quality of volunteers. An area of growth for Kara would be working with people my age. Loss is imminent and impending, both for yourself and everyone in your life who is close in age to you. There isn’t really a place for this group to talk about what it’s like to be older, to not be able to do things you once used to do (like run up a set of stairs!). The issue of one’s own death, loss of skills, loss of facility and physical ability… there’s a lot of grief available there. I’d like to see this group touched on or helped in some kind of way.
What and how do you implement self-care into your life?
At some point in my life, my work at Kara became my work life so self-care is incredibly important and it changes also! It could be nurturing my various creative expressions, spending time with friends, and sometimes even TV helps a lot. For me now, my self-care is primarily spending time alone being quiet or sitting with my dogs, reading, making myself a cup of tea, or puttering in the yard. I recover in those ways, being by myself. My husband is a great partner for this because he is more of an introvert! We can be companionable and quiet or he’ll listen as I share my day. Self-care is what I do for myself to help me ‘let go’.
Describe what Kara means to you.
My work at Kara gives me the opportunity to use my skills and talents to support others working through their grief, and then to encourage them on their way to a new life. More so, Kara in the community is a gift! For example, the business of supporting the schools in the wake of a death is a wonderful gift that Kara gives the community and deserves to be acknowledged.
On March 31, 2017, Kara will be offering a workshop that discusses the reinvention after Spouse Loss. This half-day workshop will be held at the Kara offices in Palo Alto and is designed for widows and widowers at least one year out from their loss. Led by Kara peer-support volunteers, this workshop will address such questions as, “Who am I now?” and “What do I want in my life going forward?”
The workshop will be held on Friday, March 31, 2017 from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm. There is a suggested donation of $50. To find out more about or to register for the workshop, please call our office at 650-321-5272 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suicide Survivors Group begins February 21, 2017
The group provides a safe and supportive environment for adults who are grieving to share their experiences and feelings as well as learn about the grieving process. It is designed for adults who have had a family member or close friend die as a result of suicide.
Group will meet at the Kara offices on
Tuesdays at 7:00 to 8:30 pm.
An initial interview is required before enrolling in the group. Although no fee is required for participating in this group, regular donations are suggested and appreciated. Please contact us for more information or to set up your interview.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Training Offered in March!
Kara is offering this 9-week class to our Spanish-speaking community on Saturdays starting March 25, 2017 through May 20, 2017. In this course, participants will learn to identify, observe, and respond to stress in mindful ways.
Meetings will take place regularly on Saturdays from 9:30 am – 12:00 pm.
There will also be an intensive MBSR practice day held on Saturday, May 6th from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. For more information or to register for the training, please contact Andrea Cordovez at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Thursday, February 16 at 8:00 pm, join George Hayward, JD/MBA degree candidate at Stanford, as he performs his “motivational comedy” and “jokes with a point”. This is a free show and any proceeds raised from George’s event will be donated to Kara, as he found a special connection with our agency after the Candlelight Service last December held at the Stanford Memorial Church. Thank you George!
PARTNER & ADVOCACY CORNER
We are GRATEFUL for YOU!
A very special thank you this month goes out to Emily Benatar Foundation, Adobe Foundation, EF Harris Family Foundation and Sobrato Family Foundation Foundation. Their partnerships and generous gifts make a real difference in the lives of children, families, and adults in our community working with their grief and we couldn’t continue this work without you. THANK YOU!