January/February 2015

Family Evening At Ann's Place

By Laura Donnelly, MSW, LCSW

Ann’s Place hosted a fun and festive evening in December for families with young children who are impacted by cancer. It was an opportunity for families to relax and have fun together. Clinical Social Workers, Martha Shilstone and Laura Donnelly along with six teen volunteers from Brookfield High School, led the evening with games, activities, gingerbread house building and a light dinner. We are looking forward to planning more of these events for Ann’s Place families in the coming year.

 

Midweek Mindfulness

by Kevin Berrill, MSW, LCSW

A Mindfulness Bell 

A Mindfulness Bell 

Moments. Our lives are a just a series of moments. So often we get caught in thoughts about the past and the future that we miss this moment…and this moment. During Midweek Mindfulness we slow down, and pay attention in a relaxed, friendly, non-judgmental way to whatever this moment brings. 

When we meditate, as in life, our experience is constantly changing and swings back and forth along the spectrum of pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. Meditation practice offers an opportunity to observe the constant flux of life, to let go, and to return again and again to the breath and the body and the moment. This gentle letting go sometimes brings with it deep feelings of peace, ease, and contentment. When dark and difficult moments arise, we make room for them, too, knowing they are workable if we touch them lightly with awareness one moment at a time. Even boring moments, when closely observed, have much to teach us.

Each Midweek Mindfulness meeting is 75-minutes long. After introductions, I usually share a brief reading about mindfulness and then lead the group in a guided 35-minute meditation. Following the meditation there is time for questions and discussion about mindfulness and daily life. Participants in Midweek Mindfulness report that they experience real benefit from sharing about meditation practice and about what it means to be human in this world of suffering and delight.

If you are interested in attending Midweek Mindfulness, please drop in any Wednesday @ noon. No experience with meditation is required or expected.


Health Equity Initiative

By Catherine McGrath, Director of Development 

Our efforts continue to partner with the Multicultural Center of Danbury (Centro) to offer Ann’s Place cancer support services to a broader range of non-English speaking communities in the Greater Danbury area. We plan to seek funding to hire a part time, bilingual LCSW to be housed in a building next to CENTRO (owned by Family Child Aid). Family Child Aid has offered us space for free. We continue to partner with BI Cares, the Hispanic Federation, United Way of Western CT, and the Tribuna, as well as other local individuals who have expressed interest in helping us.

Join us on Saturday, March 14 for An Evening of Latin Dance & Entertainment to kick off the initiative! Join local latin dance duo Jay Bardalai & Laura Kara at Ann's Place for an evening of dancing, food, and other fun activities. Click here for details & to register!  

Smarter Eating Demo Coming to Ann's Place

Ann’s Place is excited to host Kim Wien, chef extraordinaire, and Tim Bayley, nutritional scientist, as they collaborate to present a Smarter Eating Demo At Ann’s Place. Kim will show you step by step how to prepare quick, easy, healthful and delicious snacks or meals as well as share the best places to shop and how best to store foods. Tim will offer comedic color commentary on scrumptious healthy nutrients and food chemistry, as well as provide you with a healthy foods checklist, nutrition and cancer fact sheets, and where to find free credible nutrition information.

Be on the lookout for Kim & Tim's Smarter Eating on our March calendar! Join us and take one small step in the direction of smarter eating.