Grief Awareness Open House

On February 18th from 2-8 pm at St. Peter’s Church in Monroe CT, The Tony Brown Foundation will be holding a Hope, Healing and Friendship open house to provide a place where our community can come  to share, explore and help or be helped while dealing with grief issues.  While this is not an event targeted to Sandy Hook, it has come from an observed and expressed need to understand and help the community sort through the emotions that grief brings to the surface-not only with the victims but within the community and those who interact with them as a whole.

There will be tables set up withFREE resources and representatives from organizations all around the country.  Some of the biggest grief professionals will be there to sit with you one on one or answer any questions or concerns you may have.  This is a wonderful opportunity to learn how you can help yourself or anyone dealing with grief of any kind.  Besides the drop in aspect, we will have a schedule of free events taking place throughout the day.  There will be musical performances, an exercise of relaxation, a discussion about signs from our loved ones, and speakers on sudden loss, nutrition and your well being, proactive grieving and much more.


Tony Brown
March 9, 1985 – July 11, 2009

The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope, and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family.  Mary Lemley our regional leader and Claudia Margitay Balogh our Bridgeport/Stratford and vicinity Chapter Leader will be there to hand out free pamphlets and talk with anyone interested in learning more about this wonderful support group.  Information available will include:

Suggestions for First Responders . . . Dealing with the Sudden Death of a Child
Suggestions for Medical Personnel, Psychologists, Counselors, and Therapists, Teachers and School Counselors, Clergy and Funeral Directors
When a Law Officer Responds to the Death of a Child
Adults Grieving the Death of a Sibling
When a Brother or Sister Dies
The Grief of Grandparents
The Grief of Stepparents
How Can I Help?
When an Employee Is Grieving
When a Coworker Is Grieving


Dr Heidi Horsley from Open to Hope which is the largest an online resource center for people who have experienced loss will be there copies of her books and to speak about sudden loss.  Dr. Heidi is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, and has taught courses on grief and loss, and clinical practice with children for nearly ten years.  She was on a clinical research team with the FDNY-Columbia University Family Guidance Program for 9 years, studying traumatic loss over time in families who lost firefighters in the World Trade Center.   To date, this is the most comprehensive study ever done on 9/11 bereaved families.  Dr. Heidi’s vision is that all people will be able to learn to live with their grief, cope with their pain, and invest in their future.

imgres-3Alan and Denise Pedersen will be there representing Angels Across The USA and Bereaved Parents of the USA.  The Angels Across the USA Tour 2013 is a series of concert/events featuring the music and message of Alan Pedersen.  Alan will be sharing his experiences and perform a few of his powerful songs about love, loss and healing to make for a unique experience you will not soon forget. Alan and Denise bring hope and encouragement to bereaved families, while bringing community awareness and media attention to grief organizations large and small who reach out to these families. Denise will be there also sharing her experience and providing resources from both the Bereaved Parents of the USA and The Angels Across the USA.  BP/USA is a national non-profit self-help group that offers support, understanding, compassion and hope especially to the newly bereaved be they bereaved parents grandparents or siblings struggling to rebuild their lives after the death of their children, grandchildren or siblings.

imgres-2The Grief Tool Box, an on line resource to help find the tools that you need to work through your grief journey will be represented by founders Glen and Tanya Lord.  Its goal is to be an all-encompassing place for grief tools: a singular area where a person can find all the resources they need to help them with that grief that neither time nor money can solve.  They made the top ten list for grief and loss websites on  Glen and Tanya have both been very involved in local chapters of the Compassionate Friends in New Jersey, Massachusetts and New Hampshire as well as with the national organization. Glen founded The Grief Toolbox with the hope of it being an available resource for the bereaved and those who work to help them. Tanya has sought out answers to her own grief, and has become aware of the many dangers that face the public when seeking healthcare. With a new found love of research she pursued a Masters and then a PhD and is currently working to improve the quality of care provided by hospitals.  Glen will be holding a screening of the DVD, “How to walk with the bereaved”.

imgres-4Heartlight Studios is dedicated to Mitch Carmody’s only Son, Kelly James Carmody who died in 1987 of a malignant brain tumor.  Since that day he dedicated his life to serving the bereaved. This site was  created for those whom may find comfort from his artistic creations.  It is also a place for processing your grief, asking questions about the journey, or just writing about your loved one, sharing their life and your loss.  Mitch is the author of Letters To My Son, a Journey Through Grief and the newly released 2nd edition Turning Loss to Legacy. Mitch is currently a staff writer with Living with Loss Magazine and has published many articles for a variety of national grief periodicals, newsletters, and internet sites as well as appearing in many radio and television interviews.  Mitch will be there with free copies of his book and discussing proactive grieving and signs from our loved ones.

As seen on a Sussex Directories Inc siteIn The Spirit of Life provides soul coaching & counseling, grief support, life-affirming rituals & ceremonies, as well as workshops and circles to empower, enhance and inspire sacred growth and celebration.  Andrea Rudolph draws on over 20 years of experience As a social worker, Chaplain, Interfaith Minister & Lifelong spiritual seeker she combines compassionate, non-judgmental listening with mindful, spiritual exploration. She believes this is the first step to the healing of body, mind, heart and spirit that will bring the wholeness and peace we all desire and deserve.  Andrea will hold a session on relaxation exercises and will be available to speak with.

The Arc Sacred Center is a non-profit spiritual community center created for the purpose of offering a gathering place for spiritual exploration and teaching, freedom of spiritual expression, and healing for the body, mind and soul. They will have an informational table set up and someone to answer questions and speak with.

Comfort Zone Camp is a nonprofit 501(c)3 bereavement camp that transforms the lives of children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver. The free camps include confidence building programs and age-based support groups that break the emotional isolation grief often brings. Comfort Zone Camps are offered to children 7-17, and are held year-round across the Country.  CZC provides grieving children with a voice, a place and a community in which to heal, grow and lead more fulfilling lives.
Comfort Zone envisions a world where grieving children are not forgotten or left to grieve alone, and are supported by a wide community that understands and appreciates them.

Maria C. Castillo  will represent her company, Life Between Lives Therapy.  She is a bilingual Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice with over 25 years of experience. She received her MSW from Hunter College in New York City. Maria has worked with a variety of clients and issues as a therapist, taught Social Work as an adjunct professor at a local university, and has appeared on television and radio. She was certified in hypnosis by The National Guild of Hypnotists and trained in Past Life Regression with Brian Weiss, MD. As a certified Life Between Lives Therapist trained by The Newton Institute and Michael Newton, PhD..

There will also be a table of donated new books:

“A Guide for the Bereaved Survivor” and “Coping with Traumatic Death: Homicide”- by Bob Baugher

“THE REASON ~ Help and Hope for Those Who Grieve”- by Sally Grablick

We will also have a table of  gently used books donated from Jackie Wesley, a former chapter Leader of TCF in Hagerstown, Indiana.

We are continuing to add sources and are in contact with a nutritionist, massage therapist, art therapist and more.  If you would like to contribute, please email  We will update our website as additions are made!

All resources are FREE on the day of the event.  You may also speak with anyone in a private setting if needed.

We look forward to sharing the day with you and hope that our friendship will bring some hope and healing to your heart.




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