We are humbled to have an incredible team of volunteer group facilitators who lead our virtual support groups. You can learn more about our cohort of group facilitators, below:
Ada Johnson // She/Her // Dummerston, Vermont
Ada is a neurodiverse and queer grief worker and somatic experiencing practitioner. She has been involved in various forms of peer support for the past 20 plus years. Ada’s personal experience with grief has inspired her to accompany others in their grief. She believes strongly in collective healing and the power of peer support groups, and that everyone deserves access to grief support. She lives with 2 new kittens, her wonderful partner and a grumpy old dog and a 5 year old.
Diane Sue // She/Her // Bellingham, Washington
As someone who lost a parent at a young age, Diane understands how difficult it is to lose a loved one in early adulthood. She also has seen how challenging the grief process is for those who have lost someone to COVID and how a grief support group can provide hope and decrease feelings of isolation. Diane has many years of experience working with children, adolescents and their families, both individually and in groups. She is also a parent of three children and grandparent to identical twin boys.
Tony Pham (Butterfly) // He/They // New York City, NY
Tony comes to the Network believing that we are all worthy of access to safer spaces where we can share and witness without judgment. He sees healing occur when the authentic expression of the human experience is met with mindful presence. Tony identifies as a heritage Buddhist, facilitator, and healer that occupies the intersection of queer and BIPOC identities. Certified in Compassion Cultivation Training © (co-created by Thupten Jinpa at Stanford), they teach compassion and meditation at Tibet House US. They are an alumnus of the East Bay Meditation Center’s PiTA8 trauma informed mindfulness program for social justice activists with additional training as a death doula.
Michael Shannon // He/Him // Carrboro, North Carolina
Michael served as a grief counselor in hospice care for over 17 years, meeting with hundreds of people individually and in group settings. He also knows about pain and loss due to COVID on a personal level, after losing two dear friends to COVID-19. Being a companion with others in learning how to cope, live and find our way together is what brought Michael to the Network. Michael has the ability to listen, to create an environment where people trust they are safe and get in touch with the feelings impacting their lives, and to give folks the space to discover their own abilities for finding their way through grief. Fun fact about Michael: He has an M.F.A. in Drama and has acted both professionally and in community theatre for 50 years.
Shakti Sharma // She/Her // El Dorado Hills, California
Shakti has several years of experience facilitating groups, bringing her yogic background and tools of breath, intuition, mindfulness, meditation and movement for emotional healing. Shakti comes to this work from a very personal place: Shaki’s mother had a rough pregnancy with her, as she was grieving the death of her stillborn and 5 miscarriages prior to conceiving Shakti. As a little fetus in her mom’s womb, Shakti experienced grief and trauma that pushed her to go into a state of freeze. Most of her life, she had difficulty expressing emotions, not knowing why. She is an empath and a sensitive soul who had to learn the art of feeling emotions again the hard way. Now Shakti has dedicated her life to supporting people to embrace their emotional expression and step into their vulnerability.
Marc Pescadera // He/Him // San Diego, CA
After losing his mom to COVID-19, Marc was able to find healing in more than one space of his life. Through his own healing process, he realized that not everyone has had some of the opportunities he’s had. Marc joined the Network as a group facilitator because he wanted to find a way to let people know that they are not alone. As a Filipino American, Marc has facilitated dialogues while working with youth and community members since 2007. He also has experienced and provided clinical therapy in individual and group settings as a graduate student in multicultural community counseling.
Heidi Tessmer // She/Her // Amesbury, Massachusetts
Heidi is a spiritual care provider who has provided one-on-one and group-based support through CGN over the last year and a half. Heidi joined the Network wanting to be of service to others during the pandemic and recognizing that processing grief and loss is not meant to be done alone. Heidi creates space for young adults to show up in any and all conditions. Her approach is to witness — not judge or fix — young adults by acknowledging their truth, by deep listening.