In April 2010, we launched the first Meadowlark Retreat, a grief support weekend retreat for mothers who have suffered the sudden loss of a child. The retreat honors and comforts mothers as they learn to deal with their new way of life—a life without a child they adored—providing much-needed support for mothers living the unthinkable and trying to see their way to hope.
The death of a child feels unnatural. Mothers are not wired to survive their children. One of the only paths through healing is to be with other mothers who are on the same journey.
–Shelly Gillan, Meadowlark Retreat Facilitator and Director of Client Services at Kara
2013 Meadowlark Retreats and Series
This year, the Foundation will run two retreats and two series. If you would like more information about these offerings, please contact Stacey Redman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring Meadowlark Retreat: Friday-Sunday, April 19-21
Spring Workshop for Meadowlark Moms: Sunday, May 5
Summer Meadowlark Retreat for Mothers who've lost an infant or young child: July 26-28
Fall Meadowlark Retreat: Friday - Sunday, September 27-29
Fall Workshop for Meadowlark Moms: Sunday, December 1
About the Retreats
The weekend retreats are designed to provide intentional and loving care. From nutritious and lovingly prepared meals to the peaceful surroundings, we support the mothers both physically and emotionally. By attending to every detail with compassion, we create a place of safety, caring and validation. Mothers know that when they share their grief it will be understood on a visceral level by a community of women offering support and empathy.
Over the course of the weekend, mothers participate in multiple facilitated grief group sessions. Using skilled facilitation, grief counselors guide the women through sharing their thoughts, fears, anger, sadness, confusion and despair. Mothers can share without fear of judgment—there is space for every thought and feeling.
Between sessions, mothers have free time to continue sharing with each other, take alone time, enjoy nature and find additional support. The retreat facilitators truly cater to the needs of all the women in attendance. If a mother could benefit from an individual session, facilitators split up to provide the personal support that is needed.
Meet our Facilitators
Leslie Chin, MA, MBA, Retreat Planner and Co-Facilitator
Bringing over six years of grief support experience, Leslie Chin currently facilitates learning and support groups in a variety of venues, from Stanford Graduate Schools and private liberal arts colleges to nonprofit grief counseling organizations. In her corporate work, she founded and managed regional offices in California and London for WFD, a $100 million consulting, community investment and employee services firm addressing work-life balance needs, and managed national HR generalist functions for Citibank. Early in her career she set up and ran transit operations for Indochinese and Cuban refugees. Leslie holds an MBA and BS in Applied Mathematics from Stanford University and an MA in Psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.
Shelly Gillan, MFT Intern, Retreat Client Screening and Co-Facilitator
Shelly Gillan is the Director of Client Services at Kara, a center providing grief support to individuals, families and community organizations. She provides participant screening and co-facilitation for the Meadowlark Retreats. Kara is also available for follow-up services if clients desire ongoing grief support. Shelly has worked with teens and children for over 20 years, with particular experience with anticipatory death and parents grieving the death of a child. Shelly has a BA in psychology and child development and is pursuing a graduate degree in counseling psychology.