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WELCOME TO SCCPA

Founded in 1965, SCCPA today comprises more than 300 licensed psychologists, registered psychological assistants, graduate psychology students, and other professionals affiliated with the mental health field. We are the third largest of 23 chapters of the California Psychological Association (CPA), which is a state chapter of the American Psychological Association (APA).


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The Santa Clara County Psychological Association (SCCPA) is a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to:
  • Advancing the science and profession of psychology
  • Promoting the ethical, responsible, and effective practice of psychology
  • Providing education, fellowship, and support among psychologists
  • Offering our culturally diverse public community a broad array of educational and mental health services




SCCPA NEWSLETTER
GUEST ARTICLE

excerpted from the 2016 Winter issue

"KARA, GRIEF SUPPORT"

By Jim Santucci, CPA
Executive Director of Kara

Because of Kara, I was able to move through my grief journey from having trouble breathing some days, to acceptance, to being able to celebrate the wonderful life of my brother Michael. Our community is stronger and healthier because of the tireless work of everyone involved in Kara’s mission. — Adult Client                                                                        
As a nonprofit organization serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1976, Kara provides comprehensive grief support, crisis intervention, and grief education to individuals and communities facing the difficult realities of death and dying. Empowered by our guiding value of empathy, Kara provides a space where those in grief find deep relief in the company of others. Through a time-tested highly effective peer support model (adopted from the Shanti Model of peer support originated by Dr. Charles Garfield), over 150 trained volunteers with experience in healing from loss compassionately support grieving children, adults and organizations in our community.                                                                
The name Kara originates from the Gothic root of the word care—more specifically, it means to reach out; to lament; to grieve with.                                                                 Our mission is to provide grief support for children, teens, families, and adults. Though our mission is simply stated, grief work isn’t simple. Grief is universal, yet unique. It is often complex, and frequently transforming. Grief doesn’t discriminate based on age, culture, socio-economic status or political leanings.

Our vision is to see people from all backgrounds and ages compassionately accompanied on their grief journey. And our vision is sustained by our belief that every person deserves to have their grief witnessed.  

Kara provides a large array of services in order to meet the distinct needs of individuals and families who are anticipating a death and/or are in the midst of the grieving process. Our services are designed to be accessible, as there is no fee for our peer support services, and psychotherapy services are available for a fee on a sliding scale. Assistance such as phone counseling and referrals, family consultations, group support, drop-in groups, one-to-one peer counseling, psychotherapy, and a grief camp Winter 2016 Page 22 for children and teens are all options for grieving individuals and families.

Last year, Kara provided services to more than 4,600 members in our community through our primary programs:

Youth & Family and Adult Programs: These programs offer extensive and high quality services to meet the unique needs of individuals (children, adolescents, adults and seniors) and families who have experienced a loss or trauma or are anticipating a death.

Camp Erin: This annual camp, typically held in July, provides dynamic and therapeutic activities for children and teens dealing with grief. Through a partnership with The Moyer Foundation and camp space from The Taylor Family Foundation, this three-day sleep-over camp is a safe and transformative space for young people walking the path from sorrow and grief to renewed hope and meaning. Children are provided age-appropriate support, often specific to the circumstances of their loss or trauma. Applications are now being accepted for this year's camp at: www.kara-grief.or/camperin.

Community Outreach and Education Program: Kara responds to critical incidents in the community by bringing timely support to schools and businesses in the wake of a loss—e.g., community disaster, involvement of individuals and families in fatal accidents, the sudden or violent death of a member of the community, or suicide. Our services cater to the unique circumstances and needs of the organizations, and Kara provides consultation on how best to care for the students, employees, or agency members, as well as provides direct support to those affected.

Clinical Therapy Program: Kara’s psychotherapy services support families, couples, children, teens, and adults whose grief is coupled with clinical issues, necessitating support beyond what a peer-support model can provide. Through therapy, clients improve their emotional, mental, and physical functioning.

Annual Community Events: These events extend the scope of grief support to the community:

Walk ‘n’ Run to Remember — Held in early autumn, this event offers the entire community the opportunity to walk or run in memory of loved ones and also affords friends and family the opportunity to support those along the grief journey.

Candlelight Holiday Service — Held each year in early December, this special evening offers individuals and families the opportunity to remember and honor their loved ones in the company of others who are compassionate and empathetic.

Our Newest Initiative - Spanish-Language Services: Kara is now developing a Spanish-language grief support services program. This new service provision parallels our current peer-based grief support model; this past June, fifteen individuals completed our first official Spanish Services volunteer training. Our vision for this new service program is to ensure accessible and culturally appropriate grief support services to the Latino community.

At Kara, we recognize both the universality and the uniqueness of each person’s grieving experience. We don’t espouse a particular religion or philosophy and we encourage those we serve to draw strength from their own spiritual beliefs, culture, family, friends, and other community resources to build sustaining support. By giving children and adults a safe space to express their grief, feel connected, and develop healthy coping tools, Kara not only makes grieving individuals more resilient, but creates a ripple effect, positively influencing their friends, family, and community. Clients and volunteers alike develop a new way of being in this world—with qualities of attentive listening, compassion, empathy, acceptance, non-judgment, and mindfulness.

Our work is best conveyed by our clients and volunteers. To see our latest videos, visit https://www.youtube.com/user/KaraGriefServices.

In keeping with our long-standing philosophy, Kara’s unique mission is empowered by the heartfelt generosity of the community we serve and is supported primarily by financial gifts from individuals (clients and non-clients), foundations, and corporations. Donations are tax-deductible and may be made in memory or in honor of a loved one.

In Their Own Words-
My grief counselor skillfully guided me on this journey. Piece by piece she helped me put my heart back together. Because of my counselor, I was able to walk through the darkest valley I have ever experienced and while it was a very difficult journey, she made it possible for me to continue day after day, week after week. — Adult Client

Is Kara beneficial? A million times yes— quintessential in my ability to get through the toughest time in my life! — Adult Client

Kara has become an internal part of me. The caring, honesty, respect, and hope that I experienced in my support group is forever part of my being. Thank you Kara for giving me the deepest, truest meaning of community! — Youth & Family Parent Client

Most of us know how to do our jobs, however, dealing with grief, personally or within a company, is not something we are familiar with. Kara has that expertise. The information Kara provides is very valuable. And it is presented in a kind and caring manner. We feel taken care of. — Community Outreach Client

I’ve gained so much through my various volunteer works at Kara: sitting beside one person at a time, going out into the community or facilitating a group discussion. All we offer is human kindness and a desire to listen, to bear witness to their grief, and it works. — Long Time Volunteer

Grief is definitely a tough subject for the Spanish community. We’re taught to be tough. It’s almost like it’s not allowed because there aren’t many outlets for one to turn to. It is very taboo to seek out counseling, and often religion is the first source for help. But sometimes it goes beyond that. It takes someone who understands it, someone who can tell you it is ok to cry, to feel what you need to feel, and to ask for help. It’s all part of being alive. — New Spanish Services Volunteer

It will be an experience I will never forget. I hope anyone who lost someone can come here and be able to leave with the feeling that it gets better, and that people do understand. — Camper

Camp Erin helped me feel less alone. Before Camp, I felt like there were so few people who understood me. Now, I know I'm never fully alone. It helped me make friends that were like me. And most of all I had fun! — Camper

KARA
457 Kingsley Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301 650-321-5272 (phone)
650-473-1828 (fax)
website: www.kara-grief.org
e-mail: info@kara-grief.org
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