LaUra Schmidt, Founding Director
A griefworker once told me, “Grief chose me.” I feel that sentiment. From a very early age, I’ve been surrounded by– and embedded in– grief. My parents were alcoholics/addicts and I experienced significant trauma and many deaths along the way.
With such a tumultuous upbringing, I was given a choice: give up & give in or figure out why the I am here and bring meaning to my own existence. I chose the latter. I choose to be a force of good in the world.
I am skilled at holding space and sitting with uncertainty and discomfort. I have worked with and through a series of modalities to clear my trauma and practice becoming the best version of myself.
I am trained in nonviolent civil disobedience, and am a Climate Reality Leadership Corps member & mentor.
While a bit of a nomad, I hail from Michigan, and graduated from Central Michigan University with a BS in Environmental Studies, Biology, and Religious Studies. My MS in Environmental Humanities was earned from the University of Utah.
I grew to understand the importance of place through spending some time living and playing in North Carolina & the bayous of Louisiana (directly after the BP oil spill). Inspiration finds me in natural landscapes and honest, open-hearted dialogue. You can reach me at Laura(at)goodgriefnetwork(dot)org
Aimee Lewis-Reau, Cofounder & FLOW Facilitator
Aimee is a FLOW Facilitator (Fierce Lover Of Words/Wisdom/Why). She is an edgy & reverent contemplative, healer and yoga/intuitive movement instructor. To keep her sanity, Aimee dances because as Alice Walker said: “Hard times require furious dancing.” She also DJs under the name eXis10shAL.
Aimee received her Bachelor’s degree in English, Poetry, and Religion from Central Michigan University before obtaining her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Georgia College & State University.
Sarah Jornsay-Silverberg, Emergent Strategist
Sarah Jornsay-Silverberg (she/her) is a writer, lawyer, and curious Earth-dweller. Since childhood, Sarah has observed the grace and suffering in the world around her and wondered, “what is mine to do?” She has spent a lifetime attempting to answer that question by focusing her attention on international human rights, climate justice activism, therapeutic introspection, foreign language education, and most recently, community resilience-building. She found Good Grief Network while searching for safe spaces to navigate the heavy emotions she experiences while attempting to live in joy and service during the climate crisis. She currently spends her days balancing work, rest, play, and reverence for the Northern California cherry blossoms.
Contact Sarah: sarahjs(at)goodgriefnetwork(dot)org
Despite age, experience and an ivy league education, Dean is often slow to catch on. He read about and saw signs of climate destruction over the decades. Only when 5,000 nearby homes in Sonoma County, CA suddenly turned to ash and smoke, did he have an awakening.
Actually, first he had a panic attack.
So, he contacted the Good Grief Network looking for some “stress relief tips and tricks.” Instead, in the 10 steps, he found a supportive network of friends from around the world, a transformative vision, and an enjoyable new role helping others.
Contact Dean: dean(at)goodgriefnetwork(dot)org
Joshua Swenson is a writer and stay-at-home father. His fiction might be considered Weird Cli-Fi, Post-Science Fiction, or Enchantivism – exploring how humans might continue to evolve in strange ways as they reconnect with the rest of life on Earth. As a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, he is an eager hiker and gardener, an amateur naturalist and admirer of the more-than-human world. Joshua could stare for hours into a single tidepool. He believes that wonder is an essential survival skill in the Anthropocene.
Contact Josh: josh(at)goodgriefnetwork(dot)org
After earning her degree in Earth & Environmental Sciences from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, Lou loaded up her dog, cat and three boxes in a Toyota pickup truck and moved to Northern California. She inherited a love of the outdoors and the Earth from her Dad, and worked as a consultant to cleanup soil and groundwater from Alaska to San Diego. Shamoo, her 20+ year old cat, lead her on her first natural death journey. Shortly after learning skills from hospice organizations, she founded BitterSweet Animal Hospice & Grief Recovery to help people when their animals were dying. It was a natural bridge to a life learning more about grief. Lou is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist and the Regional Coordinator for the Bay Area Grief Recovery Method® Specialists. She is also an environmental professional supporting police, fire and public works in pollution prevention.
Lou can be reached at lou(at)goodgriefnetwork(dot)org