Community Connection - Grief Support Group


Local Support Services

Memorial Funeral Homes sponsors workshops, seminars and classes throughout the year to assist anyone who is grieving with the healing process by way of our Community Connections Program. We also have a licensed clinical social worker on staff available for one on one private counseling. If you would like more information about our programs please give us a call, (401) 619-2877 or email us.

Lark d'Helen,  our Director of Community Education

Meet Lark d'Helen, our Director of Community Education.  The Rev. Dr. Lark D'Helen coordinates the Community Connections program of Memorial Funeral Homes, which provides workshops, seminars, support groups and one-to-one counseling for the community focused on addressing grief and end-of-life issues and conversations.  Lark has over thirty years of experience as a minister including twelve years as a chaplain for the hospital and over ten years as adjunct faculty in the Thanatology Minor at University of Rhode Island. She has Certification in Thanatology (CT), the most respected practice credential in the field of thanatology, the study of death, loss, and bereavement. Lark is also a certified Grief Recovery Method Specialist. 

Melissa Mastrostefano, MSW, LICSW
Social Worker and Grief Counselor

Melissa has 33 years of clinical social work experience and can help you on your path to recovery. She has experience working with a variety of age groups: preteens, teens, adults, and seniors. Melissa received her MSW at Columbia University, as well as training at the Institute for Restorative Practices. Through those educational experiences she learned ways to help people process grief and address conflicts. She also has training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and experience with the Grief Recovery Method and Expressive Art Therapy. Community Counseling and Restorative Practices, LLC is her practice in Jamestown and Newport. Melissa offers individual counseling and facilitates groups though her private practice as well as workshops for Community Connections.

Kim Shute, MFA
Program Coordinator

As the Program Coordinator Kim offers administrative support and social media outreach to Community Connections. She has a B.A. in theatre/dance and a M.F.A. in Performance Arts. Kim has done course work in Individual and Group Crisis Intervention with first responders, clinician and clergy for Hurricane Sandy and 9/11. She has done bookkeeping for local contractors, taught ESL for a literacy program, run her own gardening business, taught speech communications and acting, and helped manage and promote a twenty million dollar housing project in Massachusetts. She has been involved for ten years at Channing Church where she researched, wrote and offered many services as well as helped with marketing and community outreach. Kim has experienced bereavement first hand after her husband of 19 years died suddenly of Leukemia at the age of 48. Since her husband’s death she has been reading and studying up on the funeral industry and grief support. She lives in Newport, Rhode Island with her teenage son and retired mother.

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Our bereavement program was developed over 15 years ago and remains the only program of its kind on Aquidneck Island. What began as a 6-week education and support group to meet the needs of our grieving families now reaches out to the entire community with a wide variety of groups, workshops and resources for managing grief, adjusting to loss and finding hope. Please visit the Community Connections website for a full list of current programs and events.

Understanding Your Grief, our 7-week support and education group provides an opportunity to learn about grief and its effects while sharing support and understanding. Many of our family members have found this foundation group to be greatly reassuring and comforting. You can find greater peace and believe in a meaningful future.This group is offered free to the entire community.

The Grief Recovery Method, You CAN feel better and move beyond the pain and loss. It is a myth that time heals all wounds. The truth is healing is promoted by taking specific actions. Learn the Grief Recovery Method in this free 8 week class which can help bring you closer to a more rewarding life.

Traumatic Loss; Surviving Sudden Loss, sudden loss creates special problems for survivors. Grief is often intensified, this group can help.

Assorted classes and programs, topics on our 2017/18 calendar include: Cooking for You, Memory Garden Workshop, Mothers' Day Remembrance Tea and Walking for Grief Resilience to name a few.