About TLC

Grief is not a straight line or experienced in the same way for everyone.

We believe that:

  • All people grieve no matter their age, background, or lifestyle. 
  • Grief can be the result of any number or types of loss, including changing relationships, the loss of health or mobility, having a miscarriage, the death of a loved one, job loss, retirement, or a change in one’s future plans.
  • Grief can be experienced emotionally, physically, cognitively, behaviorally, and spiritually. 
  • Skills for supporting those in grief, particularly the act of listening, can be learned.
  • Anyone can learn to be comfortable in emotionally painful situations and feel empowered to stay and support someone in grief—in a way that is welcomed, helpful, and kind.
  • Grief—hard as it may be—when well-supported,  can ultimately help people grow, transform, and heal in remarkable ways.

Our Mission

To teach people practical skills for supporting those experiencing grief from life’s losses and transitions.

Our Vision

A world where grief is understood and accepted as a natural response to loss, and where people are well-supported as they grieve. 

Meet the Board of Directors

Marianna Cacciatore—President

Marianna is an author, minister, and spiritual counselor. In her first book, Being There for Someone in Grief, Marianna shares essential lessons for supporting people grieving from death, loss, and trauma. It is being used as a guide for hospice volunteers and as a textbook for those learning to work with people in grief. It was endorsed by Stephen Levine saying, “Marianna’s life work is just what the heart calls for…” Her current manuscript, Stitching the Heart Back Together ushers in the idea that walking through the grief journey can ultimately deepen our capacity for compassion, humility and kindness, paving the way for a life marked by generosity and love.

In 1990, Marianna founded Children to Children—a Center for Children and Families in Grief, serving as Executive Director. In 2000, they merged with Tu Nidito, and today she serves as a Lifetime Emeritus Board Member of that organization. As a result, since 1990, thousands of children and adults in Southern Arizona have had effective, loving, supportive care as they journeyed through grief.

Marianna is an author, minister, and spiritual counselor. In her first book, Being There for Someone in Grief, Marianna shares essential lessons for supporting people grieving from death, loss, and trauma. It is used as a guide for hospice volunteers and as a textbook for those learning to work with people in grief. It was endorsed by Stephen Levine, who wrote: “Marianna’s life work is just what the heart calls for…” Her current manuscript, Stitching the Heart Back Together ushers in the idea that walking through the grief journey can ultimately deepen our capacity for compassion, humility and kindness, paving the way for a life marked by generosity and love.

In 1990, Marianna founded Children to Children—a Center for Children and Families in Grief, serving as Executive Director. In 2000, they merged with Tu Nidito, and today she serves as a Lifetime Emeritus Board Member of that organization. As a result, since 1990, thousands of children and adults in Southern Arizona have had effective, loving, supportive care as they journeyed through grief.

Kris Masalsky - Vice President

Originally from the Boston area, Kris traveled throughout the U.S., lived for several years in Colombia, S.A., then settled in Tucson to complete graduate studies in education.  In addition to teaching and administering adult education programs and operating a small empanada shop, Kris and her husband raised two beautiful children.  Their lives changed inexplicably when their son, Paul, died from suicide in 2008.  Since that time, Kris has been involved with numerous community groups whose goal is to help educate and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide.  In addition to providing education and training in suicide prevention and postvention to Tucson’s community-wide Stephen Ministers-in-Training Program, Kris has participated in local and national panel discussions regarding the significance of peer grief support within families and communities.  She continues to co-facilitate survivors of suicide loss groups, which offer support to individuals who are living with the suicide death of a beloved person.  Kris remains committed to honoring Paul’s life by continually learning about best practices surrounding mental health and suicide prevention and by striving to live with kindness and compassion.

Originally from the Boston area, Kris traveled throughout the U.S., lived for several years in Colombia, S.A., then settled in Tucson to complete graduate studies in education. In addition to teaching and administering adult education programs and operating a small empanada shop, Kris and her husband raised two beautiful children. Their lives changed when their son, Paul, died from suicide in 2008. Since that time, Kris has been involved with numerous community groups whose goal is to help educate and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide. In addition to providing education and training in suicide prevention and postvention to Tucson’s community-wide Stephen Ministers-in-Training Program, Kris has participated in local and national panel discussions regarding the significance of peer grief support within families and communities. 

She continues to co-facilitate survivors of suicide loss groups, which offer support to individuals who are living with the suicide death of a beloved person. Kris remains committed to honoring Paul’s life by continually learning about best practices surrounding mental health and suicide prevention, and by striving to live with kindness and compassion.

Carol S. Miller, Licensed Clinical Social Worker — Treasurer

Carol began her career with Casa de la Luz Hospice in 2011 as a community social worker, after moving to Tucson from the east coast.  Within a few months, her position expanded to include bereavement counseling, and in May of 2014, she accepted the position of Bereavement Coordinator and finally in early 2018 became Casa’s Bereavement Program Manager.  While living in Northern Virginia, she owned a private practice at The Center for Well Being in Falls Church, VA.  During that time, in the July 2009 issue of the Washingtonian Magazine, Carol was recognized as one of the Metropolitan D.C. area’s Top Therapists in the area of grief counseling.  

Carol currently holds the following certifications: Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner, Certified Compassionate Bereavement Care® Provider, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Certified Mind-Body Skills Group Facilitator and Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator (through Dr. Brené Brown’s work).  Carol’s personal and professional history with grief and loss have spanned a period of more than 30 years.   “We are all connected.  It is through our vulnerability, struggles, and times of pain that we can find our greatest sources of love, support, guidance, and compassion, and thus move forward into healing and transformation.”

Carol began her career with Casa de la Luz Hospice in 2011 as a community social worker, after moving to Tucson from the East Coast. Within a few months, her position expanded to include bereavement counseling, and in May of 2014, she accepted the position of Bereavement Coordinator. This led to her appointment as Casa’s Bereavement Program Manager in early 2018. While living in Northern Virginia, she owned a private practice at The Center for Well Being in Falls Church, VA. During that time, in the July 2009 issue of the Washingtonian Magazine, Carol was recognized as one of the Metropolitan D.C. area’s Top Therapists in the area of grief counseling.

 

Carol currently holds the following certifications: Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner, Certified Compassionate Bereavement Care® Provider, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Certified Mind-Body Skills Group Facilitator and Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator (through Dr. Brené Brown’s work). Carol’s personal and professional history with grief and loss have spanned a period of more than 30 years. “We are all connected. It is through our vulnerability, struggles, and times of pain that we can find our greatest sources of love, support, guidance, and compassion, and thus move forward into healing and transformation.”

Ilynn Adler — Secretary

Ilynn Adler has been an educator all her professional career.  After graduating from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan (1970), Ilynn began teaching elementary students in Flint, Michigan.  Two years later, she married, moved to Tucson, and began teaching Junior High School students in Art and Language Arts in the Tanque Verde District.  During her first two years there, she attended University of Arizona for her M.Ed. in Counseling and Guidance and became a school counselor in the same school for 27 more years.  In 1998 she was honored as the Outstanding Middle School Counselor of the year.

In 2002, after 30+ years, she began a second career teaching teachers the Tobacco and Drug Prevention programs AZ Department of Ed. provided.  As a Pima County Health Department School Coordinator, she worked with a team in all Pima County public schools, eventually moving to help schools create wellness programs for their school communities. 

The end of 2002 also brought the end of her 30-year marriage.  Presented with significant life opportunity of grief, loss, and eventually transition, Ilynn attended three programs in the Divorce Recovery, Inc. program, where she met Frank Williams, the originator of the program. That connection enabled great healing thru group facilitation, joining board of directors, becoming a trainer and managing director and is still volunteering 19 years later for Divorce Recovery.

In 2016 Ilynn retired a second time to pursue her Art and spiritual connections.   She took up Ballroom and Country dancing (even a few competitions), participated in Art fairs, and took quilting as her strongest interest.  Her Daughter and family moved to Tucson in 2018 which allowed her to be Grandma on a regular basis.  To this day, if she is not with her grandchildren in virtual Gramma’s school, you can find her behind her sewing machine quilting, painting, or leading a Divorce Recovery group.

She is so excited to be working with TLC in establishing a wonderful community organization helping others to help others during challenging times of grief, loss and transition.

Ilynn Adler has been an educator throughout her professional career. In 1972 she moved from Michigan to Tucson and began to teach Art and Language Arts tojunior high school students. Simultaneously, she attended University of Arizona for her M.Ed. in Counseling and Guidance. After graduation Ilynn became a school counselor in the same school for 27 years, and was named the Outstanding Middle School Counselor of the Year in 1998.

 

In 2002, Ilynn began a second career, teaching the Arizona Department of Education’s Tobacco and Drug Prevention programs to teachers in Pima County. From this she moved into helping Pima County public schools create wellness programs for their communities.

The end of her 30-year marriage in 2002 presented Ilynn with a significant opportunity to work through grief, loss, and eventually transition while attending the Divorce Recovery, Inc. program. From this healing process, she went on to join the program’s board of directors, and to become a trainer and managing director – and she continues to volunteer as a group leader.

In 2016, Ilynn retired a second time, to focus on art, spiritual connections, and her grandchildren. She is delighted to be working with TLC to establish a wonderful community organization that will offer help to others during challenging times of grief, loss and transition.

Board Members in Alphabetical Order

Susan Barrable

Coming soon

Born and bred in Tynemouth, England Susan emigrated to Toronto, Canada in her early 20s. Pursuing her career in international book publishing took her all over the world. Meanwhile she pursued her passion for the arts by co-founding and running a professional theatre company, became immersed in the gay rights and women’s rights movements, volunteered as a bereavement facilitator at North America’s first AIDS hospice and also with the Distress Centre (supporting people who had lost someone to suicide), was on the board and created fundraising events for Windfall Clothing (which distributed new clothes to social service agencies in the city), and ran an annual fundraiser for ten years in support of AIDS and HIV services.

Since moving to Tucson in 2012, she has volunteered and served on the board at the Marana Resource Center, co-facilitated adult bereavement groups at Tu Nidito, and volunteered in bereavement support at Valor Hospice. She serves on the governing board of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and is a Court Appointed Special Advocate, working with and advocating for children in foster care here in Tucson.

Luan Wagner Burn, Ph.D.

Luan has spent over 30 years as an executive in the nonprofit sector keeping high risk youth in school, preparing teen parent dropouts to live productive, independent lives, providing quality care to infants and children, and teaching parents how to effectively communicate with each other to improve family communication, strengthen family cohesion, and reduce family conflict.  The Department of Health and Human Services, Family Strengthening Initiative designated this family communication program as one of its 7 “Emerging Best Practices” programs funded by the initiative.  From 2009-2015, she was the Executive Director of a community foundation in southern New Mexico working with donors to realize their giving goals and community groups to do good things. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, Luan taught   child development, preschool education, parenting, aging and lifespan development as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Arizona.

She experienced the death of her father as a young teen, and like many of us, continued to experience loss, and related grief, from predictable and unexpected life events.  Observing the varied responses of others’ reactions to loss, helped her realize that “grief is not a straight line.’ In depth reading and completing classes, like Understanding Grief and Loss, has provided her the knowledge and skills to serve as a companion in grief for family and dear friends. 

Luan has spent over 30 years in the nonprofit sector, keeping high-risk youth in school, preparing teen parent dropouts to live productive, independent lives, providing quality care to infants and children, and teaching parents how to effectively communicate with each other, to strengthen family cohesion, and reduce family conflict. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Family Strengthening Initiative designated this family communication program as one of its seven “Emerging Best Practices” programs.As Executive Director of a community foundation in southern New Mexico from 2009 to 2015, Luan worked with donors to realize their giving goals, and with community groups to do good things. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, she taught child development, preschool education, parenting, aging and lifespan development as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Arizona.

Having experienced the death of her father as a young teen, Luan – like many of us – continues to experience loss, and related grief, from predictable and unexpected life events. Through in-depth reading and completing classes like Understanding Grief and Loss,Luan came to realize that “grief is not a straight line”; all of this has provided her with the knowledge and skills to serve as a companion in grief for family and dear friends.

Barbara Rose Gaynor

Coming Soon

Barbara Rose Gaynor Certified Life Coach

Barbara Rose’s life has been defined by a deep love of education and learning. Teaching at all age levels, and in a number of content areas and settings, has been rewarding throughout her long career. Teaching high school English on both coasts was followed by a seven-year stint teaching preschool at Tucson Community School. Taking the year-long program in Team Management and Leadership Training emphasized the benefits and synergy of working closely with others. A decade of being a solopreneur leading Life Design Enterprises as a certified life coach followed. Sierra Tucson treatment center sought her services for the Progressions Program; while there, Barbara Rose was able to develop skills in lecturing on psychoeducational topics and leading process groups on grief.

 Interest in the role of grief in relationship to addictions continued when she moved to Sabino Recovery and led grief groups utilizing poetry therapy. Dedicated to aiding all people in living authentic and joyful lives, Barbara Rose is a founding member of the Tucson Coaches Alliance and Singing Bird Sangha.

The Rev. Frank R. Williams, PhD

Frank is a Community Educator for Casa de la Luz Hospice, having retired as their Director of Social Services – a position he held for eleven years. He is the founder of the Divorce Recovery program of Tucson, and co-Director of the Tacheria Interfaith School of Spiritual Direction.

The author of many articles and booklets on issues of loss, grief and life transitions, Frank is a sought-after speaker and workshop leader focusing on the topics of dying, death and divorce.

He has served as Executive Director at Family Counseling Agency/Our Family Services; twenty years as a professor within the Family Studies faculty at the University of Arizona; and a United Methodist Minister in several Arizona and California churches. Active on many community Boards, he is a member of the Casa de la Luz Foundation and on the Tucson End of Life Care Partnership.

TLC Teaching Staff

Along with professional credentials and educational expertise, our dedicated teaching staff includes those who have lived experiences as well as having accompanied numerous individuals as they walk this path of loss, grief and transition.

TLC Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is made up of open-hearted, experienced professionals dedicated to helping normalize dialogue and education surrounding loss and grief.

We Make It Easy To Make A Difference In Someone’s Life

Are you ready to learn how to compassionately support a person who is grieving?