Join us from November 19 – 21st while we gather virtually across the Nation as a community impacted by serious illness, grief and loss. Together we will share in three days of connection, inspired learning and hope.
Expect to participate in a wide range of workshops, experiential sessions and inspiring talks from notable experts in the fields of health & wellness, grief psychology & counselling, parenting and education. Also on the agenda are a community memory service, a virtual campfire, early morning/late night self-care sessions and much, much, more!
Kaleidoscope was established in 2020 as Canada’s very first Grief Conference. What separates Kaleidoscope from other mental health conferences is that it has sessions designed for both families and professionals, for we recognize grief and bereavement as part of the human condition. By fostering the notion of compassionate communities – that we are all in need of help, and that we are all capable of helping one another – healing becomes a collective experience.
Dr. Thomas Attig
Thomas Attig, PhD, is Professor Emeritus in Philosophy at Bowling Green State University (home of the world’s first PhD in Applied Philosophy established in 1987 when he was department chair). He is the author of numerous academic articles and books on bereavement including: Catching Your Breath in Grief (2012/2019), How We Grieve: Relearning the World (2011) and The Heart of Grief: Death and the Search for Lasting Love (2000). He also co-edited Death, Dying, and Bereavement: Contemporary Perspectives, Institutions, and Practices (2015) with Judith Stillion. He is a Past President of the Association for Death Education and Counselling (ADEC) and Past Vice-Chair of the International Workgroup on Death, Dying and Bereavement (IWG).
In 2008, the International Network on Personal Meaning honoured Dr. Attig with its Lifetime Achievement Award “for distinguished contributions to death education and grief counselling.” In 2015 the Association for Death Education and Counselling presented Dr. Attig with its annual Death Educator Award. And in 2017, the Center for Death Education and Bioethics (University of Wisconsin) honoured Dr. Attig with the Dr. Robert Fulton Founder’s Award “for outstanding university teaching, research, publication, and professional service in the field of death, dying and bereavement.”
Dr. Attig currently resides in Victoria, BC, Canada. He invites you to visit his web site at www.griefsheart.com
Musical Artist: Big Heart Journey, Splash'N Boots
Taes has over 15 years of experience working with kids in the entertainment industry, and is best known as the “Boots” half of the JUNO Award-winning children’s super duo of Canadian Music, Splash’N Boots.
Taes has devoted the last 5+ years to studying meditation/mindfulness and dance. Her personal journey into meditation and mindfulness and continued research inspired her to create a program that re-invents traditional practices of meditation/mindfulness turning them upside down to create an edgy, innovative program for kids and their caregivers that is accessible and fun. Her newest venture, The Big Heart Journey, seeks to connect children to their hearts, their power, and their true selves, fostering resilience, and confidence.
Award Winning Author
When Donna Morrissey left the only home she had ever known, an isolated Newfoundland settlement, at age 16, she was ready for adventure. She had grown up without television or telephones but had absorbed the tragic stories and comic yarns of her close-knit family and community. The death of her infant brother marked the family, and years later, Morrissey suffers devastating guilt about the accidental death of her teenage brother, whom she’d enticed to join her in the oilfields. Her misery was compounded by her own misdiagnosis of a terminal illness, all of which contributed to crippling anxiety and an actual diagnosis of PTSD. Many of those events and themes would eventually be transformed and recast as fictional gold in Morrissey’s novels, seven of which are national best sellers, garnering awards in Canada, the U.S. and England. Her recent memoir, Pluck!, talks about the inextricably linked states of loss and love.
Sherryl Sewepagaham is Cree-Dene from the Little Red River Cree Nation and is an experienced elementary music specialist, music therapist, performer and choral composer. In her work as a music educator and composer Sherryl created the secondary teacher resource, Kanata: Contemporary Indigenous Artists and their Music and composed the theme song “Music Alive” and three Indigenous Arts Teacher Guides for the National Arts Centre’s Music Alive Program. For the past three years, Sherryl has been working as an Indigenous music therapist with patients at the Royal Alexandra Hospital under the Indigenous Health Hub. She is also a founder of the Juno-nominated Indigenous women’s trio Asani and released her own solo album Splashing the Water Loudly in 2014. She is now a Masters of Education student with a focus on reviving traditional Cree songs and lullabies for young children and families to support healing from grief through trauma, cultural and language loss, and the restoration of maternal bonding.
CBC Columnist/Best Selling Author
Ann Douglas sparks conversations that matter about parenting and mental health. She is a frequent contributor to CBC Radio and a bestselling parenting book author. Ann is the creator of The Mother of All Book series and the author, most recently, of Happy Parents, Happy Kids and Parenting Through the Storm.
A passionate and inspiring speaker, Ann delivers keynote addresses and leads small-group workshops at health, parenting, and education conferences across the country. These days, she is hard at work on a brand new book, for and about women at midlife. Her website is anndouglas.ca.
Award Winning Author/Educator
When her husband Mike died suddenly after a very brief illness, Carol Matthews turned to writing in order to understand how she could face bereavement. Author of four books of memoir and a collection of short stories, Carol has worked as a social worker, community worker, and Dean of Human Services and Community Education at Vancouver Island University. In 1999 she was awarded the Association of Community Colleges National Award for Excellence in Leadership. In addition to teaching and consulting activities, she has served on a number of local and provincial boards and committees in British Columbia. Carol was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters Degree from Vancouver Island University (2008). She was awarded the Order of B.C. in recognition of achievement and commitment to her local community (2012) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013).
Sgaalaanglaay, Gaamdaamaay (Vernon Williams Jr.) belongs to Kuunlaanaas Raven Grizzly Bear of Yakin Point Haida Gwaii; Vernon is a Haida Nishga.
His work involves traditional teachings that have been passed down from a number of cultural mentors. Vernon offers brushings with feather and cedar fans for water cleansing, as a song carrier, he leads fire ceremonies, and is recognized as an artist of drum making, flutes, rattles and protection necklaces.
Vernon has participated in Sundance in Minestikwan and Sweet Grass, Saskatchewan. He is a brother in Ceremony to many Mayan who are now family. He offers songs with drum, rattle and flutes to provide peace and wellness when needed, and welcomes opportunities to share his healing knowledge with others.
Best Selling Author
Beth Powning’s moving meditation and memoir, Shadow Child, is the story of her coming to terms with the stillbirth of her first child, Tate. Beth is the author of two novels and three works of literary non-fiction. She is also an acclaimed photographer of two books with another photographic book forthcoming next year. Her articles and essays have been widely anthologized and she has won numerous awards and she has been on the Globe and Mail and Maclean’s Bestseller’s list. Beth has appeared at literary festivals and given readings across Canada, in the USA, and in England and Ireland. Beth is also active in a variety of environmental and artistic community activities. She holds an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from the University of New Brunswick (2013), and a Lieutenant Governor’s Award for High Achievement in English Literary Arts (2010).
Shelley Joseph, Hekwa’gila’ogwa, has a lifetime of cultural exposure. Being immersed in the lessons and traditional ways of being, have shaped who she is. Shelley has been on her healing journey for more than 31 years and has combined her lived experience with education in the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional well-being of people, families, and communities. She believes that awareness and action plans for change can sway the scope of disparity in our societies. She prides herself in holding safe space for people to learn, heal, and grow. She has advocated for Cultural Safety and Kindness her whole life and is passionate about nurturing relationships and true Reconciliation. Following the teachings from a lifetime of learning from elders and cultural leaders, Shelley is dedicated to learning and leading by example through her values.
Linda Kash began her career at the Second City Theatre in Toronto, where she performed, directed and conducted workshops.
She has appeared in and directed a number of plays, films and television shows throughout Canada, the US, Europe, Russia and New Zealand.
Linda has also co-created several shows More recent directorial projects include Colin Mochrie in “HYPROV” for Just For Laughs and the Edinburgh festival, a season of Love It or List It. Linda teaches acting and improv workshops and in 2008, co-founded with her late husband Actor Paul O’Sullivan, a Performing Arts School called PAPA for kids and teens. During Covid 19, Linda also co-created an adult online learning platform called klusterfork; offering unique access to the best in the entertainment industry. Linda is best known as The Philadelphia Cream Cheese Angel (a successful campaign since 1994) but her proudest work to date, by far, is her fabulous blended family.