The Willow House CARES Grief & COVID Seminar Series​

The Willow House CARES Grief & COVID Seminar Series

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought drastic changes to the world in which we live. Individuals across our communities are experiencing the stress, highly-charged emotions, and sense of loss associated with many of these changes. Meanwhile, we are continuing to see an increase in suicide deaths, overdose deaths, and deaths due to COVID-19 and other illnesses. This has created an environment where grief is at an all-time high across our communities. Now, more than ever, it is important to understand grief, how it impacts our lives, and how we can help ourselves and others.

In these interactive seminars for Lake County community members, we will provide a context for understanding how grief manifests in people’s lives and strategies for coping with grief during these difficult times.

Recordings and slides for these seminars are being uploaded. Thank you for your patience.

This FREE series is made possible through Lake County CARES Act funding.

Lake County Community Members

Held on Tuesday, November 10th | 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

This seminar is for all community members (i.e. restaurant workers, retail workers, grocery workers, parents, caregivers, employees, bosses). 

Mental Health

Mental Health Professionals

Held on Tuesday, November 17th | 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

This seminar/training is designed for mental health professionals.

For the live seminar 4.0 CEU Credits are being offered for FREE for this seminar.

Please be sure to include the requested information during registration. For questions concerning CEUs, please reach out to us via email at [email protected], or call us at 847-236-9300 ext. 200. 


School Personnel

Held on Tuesday, November 24th | 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

This seminar is designed for all school personnel.



Clergy and Funeral Home Professionals

Held on Friday, December 4th | 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

This seminar is designed for clergy and funeral home professionals.


Police and Fire Departments and First Responders

Held on Friday, December 11th | 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

This seminar is designed for first responders (i.e. police officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics)


Healthcare Professionals

Recorded on Thursday, December 17th | 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

This seminar is designed for healthcare professionals (i.e. nurses, doctors, hospital personnel).

For the live seminar 4.0 CE’s for mental health professionals are provided complimentary thanks to a generous grant from Lake County and the CARES Act. 

About The Presenters

This seminar series is presented by renowned grief experts, Pamela Gabbay, EdD, FT, and Andy McNiel, MA and local non-profit grief organization Willow House. Pamela and Andy are founders of The Satori Group and have co-authored the book, Understanding and Supporting Bereaved Children: A Practical Guide for Professionals.  Both have extensive experience presenting and working in the bereavement field. Willow House is a well-known 22-year-old grief organization within Lake County that provides peer support groups for grieving families as well as grief education for schools and communities.

Pamela Gabbay Consultant 1

Pamela Gabbay, EdD, FT

Co-Founder, The Satori Group
Willow House Senior Trainer

Pamela Gabbay, EdD, FT, has been a part of the field of thanatology for more than 20 years. She is the co-author, along with Andy McNiel, of Understanding and Supporting Bereaved Children: A Practical Guide for Professionals. She is also a co-founder of The Satori Group, a national organization providing education and consultation to the death, end-of-life, and bereavement fields. Dr. Gabbay is part of the training corps for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and is a Senior Trainer for Willow House grief center. Dr. Gabbay is currently an adjunct faculty member at ECPI University and recently served as the Interim Executive Director for The Compassionate Friends, a national non-profit serving bereaved families. Formerly, Dr. Gabbay was the Director of the Mourning Star Center for Grieving Children and the Camp Director for Camp Erin – Palm Springs. Additionally, she served on the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC) and currently serves on the Credentialing Council of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Dr. Gabbay holds a Fellow in Thanatology (FT) from ADEC and earned a Master of Arts degree in Cognitive Psychology from Claremont Graduate University. She earned a Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership from Brandman University.

Andy McNiel Consultant

Andy McNiel, MA

Co-Founder, The Satori Group
Willow House Senior Trainer

Andy McNiel, MA, has served in non-profit leadership in a variety of settings throughout his career. He is a co-founder and an executive partner with The Satori Group, LLC, a national education, management, and consulting company, providing education and consultation to non-profit organizations. He has served as the Chief Executive Officer for The National Alliance for Grieving Children, the Executive Director for The Amelia Center at Children’s of Alabama, and the Director of Grief Counseling Services and Director of Development for Hospice of Martin and St. Lucie (now Treasure Health) in South Florida. In his current work with The Satori Group, Andy currently provides management and consultation to The Compassionate Friends, Tragedy and Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), HealGrief and Actively Moving Forward, and Willow House. He is the co-author of Understanding and Supporting Bereaved Children: A Practical Guide for Professionals. He is a trainer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He is on the Board of Directors for the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) and is a member of the International Workgroup on Death, Dying, and Bereavement. Andy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Palm Beach Atlantic University and a Master of Arts in Counseling from The University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Lauren Wozniak, LCPC, ATR

Willow House Program Director

Lauren has her Masters Degree in Counseling and Art Therapy from Adler University and her Bachelors Degree in Studio Arts/Painting from Illinois State University. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Registered Art Therapist. Lauren has previous experience working as the Children’s Grief Coordinator and Bereavement Counselor at JourneyCare where she facilitated grief support groups and a bereavement camp for children and families. She has also spent time as an Art Therapist at Chicago Children’s Center for Behavioral Health working with children and teens who have experienced trauma, grief, and mental health issues. When words aren’t enough, Lauren enjoys using the creative process with families and children to help them honor and remember their loved ones while coping and processing their loss.

HoeperKelsey Headshot 1

Kelsey Hoeper, LPC, NCC, CT

Clinical School & Community Program Coordinator

Kelsey provides in-school grief support group facilitation, crisis intervention consultation, and educational presentations about grief in school and community settings for Willow House.

After earning her Bachelor’s Degree from Lake Forest College, Kelsey went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Roosevelt University. She is a certified thanatologist, grief support specialist, an EMDR-trained clinician and a certified trauma practitioner.

Upon earning her Master’s degree, Kelsey joined Elyssa’s Mission as a suicide prevention educator and focused on delivering evidence-based training and screening in both middle schools and high schools. Prior to her arrival at Willow House, Kelsey worked in the bereavement department at Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care where she provided individual and group counseling to hospice and community bereaved. Kelsey continues to provide counseling services to children, adolescents and adults through her involvement in private practice.