Cruz Ballew, Office Dog
Marilyn Koenig, Co-Founder and Executive Director
Kristine Cozine, Finance Director
May Ballew, Administrative Assistant
Susan J. Reynolds, Project Manager
Kelly Holmstrom, President
Toni Groth, Vice-President
Chris Beeby, Secretary
Susan J. Reynolds, Treasurer
Ian Howard ACSW
Interested in becoming a Board Member? Our Board governs the overall execution of the organization’s mission. Principally, the Board manages organizational finances and sets long term priorities for programs. The Board also oversees the Executive Director, who is responsible for day-to-day management of the organization. Overall, the members of the Board contribute the educational, management, legal, and financial skills needed to ensure long term organizational stability and ensure year-to-year bereavement support activities to help family and friends after a suicide loss.
In the summer of 1982, two mothers, Chris Moon and Marilyn Koenig, who had each experienced the suicide death of a teenage son, met at a meeting in Sacramento, CA. Their connection was immediate and their feeling of compassion for each other spurred them on to consider helping others who were also grieving.
With $100 and eight people in a living room sharing their grief, Chris and Marilyn started a support program, eventually named Friends for Survival. Since 1983, many survivors, board members and other volunteers have developed principles, programs and services which have created a strong, vibrant, sustainable organization.
Friends for Survival is not just a support group, but a “suicide bereavement support program.” A program that offers a variety of services on a long-term basis to meet the complicated needs of families. Many families will receive a newsletter for years, not because they are stuck in their grief, but because the newsletter continues to give them help and support.
This program is funded in part by the Division of Behavioral Health Services through the voter approved Proposition 63, Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).