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Conference Information, Registration, and Schedule

2012 International MISS Foundation Conference
Presented by our sponsor The KONG Company:

“The Transformative Nature of Grief”

October 4, 5, & 6, 2012

Registrations are quickly filling up!
Click here now to reserve your spot!


Click here to print out the full conference schedule,
keynotes & breakouts in PDF format


Heroic Empathy: Acts of Kindness & Love in the Face of Suffering

Peter Breggin, MD
Psychiatrist, Author of Medication Madness and Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

From Grief to Growth: Loss and the Quest for Meaning

Robert Neimeyer, PhD University of Memphis

Pathologizing Grief: Why It's Wrong--and Harmful-- to Treat Bereavement as an Illness

Robert Whitaker, Author, Anatomy of an Epidemic & Mad in America Pulitzer Prize winning journalist

A Parent's TEARS:
Economic, Familial, and Pharmacologic Outcomes from the Traumatic Experiences and Resiliency Study

Joanne Cacciatore, PhD, LMSW, FT, Arizona State University

Melanie Fox, PhD, Austin College

Dr. Larry Bergstrom, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale

Don't-MISS Events!

Here are a few highlights of conference events you won't want to MISS!

  • Ofrenda
    On-going throughout Conference

October is the month leading up to Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, a traditional Mexican celebration honoring those we love who have died. Part of the celebration includes the creation of ofrenda, or offerings, on an altar or table top that include memorial items, photos, flowers, food items or toy that were loved by the person who died. Please feel free to participate in personalizing the ofrenda with items of your own, or you will have the opportunity to make some as well, to honor your child(ren).

  • Grief Relief Reception
    Thursday, October 4
    8:00 – 10:30 p.m.

Take a break from the tears, and join us for a fun and relaxing start to your conference with a party! Complimentary refreshments, cash bar, and lots of live entertainment will help you let loose and give you the opportunity to meet other families and presenters.

We're proud to feature several young entertainers, including Run 2 Cover!

  • Grandparents Gathering
    Friday, October 5
    5:00 – 6:45 p.m.
    Raintree Room in Milagro's Restaurant

Bereaved Grandparents gather for dinner and socializing in the Raintree Room Restaurant, located here on property. See Robin Kennedy or the MISS table for details.

  • Memorial Service – Celebration of Love
    Saturday, October 6
    8:00 – 9:30 p.m.

Grief takes form because of love. Like a painter needs to paint, parents need to parent - to love. Join us for a Celebration of Love in the Ballroom where we will take the time to express and share the unconditional love for our children gone too soon.

Please bring a few small photos or mementos of your child/children to share.

  • Festival of Desserts and Photos with the Ofrenda
    Brought to you by the generous people at Maddock Douglas
    Saturday, October 6
    9:30 – 10:30 p.m.

Cap off an incredible conference by joining us for a delicious treat (or three) at the Festival of Desserts, immediately following the Celebration of Love service, and have the opportunity to take a photo in front of the Ofrenda.

  • Gratitude Luncheon

Conference Registration

Registrations are quickly filling up!
Click here now to reserve your spot!

Continental Breakfast, lunch, & snacks

MISS Foundation Conference Pricing:

  • Bereaved Family Member - $75 per day
  • Kids Kamp - $35 per day
  • MISS Foundation Volunteer (HOPE Mentor, Facilitator, Forum Moderator and/or other MISS Volunteer) - $55 per day
  • Professional - $150 per day
  • Student - $55 per day (Must be registered in undergraduate or Graduate School)

After you've registered for conference, then come on over to Facebook and RSVP there to share with your friends and family!


  • Bereaved Family Member - $90 per day
  • Kids Kamp - $40 per day
  • MISS Foundation Volunteer (HOPE Mentor, Facilitator, Forum Moderator and/or other MISS Volunteer) - $60 per day
  • Professionals - $165 per day
  • Students - $60 per day

HOTEL RESERVATIONS: Conference Location

Conference is being held at:

Fiesta Resort

2100 S. Priest Drive (MAP)
Tempe, Arizona 85282

Click here to make online HOTEL RESERVATIONS for the MISS Conference*

$99/night room rate for single and double occupancy, includes complimentary shuttle within a 5 mile radius which includes Sky Harbor Airport.

CLICK HERE FOR HOTEL SHUTTLE and amenities details! (opens PDF file)

*Want to share a room? Check "YES" when you register for conference and we will let you know who else wishes to share a room!

MISS Chapters, Facilitators, Mentors:

If you are long-time MISS Foundation HOPE Mentor, Facilitator, Forum Moderator and/or another MISS Foundation volunteer, you will notice some changes in the format of this year's conference. In year's past we have attempted to conduct the volunteer training on Sunday. Given the amazing growth in technology, policy and procedure that MISS has experienced, we are now providing MISS specific and required trainings every day of conference.

The first required training will cover technology including Google Apps as well new policies and procedures. This training will be offered at different times over the 3 days. The second required training will take place during lunch on Friday, October 5 and will be specific to your role. HOPE Mentors will have their specific training, Forum Moderators will have their specific training and Support Group Facilitators will have their training. We will be videotaping these training sessions for those of you who have more than one volunteer role. The last required training is the suicide training given by Dr. Cacciatore and Carla Hoffman.

On Sunday, we will host an "optional" Conference Debrief for MISS Foundation Volunteers from 10:30 am – Noon. Continental breakfast/brunch will be served.

We are also inviting each chapter to host their own table in the exhibit area to display the activities and outreach of your chapter. A prize will be given to the chapter will the most impressive and unique display. Please contact with your ideas and for more information!

Kids in Sympathy and Support - Kid's Camp

2012 Kids Camp: Once again the MISS Foundation will host a concurrent children's event during the Parental Bereavement Conference. Ages 5 - 17.

Not appropriate for children under age 5. Due to the sensitive nature of the 2012 MISS Foundation Conference topic and attendees, we request that you kindly make alternative arrangements for all children who are not registered for Kids Kamp, and who are under the age of 5. This list is comprised of options for babysitters, however, in no way does the MISS Foundation formally endorse them, or assume any liability whatsoever. All sitters must be arranged and paid for directly by conference attendee. Availability is firstcome, first-served.

How to support the 2012 Conference + Overview and FAQs


Of course the best way is to register today and attend the conference. And there are a myriad of ways to financially support the conference at any budget level, so that you, too, can reach out to the bereaved families and care-providers attending the conference:

We are so excited to announce that Michele Newton arranged for two local dining establishments to offer MISS fundraising during the conference. All you do is print out the flyers (click the images below to get print size), take them with you to Chili's or Applebee's (address on flyer), and they will give 10% back to MISS.

Click here to download our sponsorship packet that shares all the levels available including sponsorships, exhibit tables, bag stuffers, and program advertisements.

Click here to download our ad spec sheet to see how sizing works, to find out what formats are acceptable for delivery of ads, and to get details on design services available.

If you want to add commercial item to the bag promoting your business, see our sponsorship packet for placement rates. In addition to those kinds of itemes, we are also looking to provide hospitality items (e.g. notepads, mints, gum, tissues, sunscreen, etc.) that can also be optionally customized with your personal message (i.e. In loving memory of ...) (subject to MISS approval). We can assist with the design, or you can order yourself. For instance, about $130 would put a customized notepad in all the conference bags printed with your personal message or child's name. Please email Leo's mom, Jennifer Blain Christen, if you are interested, at:


This unique conference is an education of both the mind and the heart. It is a rare opportunity for bereaved children, teens and adults to come together with compassionate professionals in a rare learning experience.

What is the MISSion of your conference?
To provide education, tools, and resources to help professionals, bereaved parents, bereaved family members, friends and volunteers better understand and respond to grief, loss, separation and bereavement related to the death of a child, regardless of the age or cause of death. Issues related the challenges, personal stress, and interpersonal growth by those responding to child death will also be addressed.

Click here to read the Objectives for many of our 2012 sessions at Conference.

Who Should Attend?
Anyone bereaved as a result of a child's death should attend this conference. Additionally, social workers, psychologists, nurses, physicians, first responders, funeral directors, professors, school counselors, clergy and spiritual leaders, and anyone else who may encounter families experiencing a child's death should attend.

What can I expect to learn?
This conference is devoted to helping bereaved parents connect with one another. At the same time, we provide knowledge and support to health care professionals through creative workshops and lectures in the field of death and dying. Our objective is to inform on issues related to compassionate psychosocial care and evidence based practice, explore personal death experiences and provide an opportunity to collaborate and network with others in the field.

Please note: This program is currently under review for 21.8 CE credits for Psychologists under a co-sponsorship through the Arizona Psychological Association and 21.8 CE credits through the Arizona National Association of Social Workers for Social Workers, and other like licencees. Decisions Pending.

What about bereaved children?
This conference will feature a concurrent grieving children's experience "Kids in Sympathy and Support" camp and teen program for children ages 5 - 17. This conference is not appropriate for children under age 5.

Want to be on a Conference Committee?
Our Conference committee is meeting regularly now. We are still looking for conference committee volunteers….what would you like to help with? Design, Fundraising, Hospitality, Volunteer Coordinator, Conference Concierge, Touchstone Volunteers, Marketing, MISS Store, Kids Kamp, Memorial Service, Photography & Videography, Audio/Visual, Slide show presentation, Scholarships, Registration, Print/Graphic Design, Vendors/Exhibitors, Grandparent Committee….let us know…..

If you have questions or would like to volunteer, please email Monica.

Need a scholarship?
Simply register for the "Scholarship Application - Bereaved Parents Only" option, and in doing so, you'll be prompted to fill out a questionnaire. We will then respond to you with a scholarship offer of a certain amount per day to fit your budget.

What about Cancellation, Substitution and Special Accommodations for Conference?
See our policies PDF by clicking here.

How do I find other MISS Resources?
Click here for PDF listing all MISS support groups and mentors.
Click here for full information about MISS online support group forums.


Click here to get your own colorful, printable, PDF format Conference flyer!

SPECIAL APPEARANCE at 2012 Conference by Run 2 Cover!

BIG Thank You To Our Sponsors!

KONG Company has generously given the MISS Foundation a $10,000.00 sponsorship for the 2012 Conference! We send the biggest thanks possible to all of you at Kong and to KD Frueh for her dedication to the MISS Foundation.



Gallagher & Kennedy P.A. Law Offices has generously given $2,500.00 to become our Gratitude Luncheon sponsor! Thank you so much!


And a big thank you to Archibeque Law Firm for their $1,500 sponsorship.



O'Neil Printing
Dean's Mailing
Charlene Costanzo


Phoenix Childrens Hospital Foundation

The Grief Recovery Method
Alternative to Meds Center
ASU School of Social Work

Conference Mailing List

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Photo Gallery and Blog Entries from Conference 2010

Take a look at our photo galleries from the 2010 MISS Conference:

Photo Gallery 1
Photo Gallery 2
Photo Gallery 3

Read blog entries from 2010 Conference participants:

MISS Conference 2010 Day 1
MISS Conference 2010 Days 2 - 5
MISS Conference 2010: Hero's Journey Review

© 2012, The MISS Foundation