About Us

Lark d’Helen
Community Education Advisor

The Rev. Dr. Lark d’Helen advises the Community Connections program of Memorial Funeral Homes, which provides workshops, seminars, support groups and one-to-one counseling focused on addressing grief and end-of-life issues and conversations. Lark has over thirty years of experience as a minister including twelve years as a chaplain for the hospital and over ten years as adjunct faculty in the Thanatology Minor at University of Rhode Island. She is a Fellow in Thanatology, the most respected practice credential in the field of thanatology, the study of death, loss, and bereavement. Lark is also a certified Grief Recovery Method Specialist.

Melissa Mastrostefano, MSW, LICSW
Social Worker and Grief Counselor

Melissa has 33 years of clinical social work experience and can help you on your path to recovery. She has experience working with a variety of age groups: preteens, teens, adults, and seniors. Melissa received her MSW at Columbia University, as well as training at the Institute for Restorative Practices. Through those educational experiences she learned ways to help people process grief and address conflicts. She also has training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and experience with the Grief Recovery Method and Expressive Art Therapy. Community Counseling and Restorative Practices, LLC is her practice in Jamestown and Newport. Melissa offers individual counseling and facilitates groups though her private practice as well as workshops for Community Connections.

Kim Shute, MFA
Community Relations Manager, Memorial Funeral Homes

As the Community Relations Manager Kim supports both our Community Connections Program and the Funeral Homes. She has a B.A. in theatre/dance and a M.F.A. in Performance Arts. Kim has done course work in Individual and Group Crisis Intervention with first responders, clinician and clergy for Hurricane Sandy and 9/11. She has done bookkeeping for local contractors, taught ESL for a literacy program, run her own gardening business, taught speech communications and acting, and helped manage and promote a twenty million dollar housing project in Massachusetts. She has been involved for ten years at Channing Church where she researched, wrote and offered many services as well as helped with marketing and community outreach. Kim has experienced bereavement first hand after her husband of 19 years died suddenly of Leukemia at the age of 48. Since her husband’s death Kim has felt a calling to work with the public around issues related to loss and death from pre-planning to aftercare and everything in between.