Let's Talk About Death, Baby: A Panel Discussion About All the Good Things AND the Bad Things

By State of Young Philly (other events)

Wednesday, October 17 2018 6:00 PM 8:00 PM

Each fall, Young Involved Philadelphia (YIP) hosts State of Young Philly (SOYP), a dynamic 10-day event series filled with programming designed to connect young Philadelphians of every background, showcase their positive impact, and amplify their voices. SOYP 2018 brings together nonprofits, government entities, civic leaders, and local businesses to help young Philadelphians identify what civic engagement means to them and the role each individual can play in driving change in their communities.

Join The Dinner Party for drinks and a panel discussion! 

The Dinner Party’s mission is to transform life after loss from an isolating experience into one marked by community support, candid conversation, and forward movement.  Our hope is to build a community where one doesn't already exist by connecting young Philadelphians who share the common experience of losing someone significant in their lives. With this chief goal in mind, this event strives to bridge the gap between a community of grieving young adults, and the broader group of young people in Philadelphia who may not have experience with nor know how to have honest discussions about life after loss. 

We are here to discuss the topics no one talks about, and ask the questions no one is asking when your life is turned upside down from the loss of a loved one. Nothing is off limits.  We’re ready to be candid, and provide an honest, productive path forward in an otherwise dark and difficult journey. There is a fairly pervasive stigma surrounding mental health, death and grief in our culture – a reality that lends itself to further isolation and detachment from society.  Our goal is to strengthen channels of communication that promote open conversations to "normalize" grief and mental illness, offer resources, and ultimately cultivate an inclusive community of people who feel connected, nurtured, and accepted. 


Tess Liebersohn was born and raised in Philadelphia. Since graduating from college, she has lived in three states, two countries, and many states of mind, from grief (losing her father, Arthur, in 2012) to joy (hiking 1000 miles solo on the Appalachian Trail). She has channeled her interest in grief expression and metaphor into writing projects, deep conversations, and a master's in counseling from UPenn, with the goal of one day being a grief therapist. She works with homeschool families in Germantown by day and does improv comedy at night. She is down to talk about grief at any hour.

Samantha Charleston lost her father, Robert, just six days before her 26th birthday in October 2014. After several months of swing-and-miss efforts to find a fulfilling, comfortable outlet for her grief, she discovered The Dinner Party. Samantha has now hosted monthly potluck dinners in her Fitler Square apartment for over three years, joined by the most thoughtful, insightful, engaging, wise and wonderful grieving young adults she has ever had the pleasure of knowing. A Philadelphia native, she works for the University of Pennsylvania and loves her city with all its grit and glory.

Greg Thomson’s dad died in a car accident about four years ago. This experience has led him to get involved with four amazing organizations called Family Lives On, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Peter’s Place, and The Dinner Party. Greg has been a host with the Dinner Party in Philly for eight months and loves the inclusivity of the community. On summer weekends, he loves to be at the beach and on fall weekends he enjoys watching football.

Madeline Gray is a Philadelphia based social worker, psychotherapist, and yoga teacher. Madeline's fiance, Sam, died in December 2016 from an accidental drug overdose. Sam's inspiring life and tragic death have made Madeline even more passionate about self-care, relationships, and destigmatizing mental health and addiction. She found the Dinner Party through Instagram last summer and is grateful that such a community exists for young people grieving.

Mark Angelow grew up as one of four sons in South Jersey. In June of 2017, his mother Irene passed away after an extended battle with breast cancer. Shortly after, he became involved with the Dinner Party when a friend extended an invitation to her table. Through the group, he’s found advice, support, and a helpful outlet in working through the early stages of grief. Mark currently works as a user experience designer and is an active member of the ultimate frisbee community in Philadelphia.

Naima Murphy is a non-profit professional who has lived in Philadelphia for the last five years after attending Drexel University's Master's program in Arts Administration. She was introduced to The Dinner Party in 2015 after a friend who had also experienced the loss of a parent wrote an article for O Magazine about the organization. She has since attended dinner potlucks to connect with others, share and listen to experiences with grief, and deepen friendships over good food and cherished memories.

**Please note, panelists are subject to change and other panelists may be added closer to the event.**


Mark Manning moved to Philadelphia in 2016 and hosted his first potluck for The Dinner Party in May 2016. His dad died from a heart attack in 2015 and he spent a year isolating himself and not seeking support. The Dinner Party was a breath of fresh air and has become a community he adores. His Dinner Party group helped him get the strength to go to therapy regularly. Along with Samantha, he helps organize The Dinner Party locally and outside of talking about grief and post-traumatic growth, he throws axes and tells stories at The Moth. This is his first time hosting a panel but not his first time hosting a live event or a conversation about grief & loss.


Mailing Address

Young Involved Philadelphia PO Box 40699 Philadelphia, PA 19107