Dedicated to

We have been at the forefront of building social-emotional resilience in communities around the world since 2004.

Currently, we offer four core programs based on our body-centered methodology that affords an entry point for many different sectors of the community. Our primary focus is to build capacity for effective response in schools, hospitals and social service agencies, and to train first responders and other caregivers.  

Beginning in early 2015, we refocused our educational efforts to serve local communities in Connecticut and other nearby states with strategic plans in place to expand across the region, nation and globe. Our commitment will be reinforced by expanding our faculty of trainers and by developing cutting edge digital training materials.

Our programs support those with whom we work directly while creating a ripple effect, ultimately forging broader communities built on resilience and compassionate care.


Our Programs



School Resiliency Program

The School Resiliency Program trains students and teachers in our unique body-centered, social-emotional development tools. In 2016, using the PLAYshop School Curriculum which aligns our methodology to the Common Core Standards in use across the country, we launched a pilot initiative in Connecticut schools.

In November, we completed the first training session with teachers and principals immediately impacting over a thousand students across nine schools. Supported by our PLAYshop Faculty, the group was introduced to our methodology and shown how it could benefit themselves, their staff and students. Since then, PLAYshop Mentors have conducted in-school PLAYshops with students to guide school leaders to successfully implement the methodology  on their own. 

To further assist this process and prepare for expansion, we also began to develop the Digital PLAYshop Resource Center.


“This program should be in every school. It helps teachers and their students connect in new and fun ways that help when stress or personal trauma enter the classroom.”
— Jaye Stuart, Health & Physical Education Staff at Shepaug Valley High School in Washington, CT
“To help children find their way physically, socially and spiritually in this world that we live in is vital to their growth and development. PLAYshops have specially designed physical exercises that are grounded in theater training, biopsychology and somatic research to help children do just feel safe and find JOY!”
— Helen Treacy, Principal at St. Matthew’s Elementary in Bristol, CT
“At first, my staff was skeptical of the program. The methodology Second Response teaches is nothing like they have ever encountered before. However, after the full day of PLAYshops with each class, everyone loved it and felt calm and relaxed afterward.”
— Eric Frenette, Principal at St. Joseph’s Elementary in Bristol, CT


Caring for the Caregivers

It is not uncommon for caregivers to think of their own well-being last, leaving them vulnerable, frequently overworked and less effective in their casework. As a result, many dedicated caregivers our communities employ experience burnout, leaving gaps in services while those in need are left with inconsistent, sporadic care.

Led by our Second Response Core Faculty, the Caring for the Caregivers program provides support and innovative training for caregivers exposed to recurring stress and trauma. Over the course of the 16-hour multi-session curriculum, participants gain new and effective ways to manage their own experiences resulting in better care for the thousands they serve.

In 2016, we launched the first Caring for the Caregivers with Charlotte Hungerford Hospital’s Center for Youth and Families in Torrington, Connecticut. With the strong support of the Clinical Manager, Joan Neveski, LCSW, twelve of the Center’s staff completed the training, positively impacting all of the participants, strengthening the workplace culture and ultimately benefiting the broader communities they serve.


“It was a healing experience for many of us; an opportunity to shed some of the heavy burden we carry, holding the traumatic experiences of others.”
— Clinician, Center for Youth and Families in Torrington, CT
“The basic program elements have universal application to all individuals. The exposure to a variety of practices and philosophies along with compelling presentations by different subject-matter experts has been an unforgettable experience. And the best part is, I can carry all that with me once the program has ended! It has definitely made me examine the critical role self-care plays in everyone’s professional
and personal lives, and has made a difference in how I approach my work.”
— Julie Scharnberg, Grants and Program Director at Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation in Torrington, CT


Gina de la Chesnaye joins our team as faculty for the Caring for the Caregivers program. She brings her experience as a teacher with The Lineage Project and as Yoga Director for The Three Jewels in NYC. Gina is also the Trauma Resource Director for the International Center for Mental Health and Human Rights. Dedicated to humanitarian relief, she has spent many years focusing on trauma and resiliency work with children in orphanages, schools and refugee camps using mindful movement, yoga and meditation techniques. Gina now brings her extraordinary expertise to support caregivers to mitigate the impact of secondary trauma on their professional and personal well-being.


Introductory Community PLAYshops

Introductory Community PLAYshops provide an ideal opportunity to experience our work and unique approach to managing stress and trauma. Many of these programs are open to the general public while some are scheduled by special request of a sponsoring organization. 

In 2016, we conducted the following Introductory Community PLAYshops:

Hosted events

• Grace Farms, CT

• Washington Montessori School, CT

Private trainings

• Shore Corps Youth Internship Program, NY

• Regional Crisis Team of Board of Cooperative Educational Services of Putnam/Northern                       Westchester, NY  

• HARC’s Stepping Stones Birth-to-Three staff retreat, CT

• Newtown Resiliency Center summer camps, CT




With the rapid growth and increasing demand for our programs, we responded in 2016 by building our capacity to reach as many people as possible through our work.

In November, we held the first PLAYshop Facilitator Training to prepare new facilitators to support the School Resiliency Program and Introductory Community PLAYshop events locally, and eventually, across the country.

During the four-day intensive program held in Bantam, Connecticut, we trained fifteen new facilitators, adding them to the Second Response Facilitator roster. Based in the Northeast, South and West Coast, these individuals can be activated at any time for regular events, or if ever needed, to respond to a disaster in their own communities.  

We plan to host additional PLAYshop Facilitator Trainings twice each year during this phase of rapid growth.



“After attending the Washington Community PLAYshop, I became trained as a facilitator at the first opportunity I had. I find these tools so valuable. Not only do I feel the benefits, I saw firsthand while facilitating at Shepaug Middle School how students could benefit from experieneing the PLAYshop methods.”
— Kane Clawson, PLAYshop Facilitator, Connecticut
“I loved learning about the PLAYshop methodology and the many benefits it can offer all of us, especially students and teachers. After facilitating a School Resiliency Program PLAYshop Day, I saw the incredible value it can serve schools. Through the laughter, movement and sound, I saw the tension dissolving in each group as the PLAYshop progressed.”
— Talia Cooper, PLAYshop Facilitator, California


Letter From OUR President

Dear Second Response Friends,





Peter Kelly joins the Board with a long and successful career in business and law. Peter has served as Treasurer and National Finance Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and was a member for sixteen years. He has served as a senior political advisor to Albert Gore, Jr. and Bill Clinton.  He is a senior principal of Updike, Kelly and Spellacy, P.C. 

What a groundbreaking year this has been! We must say at the outset that none of this work could have happened without your amazing support.

Jennifer Stevens joins the Board as an award-winning teacher and leader in her community. She has been teaching for twenty years at Warner Elementary School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Nominated by her colleagues, Jennifer won the prestigious Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Teaching. She also serves on various leadership teams within her school.

After thirteen years of sharing our unique resilience strategies with communities around the world impacted by disasters, we recognize the need to make these same skills available in our own country. In 2016, we designed four core programs to achieve this end. We have made tremendous progress with the development of new curricula, each aimed to impact different sectors of our communities. 

  1. The School Resiliency Program has been aligned to the Common Core Standards for effortless integration into the school day. The launch of this program was overwhelmingly well-received as teachers, principals and students all experienced the unique value of our methodology.
  2. The Caring for the Caregivers model has been successfully launched in a local hospital with incredible reviews that resulted in inspiring leaders in the community to invite us to conduct this program for the staff of the largest homeless shelter in Northwest Connecticut in 2017. 
  3. Our Introductory Community PLAYshops have been conducted for agencies and youth summer programs across the region.
  4. We trained and welcomed fifteen new facilitators from the first graduating class of the PLAYshop Facilitator Training program.

As we respond to the rapid growth and increasing demand for all of our programs, we express our heartfelt gratitude for the many donors and volunteers who have helped bring our mission to life. You truly are making a remarkable difference in the lives of children and caregivers at a time when increased distress and trauma are so evident in everyday life.

Thank you for all you have done to make a difference in our efforts, and we hope to see you soon in a PLAYshop!

In Health and Peace,

William Spear, President



In gratitude from second response

We recognize all of those who honored our organization with gifts in 2016 to help us accomplish our mission to support children and caregivers!


Riad Aamar

Aroon Ajmera

Amazon Smile Foundation

Kimberly Ambrose



Arbella Insurance Group

Lorelei Atwood

Loren Axberg

Jennifer and John Bauman

Caren Bayer


Sally Bentley

Elaine Bentley Baughn

Louise Berliner

Elena Bielawski

Jennifer Botwick


Bragg Health Institute

Schuyler Brown

Katie Coleman

The Community Foundation

    of Northwest Connecticut


Clifford Cooper

Cornerstone Agency

David Dillon

Gail DiMaggio

Lauren Ernberg


Toni Farkas

Tracy Fincher

Dorothy Fincher

Nian Fish

Megan and Lawrence Foley


Foundation for Life

Annette French

Stuart Fried

Joel Friedman

Anna and Ardian Gill


Ellen Goldsmith

Roger Green

Marc Guenette

Gabriel de Haan

Martha Hackett


Teresa Hargrave

Virginia Harper

Jean Hernandez

Holistic Health and Healing

Anthony Holland


Irene Imfeld

Karen Frey Jacobs

Maurice Jennings

Edward and Lucille Kimmel


Claudia Kirchmayr

Michael Klapper

Rosamond Koether

Pamela Kohlberg

    and Curt Greer


Robert Labonne III

Stephen Lapenta

Thomasina Levy

Palmer Marrin

Deborah McKinnon


James McWilliams

Northwest Connecticut

    Community Foundation

Holly Pedrini

Michael Pendley


Tania Philipp

Sandy Pukel

Cynthia Rabinowitz

Elaine and Christopher Robedee

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Dottie Roseboom

Nina Sankovitch

Elizabeth Schwinn

Lisa Silverman

Joan Spear


Josh Spear

Rosemary Stark

Gisela Stehr

Wendy Steinbaum

Shepard Stevens


Elise Stone

Tracy and Timothy Stuart

Deborah Szekely

Szekely Family Foundation

Marlene and William Tara


Peter Termars

James Tyler

Karen Urban

Vivian Van Bladel

Thomas Vannini


Elizabeth Vega

Karla Walter

Leigh Warre

Denny Waxman

Weeden Foundation


Victoria Weisfeld

Katherine Welch

Margaret Wolff

Lorraine Wulfe

Chad Yonker

Doris Zollinger