While dealing with their own personal tragedies, the co-founders of The W Connection experienced firsthand the difficulty widows face in locating appropriate support services and guidance to assist women going through one of the most traumatic episodes in their lives. This revelation provided the genesis for The W Connection. The organization was founded with the simple yet challenging goal of making life easier for women who have lost a spouse.

Since 2009, The W Connection has helped thousands of widows rebuild their lives by getting them Connected, Encouraged and giving them the Tools they need to become Empowered to live a full life again.

Dawn Nargi
Executive Director

Co-Founder Of The W Connection

In 2007, Dawn gave birth to her first child.  Dawn’s husband, Norman was diagnosed with cancer one month later and died when William was just 3 month’s old.  Understanding the needs of widows and the limited support services available, Dawn started work on creating The W Connection in 2009. 

In 2015, Dawn left an Executive Position in a financial firm to volunteer full time on building The W Connection.  Dawn’s strong visionary, execution and technical skills are crucial to creating key elements of The W Connection’s success and strategy, including the organization’s Programs, Services and W Connection Online Interactive Portal to Get Widows, Connected, Encouraged, Educated and Empowered.

Today, Dawn is the Executive Director of The W Connection, a Certified Professional Life Coach, Mindfulness Teacher and Public Speaker advocating for widows with other organizations and non-profits that support grief.  She knows that she can help change the way we deal with bereavement in this country.   In her new work, Dawn has helped thousands of people create their vision and transform their lives.  Dawn is also a Professor, teaching courses in Organizational Development and Technology,

On her free time, Dawn enjoys the beauty of nature. She is an avid hiker and skier. And, when not in the mountains, she enjoys running along the Central Park Reservoir and spending time with her 9 year old son and 2 rescue dogs.

Barbara Rosecan
Program Manager

Co-Leader UWS New York Chapter

In 2008, Barbara lost her husband and father of their two young boys, after a short battle with cancer.  Barbara found support after her loss in bereavement groups, but felt that they did not provide the ongoing peer support needed to rebuild one’s life after the death of a spouse.  After seeing an article in the New York Times, Barbara knew she wanted to become a part The W Connection.

In 2013, Barbara joined The W Connection as a volunteer to provide peer support to other widows and then moving on to co-lead the Upper West Side Chapter.  In 2015, Barbara left her career as a Counselor working with students at a small private college, to volunteer full time as the Program Development Manager. 

Barbara believes there is no time line for grief and that people do not “Get Over It”.  She often describes her journey as building a new mosaic; picking up the shattered pieces of her life to rebuild her life for her and her family.  Today, she is continuing to provide direction to The W Connection by using her background in psychology to help build programs and services and by providing guidance and training for our chapter leaders.

In her free time, Barbara is writing the story of her journey.

Sarie Horowitz
Part-Time Administrator

Sarie has worked in the field of documentary film for two decades. She began her career in film at the Independent Feature Project before working in production. She is the Director/Producer of the award-winning short The Special Music School of America and the Producer of the PBS short Orchestra 2001. She produced the feature-length documentary Three of Hearts: A Postmodern Family that had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and aired on Bravo and the Sundance Channel. Sarie is also the Producer of Fallout, Supply & Demand, Engine of Change and is a Co-Producer on the feature documentary Welcome to Shelbyville which had its festival premier in the fall of 2010 and screened on PBS’ Independent Lens in 2011.  Currently, Sarie’s full-time position is the program manager for The Flaherty, a New York based media arts non-profit organization that runs the annual Robert Flaherty Film Seminar held at Colgate University. She also oversees Flaherty NYC a seasonal screening series at Anthology Film Archives in New York City.

Sarie was suddenly widowed at the age of 42, she felt lost without the support of women who had been through such a loss. She feels so lucky to have found the W Connection. She said;

“The W Connection was a life saver in a time when there was only darkness. The love and continued support is like no other and I don’t know where I would be without the women to help with the process of rebuilding my life. When I feel down they are there to lift me up.”

Sarie, currently works as The W Connection’s part-time admin after her work at The Flaherty has completed for the day. Sarie is there to lift up our growing membership by providing much needed administrative support for our members and volunteer team.


The W Connection was created by widows to help other widows navigate the many challenges they face while dealing with their grief and recreating their lives. Our primary goal is to help women adapt to the new realities created by their loss and build healthy and productive lives. The W Connection’s programs and services help widows Get Connected, Get Encouraged, Get Educated and Get Empowered and are based in the fact that widows can best help other widows rebuild their lives.


The W Connection’s vision is to create a W Connection Chapter wherever there is a need.  The W Connection fulfills this vision by recruiting widows who are passionate about helping other widows to create local chapters in their communities.  Volunteers are provided with the training and tools they need to form local chapters and successfully run those chapters.  For those widows outside our local chapters, the W Connection provides widows with a member portal and a monthly newsletter to connect, encourage, educate and empower widows.

What Makes The W Connection Unique?

We’ve been there.

The W Connection provides peer-to-peer emotional support from women of all ages who understand what it means to lose a spouse. This network provides the personal experience, as well as access to proven outside resources that help navigate your loss.

We support women of all ages and at all stages of loss.

The loss of a spouse affects women at all stages of life. From young mothers to seniors, each of us has her own issues. The W Connection works because our members are widows of all ages, each bringing their own unique experience in support of widows. And, we are with you for as long and as often as you need us.

We offer support beyond bereavement.

The loss of a spouse affects you on many levels. You are dealing with the tremendous emotional pain of loss and at the same time having to rebuild your life. You may be raising children, managing finances and juggling tasks you may have not have handled or were once shared with your spouse. We believe knowledge is power, and with a network of emotional support, the W Connection offers information, training, and resources to help you get control of your life so you can rebuild and begin to live again.


Dawn Nargi, Executive Director, The W Connection
Isaac Druker, Esq., Anderson, Kill & Olick, P.C.
Kathy McHugh, President, East End Resources
Jeanne Jacobwitz, Women’s Health, MPH, MS, CNM, Adjunct Instructor, Georgetown University, NYU

Honorary Board of Directors

We are fortunate to have many accomplished professionals with experience in the matters that weigh heavily upon us when rebuilding our lives.

Ellen Kamp, Retired Co-Founder


Sallie Sanborn, M.S., holds an undergraduate degree in Child Development and a Master’s in Counseling and Human Development from Bank Street College of Education where she was an adjunct faculty member for 15 years teaching Child Life courses and helping to develop the Child Life degree program. Sallie was part of the Child Life program at Bellevue Hospital, coordinating the inpatient therapeutic program for medically hospitalized children, planning and implementing supportive treatment to assist children and families with issues ranging from surgical procedures, to major trauma and life-threatening illnesses and injuries. She trained medical students and other medical staff on the psychosocial needs of hospitalized children.

Ms. Sanborn has been in private practice for over 20 years specializing in issues of illness, injury, and loss. She consults with a wide array of schools and agencies on issues of trauma and loss. She is part of the On-Going Care Team of the Making Headway Foundation, which works with children and families affected by brain and spinal cord tumors as well as other serious neurological issues.


In Honor of Dr. Phyllis R Silverman Ph.D., (July 10th 1927 – June 10th 2016)  Ms. Silverman was a researcher, author, Scholar-in-Residence at Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center, Professor Emerita at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Institute of Health Professions, and Associate in Social Welfare at the Department of Psychiatry, MGH, Harvard Medical School. She held a doctorate from the Heller School at Brandeis University, and a master’s degrees from Harvard School of Public Health and from Smith College School for Social Work. She was concerned with the interface between research and clinical practice.

She developed the concept of the widow-to-widow and from 1964 through 1972 she directed the research project that demonstrated its effectiveness. This work has been a model for programs in the United States and abroad. Her most recent research focused on children and adolescents. She was been Co-Principal Investigator and Project Director of the Harvard/MGH Child Bereavement Study, and is still analyzing data from the study.

She published extensively. In addition to her academic publications she has written both trade and professional books on bereavement. Her most recent book, published this year, is titled A Parent’s Guide to Raising Grieving Children: Rebuilding Your Family After the Death of a Loved One, and was co-written with Madelyn Kelly. Her other books include Never Too Young to Know: Death in Children’s Lives and Widow to Widow: How the Bereaved Help Each Other (2nd edition). With Scott Campbell, she wrote Widower: When Men Are Left Alone. With Dennis Klass and Steven Nickman, she co-edited Continuing Bonds: New Understandings of Grief, and she co-edited Living with Dying: A Handbook for Health Care Practitioners in End of Life Care with Joan Berzoff.

We had no choice about becoming widows; but we do have a choice about how we live the rest of our lives”  

The W Connection