Executive Staff

Steve Sweatt, LPC-S/LMFT
Clinical Director

Steve Sweatt, Community Grief Support Clinical Director, works with support groups, individuals, couples, and families struggling with a wide variety of issues following the death of a loved one. Steve is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) with more than 41 years of experience. He directs CGS programs and services, counsels clients, and supervises contract counselors, interns, and volunteers.

Steve’s expertise encompasses grief counseling for individuals, couples, and families, as well as crisis intervention. He has a Masters of Education in Community and Agency Counseling from The University of Montevallo and trained in bereavement counseling with Dr. Alan Wolfelt at the Center for Loss and Life Transition. Steve serves on the Professional Advisory Committee for the Department of Counseling and Leadership, University of Montevallo. He was Founding Director and Clinical Staff Chaplain, Pastoral Services, at St. Vincent’s East (formerly Medical Center East), a post he held for 17 years. He is an ordained Baptist minister.

Catherine Pittman Smith
Administrative Director

Catherine Pittman Smith, Administrative Director, joined CGS in April 2022 after serving on the board of directors for two years. During her board tenure, she was a champion for increased marketing and PR initiatives and strategic planning. Laughingly, she strategically planned herself into the job two years later. She is dedicated to cultivating growth, sustainability and ensuring successful outcomes.

Through a broad background in nonprofit development and philanthropy, communications/PR, marketing, and advertising, Catherine brings 30+ years of experience. She manages all development, marketing/PR, special events, and daily operations. A confessed engineer of connectivity, Catherine loves her hometown of Birmingham and is passionate about Community Grief Support’s mission and playing an integral role in improving the overall mental health and wellness in our community. Addicted to puzzles, she loves a challenge and consequently problem solving.

Born and raised in Birmingham, Catherine earned her BA Degree in History and English from Converse College. She is also an accomplished photographer, author, and the proud mother of a teenaged daughter who is both a miracle and a joy (most of the time) and two very fat cats.

Amber Pope
Development and Communications Coordinator

Amber Pope has a Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Media and Film production from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Her non-profit development experience started in the AmeriCorps Vista program and has given her the opportunity and the passion to serve different communities in the greater Birmingham area and in Alabama’s black belt region. Amber‘s background in administration and event planning helps in supporting the CGS director and to manage the CGS Junior board, formed in the fall of 2014 . Her goal is to support Community Grief Support  in their mission to offer a safe space to those that are in mourning.

Amber likes spend time with her family, write scripts, and make films in her spare time.

Kerry Wingo
Intern

Kerry Wingo is an intern working toward her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Montevallo. Prior to making this career change, Kerry worked in holistic health specializing in meditation, mindfulness, yoga and leading women’s groups. She is excited to merge this knowledge in her clinical practice to help clients find emotional, mental and spiritual balance from a whole-body perspective. Kerry is a loss survivor and feels passionate about being a support for those moving through the grief process.  

Kerry lives in Homewood with her two teenaged sons and enjoys hiking, reading, and attending community events, festivals and shows around town. She attended Rhodes College for undergrad and played college basketball for the Lynxcats!

Support Group Facilitators

Jan Owen, ALC

Jan is a counselor who specializes in grief and bereavement care. She brings almost twenty years of experience in pastoral care, leadership development, team building, volunteer management, and teaching to her work as a counselor. She has recently opened Back Porch Counseling to help loss survivors in Huntsville and the North Alabama area.

Jan has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alabama, earning a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Leadership Studies. She received her Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Alabama as well. She has also received training in bereavement counseling with Dr. Alan Wolfelt at the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, CO. Jan is an ordained Baptist minister.

A loss survivor herself, Jan lost her first husband and her mother in recent years. She feels a calling to walk with and care for bereaved individuals and has worked with loss survivors both in the United States and abroad in several countries. She is now remarried and is the mother to three adult children. She also has her dog, Ruby, who helped her survive after her loss. Jan enjoys traveling, reading, stand-up paddle boarding, walking on the beach, and Alabama football.

Sarah Grace Stevenson

Having lost both of her parents by the age of 25, Sarah Grace is passionate about bringing healing to the grief community in Birmingham. She has personally experienced how Community Grief Support can truly breathe new life into a devastating situation, and she is thrilled to watch others find hope in their own grief journeys. Sarah Grace is a graduate of the counselor education program at University of Alabama at Birmingham, with a concentration in Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling. She is now pursuing licensure with the state of Alabama as a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern, under the clinical supervision of Rachel Sullivan, LMFT.

Sarah Grace Stevenson

Dr. Larry Michael, ALC

Dr. Larry Michael currently serves as the Pastor for Adult Ministries and Parish Associate at South Highland Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Prior to this, he served as Executive Director of Alabama Grief Support Services, Inc. Before that, Larry served over thirty years in pastoral ministry, leading congregations in five different states and in England.

He taught as an adjunct professor at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, has written educational curricula, sermonic series and articles for various periodicals, and authored a book on leadership (Spurgeon on Leadership, Kregel Publications, 2003, 2010). He has just completed a book titled A Necessary Grief: Essential Tools for Leaders in Bereavement Ministry, to be released by Kregel Publications in February, 2015. Dr. Michael is a leader with a wide berth of grief-related experience, having walked alongside many individuals and families who journeyed that path in his various ministries. He is a recognized public speaker and educator in many areas, and noted for his inspirational presentations.

He is an ordained minister, holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland (College Park, MD), Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, Kentucky).

Kristan L. Walker, LCSW

Kristan is a support group facilitator for the Loss of Parent, Grandparent and Sibling Group at CGS. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama and is a licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker.

Since 2015, Kristan has worked full-time as the director of Outreach and Social Worker at Trinity United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Prior to working at Trinity, she practiced social work in both inpatient and outpatient medical settings. She has been a group facilitator for CGS since 2017.