"Daybreak"by Maxfield Parrish
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   Welcome to Sena Foundation's History and frequently asked questions.


 History and FAQ

About our Name
Sena's Roots
Bill Schaefer, Founder
What is Sena?
Why is Sena Foundation Unique? Sena Staff and 


Sena Community Online

Help Sena

Whats New


a cropped picture from Daybreak by Maxfield Parrish of a youth standing over another youth, apparently to wake her.
Sena Foundation is an autonomous and unaffiliated 501(c)3 non profit organization providing free services to the world community. 

All views are welcome.

Sena continues to thrive and increase its services through the personal  involvement of our volunteers, community and all whose lives are touched by our work. Your time and your financial contributions are always graciously accepted and appreciated and produce much greater benefit than any "bottom  line" could indicate.

In short, the efforts of individuals, sharing and helping each other is what makes Sena Foundation run. 

About Our Name - Sena Foundation is dedicated to the memory of Sena Hanson Bennett ( 1875 - 1954), who was a practical nurse whose committment to love without fear touched all who knew her. Sena was the maternal grandmother of Sena's founder, William Bennett Schaefer.( Note: Pronounced See'-na )

Sena's roots lie in the hospice movement, where those who worked in hospice discovered that the concepts and programs that worked so well with hospice patients and their families were also applicable to those who did not meet hospice criteria. 

Unlike the hospice programs, Sena's programs are directed to people in all stages of life. Sena Foundation offers two main areas of education and training: programs aimed toward allowing individuals to experience death/dying, grief and loss issues in their own lives, and programs devoted to preparing individuals to become involved in the care of those experiencing grief and loss. The implementation of all programs involving care for those experiencing grief and loss focuses on the development of community volunteer and peer support, allowing care to be given without cost.

Sena Foundation is supported by tax-deductible donations, memorials, and grants.

Sena Foundation is guided by a board of directors and staffed by the founder, Bill Schaefer, and other volunteers. 

Sena Bennett

 Sena Hanson Bennett ( 1875 - 1954

Bill Schaefer,Founder and Executive Director of Sena Foundation has worked in the death/dying and grief/loss movement for over fifteen years. Before starting Sena Foundation he was director of a home care hospice in Fredericksburg, VA. In addition he worked with the St. Francis Center, a death education group in Washington D.C., where he produced and directed a series of video training programs entitled "Conversations with Families Facing Death". 
He began working towards the formation of Sena in 1984; the organization began its community work in 1986. Mr. Schaefer has worked with over 400 dying persons and their families. He has trained over 300 volunteers and has conducted workshops and group training on the grief and loss aspects of terminal illnesses, divorce, domestic violence, substance abuse, homelessness, ecological concerns, and a variety of other social issues. He has conducted programs for General Motors, the Beverly Corporation, the Bay Consortium, and the National Social Workers Convention. His work, both workshops and one-on-one sharing, has been gratefully received throughout the East Coast and Mid-west. Sena Foundation programs are offered free or at minimal cost. Care for those experiencing grief and loss focuses on the development of community volunteer support, allowing the care to be given without cost.

"I had the good fortune to participate in a workshop weekend led by Bill Schaefer . . . . As I am a teacher and a group leader myself, I delighted in working and learning under a master teacher at both the intellectual and affective levels. That workshop ranks among the two or three educational experiences which have truly touched and changed my life."

Ann Archer, Director of Continuing Education, Westminster Canterbury, Richmond, Virginia.

What is Sena Foundation?

Sena Foundation is an educational organization focusing on a full range of grief/loss issues. Death, dying, and bereavement; the loss suffered as a result of such issues as divorce, abortion, chronic disease, and aging; cultural death denial, culteral "joy" denial; the impact of personal denial on our life-long attempt to "stay well" - all are examples of issues Sena Foundation addresses through existing programs.

Why is Sena Foundation unique?

All Sena education and training programs help individuals and families understand that neither government nor the health-care industry can provide the kind of assistance needed to adequately deal with all the grief and loss experiences. We must remember how to take care and support each other.

To understand the needs of those experiencing loss today and to prepare for the needs of those in the future, we must look at the way the family has changed in the past 70 - 100 years. In the past, families had four or five children who lived geographically close; now the average is two and greater mobility causes isolation. Then, a catastrophic loss was shared by brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins; now, that kind of day-to-day care and support is impossible. The stress of providing for needs is to great for just a few family members to manage.

In the five to ten years the population of people over the age of 55 will greatly increase. Providing for the needs of these individuals is a problem for today's society, in ten years the problem will become a major cultural crisis.

The answer is to care for each other -- to become alternative extended-family members for our neighbors. Understanding and working through grief/loss issues and our own mortality does not mean that we will feel constantly overwhelmed and depressed; on the contrary, this sharing directly leads to living and being well.

"Sena Foundation has been successful because its mark is deeply rooted in the concept of people caring for one another."

Josefina B. Magno, M.D., President, International Hospice Institute

Founder/President - William B. Schaefer

Vice President - Lee Ana Schaefer

Secretary/Treasurer - Mischelle Messenger

Director - Bill Schaefer

Assistant Director - Mischelle Messenger

Midwest USA Coordinator - Delores Heinen

Northwest Coordinator - AnnMary Driscoll

Locations back to index

USA,Central Office, Sena Foundation, Bowling Green, VA, 108 South Main Street, 22427 USA, Voice 804.633.7575, A United Way Agency

A United Way Agency, (contact, Mischelle Messenger)

Sheboygan, WI, 1322 North 12th Street, 53081 USA, 920.452.2113
 delores@bytehead.com (contact, Delores Heinen)

Seattle.WA,  ajdriscoll@seanet.com (contact, AnnMary Driscoll)


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Sena Foundation
 "Sharing the Seasons"since 1985
This site is owned and maintained by volunteers of Sena Foundation © 1997,1998,1999,2000.