Dear Friends of Todd—November 17 is right around our corner. This will be Todd’s 13th year away from us and from the community that loved him. Todd wasn’t at home in this world, even though he appeared larger than life wherever he went.


I usually post a Todd-photo and ask you to write a memory. Your remembrances have brightened our hearts for years now, and for these we are deeply grateful. This year is different. I’m going to ask you to DONATE to one of the Kennemer family’s First Responders after Todd’s suicide. Bonnie, director of Survivors of Suicide Loss (SOSL), reached out to us within days following his death. She was “one of us”, having lost her husband to suicide just a few years prior. We were in deep shock but her friendship, compassion and resources helped us begin our healing journey. We quickly became involved in this organization that was determined to walk alongside us, and others like us, who are LEFT BEHIND.


We began attending monthly support groups and ultimately stepped up to lead a group ourselves. This became a life choice. To this day we meet the first Wednesday of every month. These survivors have become our friends, our confidantes, our family. SOSL has its annual walk, “Walk In Remembrance With Hope” on November 11. As friends who love the quirky son we got to raise, you have gifted us every year with memories that sustain us. Will you remember him this year by donating let’s say, the cost of a few lattes or bean‘n’cheese burritos. Please, give to SOSL, this organization that helped us KEEP BREATHING in those days, weeks and months that slowly trailed behind Todd’s departure.


For the difference you are making, our barista son thanks you, and so do we!


Connie & Rex

TO GIVE to CONNIE on behalf of SURVIVORS OF SUICIDE LOSS: www.walkinginhopesd.rallybound.org/connie


TO WALK with TEAM CAHM: www.walkinginhopesd.rallybound.org/TeamCAHM


JOIN us Sunday, Nov 11, to honor our U.S. veterans and walk in solidarity with those who have served and those who have paid the highest price.


MEET us in BALBOA PARK @ 6TH AVE & LAUREL, near the stage under our Team CAHM sign, and walking alongside our SOSL partners in prime, Team INVICTUS.


PARK in the neighborhood, SIGN IN with your donations, and find us for a TEAM PHOTO by 8:00 am.



We are almost speechless, but who can stay silent about the October 13 event? Not the Kennemer’s.


The collective vote is in: The 12th was the best yet! The day started seamlessly. The signage was accurate and every sign had a team of volunteers directing traffic and answering questions.


Dr. Nick Yphantides, Chief Medical Officer for the County, gave the opening address. Dr. Nick was one of our first responders following Todd’s death. He was a spiritual support from the start. The Yphantide’s and the Kennemer’s first connected through George, Nick’s father. George tuned our piano and sold used pianos to my students.


Joyce Bruggeman was the forum’s emcee for the 12th. Joyce is on CAHM’s board, the inspiration for the Legacy video we made, an author, the executive director for SOSL. She didn’t miss a beat all day!


Dr. Mark Komrad joined the cahmrades from Baltimore, MD. He was on the panel following the film screening and led “Ask The Doctor” breakout after lunch. He has been at 5 Forums, either keynoting or leading breakouts. And we get to host him at the Kennemer Ranch!

Susan Writer, affectionately known as “Dr. Sus”, was stunning on the panel and in her breakout. She speaks with so much expertise and compassion, a living example of a generous soul. Susan wrenched her knee and came to the stage supported by a crutch. Even with multiple health challenges, Susan is the picture of resilience.


There were 40 exhibitors in the room with resources overflowing. I (Con) was a little absent from the lunch table because I traveled around the room thanking the exhibitors for being so generous with their resources. I ate cookies; does that count?


Nadine was her usual charming and oh-so-hungry self. Several of her fan club were there. They took turns serving the Queen and giving Mom & Dad space. We should be so popular!

“Resilience: The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope” was extraordinary. The panel followed—Dr Komrad, Dr. Writer & Dr. Sharon Hamill. They were electric, sparking off of each other, brilliantly facilitated by Dr. Nick.


Rex and I spoke with a young woman attending CSUSM from a country in South America. Maria lost her brother to suicide the week before the forum. We gave her our contact info and I am waiting to hear from her. If you are a praying person, would you pray for Maria?

The Raffle, the gift from AM Strategies (Sandy & Peter Mossy’s marketing firm) was abundant. Matt & Anna were the Raffle King & Queen and they outdid themselves as Sonny & Cher. Record sales! Attendees only wanted to buy tickets from Sonny & Cher. Wait until you see them next year as Elvis Presley & Marilyn Monroe!


Andrew Norelli closed the day with the most amazing comedy routine about his own mental health challenges. The crowd loved him and gave him a standing ovation. Humor really is the best medicine.


A hallmark day. Thank you for your support. You made a difference; You showed up!


-Connie & Rex Kennemer




Updated: Jun 23, 2018

Sunday, June 24, to coincide with what would have been Anthony Bourdain’s 62nd birthday, the Cohn’s three local Bo-beau locations will donate 20 percent of all their food sales to the Community Alliance for Healthy Minds


“Navigating the complex system of mental health and substance abuse care can be confusing and overwhelming; it can feel like an indecipherable puzzle,” says Community Alliance For Healthy Minds co-founder Connie Kennemer.  “So whether you are an individual seeking resources for yourself, a family member, or someone that you know, our goal is to help reduce the stigma, eliminate the shame, point you in the right direction, connect you with actual service providers who can help, and give you some tools that you can use right now to better manage whatever comes your way.”




Read More:

http://sdcitybeat.com/upcoming-events/short-list-event-picks/community-alliance-for-healthy-minds-high-key-and-ocean-beac/